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|| News Item: Posted 2009-10-04

Intern Diaries: The Cedar Rapids Gazette
'As strange as it may sound coming from a still photographer, I kind of like shooting video.'

By Crystal LoGiudice, The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Photo by Crystal LoGiudice / The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Photo by Crystal LoGiudice / The Cedar Rapids Gazette

A Xavier player looks out as the team waits to take the field against the Linn-Mar Lions at Cedar Rapids Xavier high school on Friday, September 4, 2009.
In a little over a month and a half I have learned more about myself than I thought possible.

A few months ago I was still in Baton Rouge, Louisiana finishing classes at Louisiana State University. At the time I was unsure what I wanted to do after graduation, look for a staff job or go freelance. Since I was slated to take an internship in Baton Rouge, I thought I would have plenty enough time to figure things out. Well, as luck would have it, the internship I was going to accept in Baton Rouge ended up being cut from the paper. So, I found myself frantically sending out portfolios to as many openings as I could find. A few of the papers I sent work out to called for a phone interview but none had offered me any type of position yet. I was getting nervous.

Then, I finally got the call I had been waiting for. I had been driving for somewhere around 12 hours headed to Omaha, Nebraska to shoot the College World Series, and I got a call offering me the internship at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I was so excited I had to stop at a rest stop to calm myself down and to make phone calls to my parents.

I graduated from LSU at the beginning of August and just three days later arrived in Cedar Rapids to start my internship. I was nervous but confident that as long as I gave it my all I would do fine. I wanted to prove to the staff that they didn't make a mistake in hiring me as the intern.

The first week or two was a bit crazy with the mixture of assignments, learning to navigate the area, meeting and trying to remember everyone I was introduced to at the paper, getting used to the overall workflow and how things were done at The Gazette and all the other little things that come with working in a new newsroom. The paper itself was going through a transition when I arrived. Recently the TV station, KCRG, and the newspaper merged and things have been moved around a bit. While, it was confusing at first, I am getting the hang of things.

The biggest challenge at first was shooting video on deadline. I have shot video before but only in a class setting. Now, I was expected to shoot the video and have it edited and online in the same day. Though, thanks to help from Cliff Jette, who is the intern mentor, I had no problems with my first video. As strange as it may sound coming from a still photographer, I kind of like shooting video.

It is now fall, my favorite time of the year. There is the changing of the leaves, Halloween coming up, marching bands and of course lots of football! The one thing I look forward to every week is Friday night football.

At The Gazette we cover a lot of high school football. The high school stadiums here area great and since after every game each photographer produces a slideshow, I am able to look for those feature type photos along with game action.

I get to high school games an hour early (when I can) to scout out features and shoot pictures of the team warming up. Some of my favorite shots have come from the pre-game stuff.

I was at Xavier high schools homecoming game the other day and saw something I have not noticed before. I had been looking for features and saw the visiting varsity team gathered outside the locker room watching the 4th quarter of the junior varsity game. I made my way over there and started taking a few photos. Then I noticed the home team also was gathering outside their locker room and proceeded to take a few photos of them as well. And that is when I noticed one of their players had painted a good portion of his face. With the look in his eyes mixed with the paint on his face, I wouldn't want to face him on the field.

I have had the opportunity to shoot a variety of interesting and fun assignments here and while most of them have been great I have learned some things to never forget as well.

Photo by Crystal LoGiudice / The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Photo by Crystal LoGiudice / The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Lexie Rael, right, and Shea Smalley, left, both from Marion High School, stretch before the varsity girls race at the Prairie Invitational cross country meet at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, September 1, 2009.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I absolutely love shooting sports and one of the first sports assignments I shot at The Gazette was the Pigman Triathlon. I have shot several triathlons in the past so I was excited to head out and try to get the images I imagined in my head. Well, the day didn't turn out quite how I had envisioned it.

I got up around 5 am. Somehow, it had slipped my mind to check the weather the day before and as I awoke I knew by what I heard outside I would have to change my plan of attack on shooting the assignment. Judging from the sound of the rain on the roof, the beautiful just after sunrise shots were not going to happen. So I grabbed the 400, my two other camera bodies and lenses, rain gear, extra plastic bags, think tank belt, laptop, and proceeded out the door (forgetting that there was a step down from the porch to the sidewalk). Before I knew it my foot twisted over and all of my weight fell on a not so good part of my foot. Thankfully, none of the gear I was carrying crashed to the ground with me. So, now it was raining and I had a badly sprained foot.

I got to the park where the triathlon was being held and while my foot was not feeling better in the slightest and hardly fitting in my shoe, I tried to put it at the back of my mind. It was raining but I was there, my cameras were covered, and now I could concentrate on making great images. Right before the start of the swim portion the rain came down harder than it had all morning and with gusts of wind as well. Trying to keep the lenses on my cameras dry became more difficult than I thought. I positioned myself about waist deep in the lake and got ready for the swim start. Sure, I was wet from head to toe but hey rain makes for good images too (I really do love shooting in the rain as long as I can keep the camera dry).

It was not until after about half of the group had finished the swim portion that I reached in my pocket and realized, with horror, I had left my work cell phone in my pocket the entire time. I opened up the phone and it was so wet you could see water in the screen. So now not only could no one call me but also I had no clue what time it was. I had to budget my time wisely that morning. I needed enough photos for a slideshow but I still needed to get back to my apartment, change, and then head to my next assignment, which was at a church.

Thankfully, everything ended up working out in the end. I had good photos and I managed to make it to the next assignment a few minutes early (and not sopping wet). But I am now very careful about my cell phone and where I walk.

There is one thing I have learned and that is don't let the little things get to you but don't forget about them either. Things like securing my cell phone in my bag or remembering to pack a dry towel in a watertight bag would have really helped me out a lot on that assignment.

Another little thing to NEVER forget is to turn your cell phone back on after putting it on silent. Normally, I have my work phone on and on me at all times even on my days off. Though there are those assignments when you need to turn you cell phone on silent or vibrate. One of those assignments came about two weeks ago. I was assigned to shoot the opening of youth football that morning and then a minor league baseball playoff game that afternoon.

Before the start of the games at youth football the league held a memorial service. Out of respect I turned my cell phone to silent. I didn't want to be the jerk whose cell phone went off in the middle of a prayer.

After the ceremony was over I proceeded to shoot a few of the youth games and then headed back to the paper to grab the 400 and the media pass for baseball. I got to baseball early to set up my laptop and then went down to find a spot to shoot from a few minutes before the first pitch. So far, it had been a fantastic and gorgeous day, a great day to shoot any kind of sports outside. It was about the second inning when I realized I forgot to take my phone off silent from earlier.

Photo by Crystal LoGiudice / The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Photo by Crystal LoGiudice / The Cedar Rapids Gazette

Michael Blair, 7, of Cedar Rapids, jumps into the middle as kids play under a parachute at the HD Youth Center's annual "Back to School" event at Van Vechten Park in Cedar rapids on Saturday, August 22, 2009.
I reached in my pocket and when I looked at my phone I felt like I had just been dropped off a building. In the span of no more than two hours I had 7 missed calls and they were all from my editor. At that moment I didn't have to hear the voicemail to know the reason for so many calls. There had been a bad accident involving a police chase and I needed to be there... 45 minutes ago. I ran to the press box, called my editor, packed up my laptop and jetted out to the accident praying there would still be something there to take a picture of. I was so angry with myself. How could I have forgotten to take the phone off silent?

I now will never put my phone on silent again, only vibrate.

Overall thought, I have enjoyed my time working at the Gazette. It can be very busy at times especially with the addition of videos and slideshows but I think I prefer it that way. It keeps me on my toes. The variety of assignments has been great. The other day my assignments consisted of shooting a wedding that took place in the ICU of a hospital and then covering the annual "Zombie March" in Iowa City.

This isn't my first internship, but I think it has been the most important experience for me. It has made me work harder than I have before and has made me a much more confident shooter. Three weeks ago, if you would have asked me what I wanted to do when I leave this internship I wouldn't have had an answer. Now, even with a few months left here, I feel I know the answer to that question and I am excited about what the future holds both at The Gazette and elsewhere.

(Crystal LoGiudice will complete her internship at Cedar Rapids Gazette in January. Examples of her work can be viewed at her member page:

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