James Taylor Las Vegas Live Tweeting (Blog Post #7)

For this assignment, I thought it would be fun and interesting to Live Tweet a James Taylor concert I had the opportunity to see in Las Vegas with my family. The show featured legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor, supported by his All-Star band. It was held at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. I was very impressed with the grandiosity and style of the venue, and the performance was complimented by very entertaining visuals and theatrics.

However, I realized early on that I had made a few simple mistakes that would make the assignment difficult. For one, I had let my phone’s battery run dangerously low. Another problem was that there was no reception in the theater. As a consequence of this, my phone died towards the end of the show.

I used a promotional approach to cover this event, since I thought it might not make sense to cover a concert like this as a news event. I thought it would make sense to write as though my audience consisted of passionate James Taylor fans who wanted to know about this concert as it occurred. Because of this, I tweeted about certain especially famous songs that Taylor performed, and tried to share as many relevant and interesting anecdotes about the performance as possible. I also used Las Vegas and Caesars Palace hashtags to promote the city’s image as a fun place and a center for live entertainment experiences.

I enjoyed sharing my thoughts about an interesting experience as it happened. As a huge fan of James Taylor’s music, I was very excited to have the opportunity to broadcast parts of this experience to others who might be interested. Still, I felt somewhat frustrated by my failure to charge my phone beforehand, as the entire thing would have gone much better with a charged phone.

I learned a lot during this experience, especially about how to think creatively when framing events to make them as interesting as possible to others. If I could have done anything differently, I would have tweeted a few more times, and done an additional interview. I also could have done some more research to see if I could find any pertinent additional context or background information to share.

In a future career, Twitter could certainly play a large role. Obviously this applies to people working in social media communications for organizations, but it also applies to having successful social networks as an individual. As an aspiring musician, it could be very important for me to maintain activity on social media sites in order to establish and maintain a connection with potential listeners and supporters. Ultimately, social networking skills are increasingly important for all kinds of career paths now and in the near future, so I’m glad to have learned from this experience.

Advertisements

The 5 best Chicken Wing Spots in Laramie, Wyoming (Blog Post #6)

Like most towns in America, Laramie, Wyoming is full of people who love to eat chicken wings. For people who love chicken wings, it can often be difficult to know where the best wings are sold. Because of this problem, I thought I could help Laramie’s fine residents by running through my personal top 5 chicken wing spots in Laramie. I have included a link to a Google My Maps document with locations for these establishments, as well as brief descriptions of my thought process in ranking them as I chose to. Keep in mind, these are only my personal favorites, and they don’t reflect any journalistic objectivity, but are meant to serve as a loose guide for any chicken wing enthusiast in the Laramie area.

Laramie’s Wal-Mart has a deli section with many great options. (Photo from Laramie Live)

The fifth best place for chicken wings is, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, our local Wal-Mart. The Laramie Wal-Mart isn’t very distinct from the countless other locations across the world, but it nonetheless offers a great selection of affordable chicken, including some very tasty chicken wing options.

Laramie’s Applebee’s has good chicken wings for cheap prices. (Photo from visitlaramie.org)

The fourth best chicken wings in Laramie can be found at the local Applebee’s, another massive chain Like Wal-Mart. Even though there isn’t anything about Laramie’s Applebee’s that distinguishes it from other Applebee’s locations, it is a fantastic place for cheap and delicious chicken wings. For those who prefer restaurants to supermarkets, Applebee’s is a fine place to get a bargain on good chicken wings.

O’Dwyer’s Pub in Laramie has an inviting atmosphere, and tasty chicken wings. (Photo from Tripadviser.com)

Now entering the top three of my list, the following restaurants are more unique to Laramie. O’Dwyer’s Pub is an Irish eatery that offers bigger, meatier chicken wings than the likes of Applebee’s or Wal-Mart. On top of that, the unique building and decor make this a very positive and personal dining experience. O’Dwyer’s is also located right in the heart of the Laramie community, and is only a very brief walk away from the University of Wyoming dorm buildings.

Born in a Barn has some of the best chicken wings in Laramie, and a fantastic downtown location. (Photo from Tripadviser.com)

My second favorite place to get wings in Laramie is the downtown eatery Born in a Barn. Surrounded by many other fantastic restaurants, Born in a Barn stands out in the downtown scene as one of the best places for burgers, and of course, chicken wings. These chicken wings are particularly notable for the unique sauce options, which range from things like typical bbq sauce to a one-of-a-kind peanut butter and jelly sauce.

Double Dubs is a food truck that specializes in chicken wings and often parks at Laramie Fitness on Wednesdays. (Photo from Roaminghunger.com)

Finally, the best chicken wings in Laramie are at the Double Dubs food truck, which cooks chicken wings almost exclusively. On the Google My Maps link, I posted the location of Double Dubs as Laramie Fitness, since this is one of the parking lots most frequently occupied by the food truck. This location also features the large double decker bus sometimes used for seating Double Dubs customers. Since the truck focuses so intensely on solely wings, customers can expect wings of the highest quality. Double Dubs also has many homemade sauces. Like with Born in a Barn, some of these sauces are typical buffalo or bbq style, while others are very novel, such as Garlic Alfredo, spicy veggie, or habanero mustard. Double Dubs also frequently parks at Mulligan’s Bar, The Wild Rose Flower Shop, and Laramie Lanes. Full disclosure, as a long-time Double Dubs employee, I may have some bias in its favor. So I asked a regular customer about her thoughts on Double Dubs. Jayne Hellenburg says that “I have never been a fan of chicken wings, but Double Dubs changed my mind. I am now a regular customer.”

All in all, Laramie is a great place for chicken wings, and I hope this helps people to explore their options.

Audio Profile of Not My Weekend’s Patrick Gilchrist (Blog Post #5)

Patrick Gilchrist checks his phone and eats a bowl of cereal before heading to work. Patrick sings and plays guitar for Laramie, Wyoming band Not My Weekend.

I personally very much enjoyed the editing process for this assignment. Since my interviewee was such a great talker, and told a coherent and interesting story, it was relatively easy to edit. I enjoy removing pieces of audio seamlessly, and choosing what is really necessary for the story. The difficult part of editing is leaving great quotes on the cutting room floor to meet the time limit, but that challenge also adds to the fun. Taking the portrait photo was very interesting. Since Patrick happens to be my roommate, I was able to capture him in a very authentic moment, eating cereal and checking social media on his phone. After showing the best picture I had to Pat, he said that it basically conveyed his essence, since he spends so much time doing that kind of thing. For the most part, nothing about this assignment was particularly surprising to me, since I have some experience with audio and podcasting. I suppose the most interesting thing was how it turned out to be possible to omit large portions of speaking and still have a cohesive story. I don’t think I would do anything different for this assignment, and I think everything went over very smoothly. I can see myself editing audio like this in the future in various roles. Perhaps I could end up editing voiceovers for movies or television, or I could edit audio for ads. Regardless, I will use my audio editing skills to continue creating music.

Student Artists Featured in Spring Exhibition at UW Art Museum (Blog Post #4)

This porcelain and felted roving piece by UW student Stacy Tilton, entitled “Ineeda Bunn”, was featured at the 44th Annual UW Juried Art Exhibition

The Annual Art Exhibition

It isn’t often that artists who are in college get the chance to have their work displayed in an exhibition, and it’s even more rare for their work to be professionally judged in a professional setting. However, students at the University of Wyoming recently had just that opportunity.

On Feb. 22, the University of Wyoming Art Museum hosted its 44th annual Juried Student Exhibition to display selections of art by UW students. The event also included an awards ceremony that honored several students’ submissions.

There were works of art of many different kinds on display, from paintings to sculptures, to videos, and beyond. University of Wyoming students from with a myriad of majors had pieces throughout the exhibition, and museum-goers seemed to happily appreciate the various works of art produced by those students.

At the event, all kinds of people walked from one piece to another excitedly, discussing the art on display and appreciating the work of the many student artists. There was a buffet, the staff at the museum were very kind, and there was a general feeling of openness and hospitality. However, there was also a pronounced element of competition at play between the artists.

The Best of the Best

This wood carving by UW student Emily Schaneman is entitled “Oblivious.”

Many students submit pieces to be displayed each year for UW’s Juried Exhibition, but only a few are ultimately chosen. As such, there is something special about having your piece displayed at this event, and it takes a great deal of hard work to reach that point.

“This is my first time making it into the exhibition, so I’ve tried in past years and have not made it, so the experience has been kind of one of those thrilling trial and failure sort of things,” said Emily Schaneman. “The idea that not everyone makes it in makes it more thrilling and competitive and genuine and then the pieces also get purchased so you feel like you’re taking your first step into your career as an artist.”

Many students who submitted to this year’s exhibition were not chosen to have their art displayed, but others who submitted pieces for years had their work selected for the first time.  Although some won awards and others did not, many students were happy just to have their art displayed.

The exhibition can teach students a lot about the value of persistence. Still, sometimes, the exhibition ends up honoring submissions by first-time participants in the event. The judging process is such that the artist’s identities are unknown to the judges.

“This is my first year that I’ve applied,” said Stanley Czarniak, who won two awards for his cast bronze, wood and fabric piece entitled De-Rooted. “You can’t go wrong dressing up and seeing a bunch of artwork that’s beautiful.”

Going Pro

“Evidential Curious” is the title of this photograph collage by UW student Jamie Lindsey.

For the students who participate in the exhibition, the event provides an occasion each year to gain experience in the professional art world. Since it’s held at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, it is a fairly formal event. It also gives students the experience of having their art evaluated and compared to that of others in a non-classroom setting.

In addition to newcomers to the event, some of the students who had experience displaying their work at past exhibitions expressed their appreciation for the event. These students are preparing to enter the professional art world, and feel that the exhibition helped to equip them for that journey.

 “It’s an amazing experience promoted by all of the faculty in the arts department and it’s awesome because it’s free, which I know out of college would never be the case,” said Jamie Lindsay, who has participated in previous annual Juried Student Exhibitions. “It brings the whole university together with the focal point of art.”

At the event, it was evident that the university community was engaged and interested in appreciating student art, and students were very grateful for the community support.

“I’ve been very privileged to be able to exhibit work every year that I’ve been a student,” said Billy Harris. “It’s awesome to have an experience here where students get to know what it’s like to exhibit in a space, to get awards, and to talk to people about their work.”

Ultimately, the University of Wyoming Annual Juried Art Exhibition is a great way for artistic students to have their work displayed, honored, and evaluated. It also creates a great opportunity for future professional artists to familiarize themselves with the job. For more information on events and other things going on at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, visit http://www.uwyo.edu/artmuseum/.

Fun with Photojournalism (Blog Post #3)

For me, this assignment turned out to be surprisingly daunting. I’m naturally a very shy person, so it was difficult for me to overcome my social anxieties and talk to these strangers. However, now that I have these pictures, I feel that I have gained some valuable experience and confidence when it comes to this sort of thing. Although I struggled a bit with the focus on my phone’s camera, I think these photos turned out fairly good for the most part.

Precision Shot – Chelsea Bateman playing a friendly game of pool in the University of Wyoming Union

This turned out to be my best sports photo, in my opinion. This is a sports-action photo of a woman in the Union playing a recreational game of pool with some friends. I was fortunate to walk into this area of the Union when there were only three people there playing pool together. I explained the nature of this assignment and asked if I could take a few pictures, and they agreed. I moved around and took a lot of pictures, and asked for their names, and they were very kind and friendly throughout the interaction. I like this photo for a lot of reasons. I like the balance and symmetry at work in this photo, with the subject, pool table, pillar, game room sign, and pool balls all in a satisfying spatial configuration within the frame. There’s also a great leading line diagonally across this photo, from the orange pool ball on the bottom left, through the cue ball and the subject, to the unattended pool tables in the background. Although the experience of photographing these strangers playing pool felt a bit odd to me, it was generally a positive experience.

Campus Stroll – Two people taking an evening walk on the University of Wyoming Campus

I stumbled upon the opportunity for this picture while I was walking around campus looking for interesting subjects. I was far away from these subjects, but I really liked the shot of them walking away in the distance, so I stopped to take a few photos. This was intended as a kind of feature photo, although I was unfortunately unable to get the names of the subjects, or talk to them to ascertain who they were or what they were doing. Regarding composition, I actually took this photo horizontally, and with quite a bit more in the frame, but I decided that it would be more striking if it were cropped vertically. This way, there is less clutter in the frame, and I was able to use the rule of thirds more effectively to frame the subjects with the sidewalk on the bottom and the trees in the sky above. I also like the two leading lines that form a triangle with the subjects near its point. The bicycle, trees, and buildings serve as great balancing elements as well.

Studying by the Windows – Students sit at desks in Coe Library on the University of Wyoming Campus

I took this photo on the patio up the stairs outside of the Union, and it shows eight windows into Coe Library, where students are studying. The intention with this photo was to show a normal activity like studying from a unique and visually intriguing perspective. As such, this is another feature photo wherein I was unable to talk to the subjects. In any case, their distance from the camera and from each other makes the photo more interesting in my opinion. I like the way the light from the windows looks so warm and welcoming, and I like how the trees, exterior lights, and architectural variations act as balancing elements to contrast the symmetry and rigidity of the rectangular array of windows.

Heated Competition – David Romero (right) watches while Sam Perkins (left) lines up a pool shot in the University of Wyoming Union.

I took this shortly after my first sports photo, with the group I mentioned earlier. As such, my experience was, as I described earlier, very friendly and open. With that being said, this is a good time to mention that I should have spoken to these people a bit more, so as to understand more about them and their situation. This photo turned out pretty good, with the predominant absence of other people in the frame helping keep the picture focused. I like the lighting in this picture, and I like the balance between the subjects. There are also some satisfying parallel lines that help frame everything symmetrically. With that being said, I think there is a bit too much going on in the background, so this wasn’t quite my favorite sports photo.

Slow Hours – Suyasha Pradhanang (right) and Ahmed Eltoukhy (left) chatting near closing time at CJ’s in the University of Wyoming Union.

This is another feature photo. As I walked around campus looking for interesting photo opportunities, I saw these two. I liked the moment of these friends talking and hanging out, so I explained the assignment and asked if I could take some pictures. Another person respectfully declined, but the these two seemed happy to help. At first they posed, but I asked them to just continue to act naturally as they had before I arrived. I spent a while moving around and taking photos and eventually got this shot. I like the moment of conversation, with the subjects each occupying a third of the frame and smiling at each other. The wall helps break the photo into two thirds, and the background behind Ahmed, as well as the clock and cash register, help make the photo more visually interesting. I am a bit disappointed with the clarity of this photo, though, as it came out a little blurrier than I hoped.

Creative Devices Photography (Blog Post #2)

This assignment has been a fun opportunity to expand my knowledge of and experience with photography. I decided to use photos entirely from the conservatory, mostly as a way to challenge myself to take the best photos I could in that environment.

Lights of the Leaves – A plant viewed from above

The main creative device in this photo is texture, since looking at the photo gives a good impression of how these layered and dense leaves might feel. Additionally, perspective is important in this picture, since it captures the plant from a somewhat unusual angle. I had several similar shots, but settled on this one because of the relative symmetry it achieved between all the leaves, and their positioning surrounding the emptier spaces mid-frame.

Among the Plants – A statue surrounded by plants

The main device in this photo is the rule of thirds. Although I had another shot that was more in line with the grid, I found this one to be more symmetrical and pleasing to my eye. The statue is the subject of the photo, framed subtly by long leaves. The many plants in this photo serve as balancing elements, especially the large one on the left.

Open Spaces in the Greenhouse – A view of the ventilation and ceiling in the main greenhouse

The main device in this photo is perspective. By looking up at the ceiling of the greenhouse, a spacious and visually unique view is revealed. Given the grid design of the structure, there is also a prominent use of symmetry and patterns in the photo. Additionally, these lines serve as leading lines to the subject of the photo, which is the ventilation installation.

By the Window – Two plants peek out through the rails of a staircase

The main device in this photo is framing, since the staircase creates an almost oppressive sliver for the subjects to be viewed. On top of that, the plants are boxed in by chains and a bar, as well as the corner of the window. The angular and rigid structure of the building is in stark contrast to the plants, which are the only green elements in an image full of white paint and aggressive natural light from the window.

Mirror Habitats – Two pots of plants side-by-side

The main device in this photo is balancing elements. Wile the larger pot is the subject, the smaller pot creates a point of comparison and reflects the larger in some ways. For example, where the bottom of the larger pot is lined with bright green and yellow, the top of the smaller one is mostly a dark brown. Conversely, the water in the smaller pot is reflecting a great deal of light, where the water in the larger pot is mostly dark.

Ultimately, I was surprised with how well these photos turned out. I don’t think they’re anything particularly special, I just never thought my phone’s camera was capable of capturing such high quality images. When viewed on my laptop in high resolution and full size, they definitely look better that I expected. I don’t think there’s anything I would do different if I had to do this assignment again, although I wish I had asked about how to make links come up in new tabs. *edit 2/15* I figured out the link thing!

The Journey Begins (Blog Post #1)

I can’t believe I’m finally only a semester away from my degree! As I reflect on all the things I have learned in college, it has become apparent to me that I still have a lot of room for growth, especially when it comes to understanding how to produce digital media. As a musician, I have had many opportunities to gain experience in music recording, production, and the operation of digital audio workstations. Hosting a segment on Wyoming Sounds through Wyoming Public Media has given me a bit of a background in broadcasting technologies and practices. I have also had limited experience with more video-oriented things such as music videos.

However, I have almost no personal experience in editing videos. Additionally, there many aspects of writing for the internet that I have yet to learn about. After reviewing the syllabus for this course, and referring to the blogs of previous students, these are the kinds of skills I hope to develop and strengthen throughout the course of this class. As a sort of hobbyist photographer and photo editor, I’m also really looking forward to learning more about the composition and theory aspects of photography. On top of that, there are bound to be many more interesting and valuable concepts explored in this class, all of which are integral to successfully navigating the internet multimedia landscape as a creator.

Regarding the kinds of things I’ll be writing about, it’s still difficult to predict. Obviously, it would be out of the question for me to write about my band or personal musical endeavors, but music is likely to come up. I know I will discuss pictures I’ve taken, and I know I will live tweet some kind of event, but I haven’t yet been able to make up my mind on the subjects of the photos and tweets. As these assignments come up, I will likely be looking out for relevant things that interest me. Ultimately, I think just about anything can be interesting, so I’m very excited to see what ends up in this blog! The website automatically generated a “The Journey Begins” post with a pretty picture and a nice quote, so here’s a picture I took a long time ago and nice quote I like to accompany this inaugural blog entry.

“It’s curious – very very odd, and yet nobody realizes it – that human beings are brought up to feel as if they were strangers in the world. We are given a sense of our own existence that is in flat contradiction to the facts of nature. Although, in its own way there is something natural about that, because nothing can happen at all that is not in some way connected with an elaborate scheme – not a scheme that, as it were, had a plan in mind, but nevertheless a scheme – that is musical in nature.” – Alan Watts