Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tutor Mentor Conference\May 18, 2007

After my second year of working in this capacity I have come to learn a great deal about my craft, it's purposes, limitations and costs. I felt energized when I saw that many of the images that I took last year are currently being used on the Tutor\Mentor Connections website. The one regret that I had from when I photographed this even back in 2006 was that I was only able to stay for about an hour. This year, I wanted to get more coverage, so I arrived before the opening speeches at around 9:30am and stayed until almost the very end. There were about 800 pictures total. Most of the mentoring sessions ran concurrent, so I was able to weave in and out between rooms to get the greatest possible variety.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I am very excited about the freedom of creativity and opportunities for learning presented by IYP. After I talked to Rebecca about participating in the group, the idea that immediately came to mind was to produce a War documentary: something that the students could use to exercise their learning and creativity within a structured environment. People definitely like war documentaries; it would also be a great challenge for the students to produce something mainstream.

Blog Exchange/May Conference

I think I'm getting the hang of this Blog Exchange idea. Dan spoke to me again about it last week as I nodded in curiosity. It's a program of organized and aggressive networking in which Non-Profit bloggers seek out associations with like-minded individuals. I also read an online article which outlined a few ways to use non-profits to support a specific cause. Networkers add their blogs to a list of blogs and then choose blogs from other blogs to comment on.

When Dan Bassil reminded me that this year's Non-Profit Networking conference would be held in May, I was more than prepared to take on my role from last year. It was fun to be working to help a cause such as this and I have a few new ideas 2007: mainly I want to supplement the pictures with a few audio recordings that can be posted on this blog along with the images that I take. I think I'm going to have to look into this idea a bit further. The speakers may not want their words widely distributed outside of the conference. I'll be sure to ask each speaker if it's ok before I record them.

A new camera may be in order as well. The comparatively old Digital camera that was used last year didn't do too well in low light. There were a few good Cameras on sale recently. One was around $199 and it came with optical image stabilization. Some of the images suffered from excessive blurriness and pixelation; maybe a 5 or 6 megapixel camera with up to 1600 ISO will do.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Holiday Party

Working with Cabrini Connections has been a great stress reliever for me. No matter how hectic my work week is, I am always relaxed when I'm there. That's why I want to make it a habit to be their more often this year. On December 21st of last year I was happy to attend the holiday party that was being held at Cabrini Connections. My job was to promote IYP-the Cabrini Connections video club-and maybe convince a few of the children attending the party to join the club.

Before the party got started, Dan Bassil thanked us all for being there. He delivered a message of urgency to the children. He said that if the students work hard, they can have a future of employment, college and fullfilment ahead of them. They will be able to escape from the trap that has claimed so many others; poverty, economic isolation, and failure.

Most of the young children weren't paying attention though. They just wanted to decorate Christmas cookies and have fun. I think it's better that they don't understand just yet how critical these resources are for them. Kids should have the time to be kids. They shouldn't have to start worrying about adult stuff so early. I wish I had known about Cabrini Connections when I was younger.

Monday, December 18, 2006

This is one of the better pictures that was taken by me at the conference on November 30th.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On November 30th I photographed the 2006 networking conference for Tutor-Mentor Connections. I arrived at the downown Chicago Depaul University campus at about 11am and marched right through the Borders book store on the first floor without hesitation, carrying my tripod in hand. The mentoring conference was to be held on the eighth floor. I had no idea what to expect and yet I was not very nervous at all. I knew I had a job to do, and I was prepared. Using a tripod for this event would ensure that I would not have to deal with the camea shaking in my hand. The shutter was at 1/10 at first. Gradually, I pulled it back to 1/15. That seemed to work best. I went to the front row of the conference room and set up to shoot.

The funny thing about it was that most of the people in the room had no idea what I was doing there. They probably tought I was some kind of nutjob at first. It had been months since I'd had enough extra money for a haircut, so my hair was all wild and messy while I was casually walking through the doors unannounced. For the first few shots, the main subjects were looking directly at the camera. I did not like the attention. My opinion was that this event was not about me or my pictures, it was about them. More specifically, it was about a very important cause that they were willing to meet so early in the morning for. Thankfully, the speakers got the message soon afterwards and began to act more natural. The big challenge with taking these pictures was getting the camera moved quickly enough to take the right shots. I made sure to take more than one for each position.

The campus facilities themselves were very large and expansive. The views from the eight floor windows were awesome.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My beginnings in Photography

I quit my job in November of 2005 and decided to continue school full time. I figured that I'd just dump my responsibilites and go back to being a pre-teen again, sit around and let my parents take care of everything. To be honest, I grew restless sitting at home. Having worked so hard as a cashier for the previous year, I felt extremely uncomfortable doing nothing.

Every second that I sat still, playing my Playstation, I could feel the world passing me by. It wasn't long before I started looking for something to do. In spite of my previous apprehensions I went searching for work once again.

I was nervous about working for a non-profit, but I got over it quickly. I wanted to work, even if it meant volunteering. My first big project involving the Tutor Mentor exchange was at a leadership conference for non-profit owners. I took my camera, along with my knowledge of digital photography, and got to work.