February 14, 2013
In November of 2011 I teamed up with a bunch of amazing people to offer a free wedding to an amazing couple. The project was called Operation: MARRY ME MILITARY. Ours was the Wake County edition.
Couples from around the country wrote in to win an all expense paid wedding. Through the efforts of Tia McLaurin & her business The Perfect Plan and Heba Salama of Heba Salama Photography (also of Biggest Loser fame) the two contestants, Connie Kruse and US Airforce reservist Bryan Powell, had a storybook wedding on Veteran’s Day 2011.
11.11.11 had historic significance to begin with, but working with a couple as wonderful as these too made this Veteran’s Day one I will not soon forget. The entire team of folks who made this day possible was delightful and I was proud to offer my services on this special day.
Oh and I feel as though I should update this by saying since that lovely day Connie has moved to Atlanta and Bryan is currently on a 5(?) month deployment. Safe return Bryan and thank you for your service!
The Thank Yous:
Holy cow! It’s been almost 2 years since my last post. It’s hard to believe, but a lot has happened in that time.
Since then I was hired by the Media Services group at Duke Law, completely revamped the DL Directory, covered an incredible story of a man wrongly accused of murder – and his release from prison, worked a season or two with the Carolina Hurricanes & NC State through Canesvision, donated an entire wedding video package to a military couple on Veteran’s Day 11.11.11, took an entire summer away from shooting weddings so I could spend time with my dying father and worked to raise money for Mesothelioma research by organizing a health symposium and helping get the word about the deadly effects of asbestos.
As the spring and summer draw near, I am hoping to pick up a few wedding video shoots, maybe some corporate still photo endeavors, and to continue my work at Duke Law. Feel free to contact me if you have a photo or video need and I will try to accommodate you.
April 17, 2011
Two amazing people got hitched over the 1st April weekend. Ryan Marsh and Allison Jones were married on April 2nd at the Cary Presbyterian Church. The entire affair was expertly orchestrated by wedding coordinator Tia
McLaurin of The Perfect Plan. From the schedule to the flowers to the locations, every step was choreographed to perfection. Tia was amazing to work with and made the day extraordinarily easy.
After the ceremony the happy couple was whisked away to their reception up at 1705 Prime on Old Wake Forest Road. One of the 1st people I met at the reception was Kevin Majoros of KM DJ Company. He kept the guests entertained and energized all night with great tunes and fun introductions. The happy couple
danced to their first dance and continued to dance the night away!
One other person I met that evening was Tammy Wingo of Tammy Wingo Photography. She was so kind and incredibly dedicated to her work. I can not wait to see the still images she
perfected that night! I know the newlyweds will be thrilled with their choice in photographers.
I realize this isn’t the usual wedding write-up, but so often those working behind the scenes to capture and entertain and organize go unrecognized. When they, in fact, drive the momentous occasions.
It was a great night, not only because Allison and Ryan were such an amazing pair to work with, but because these other professionals were not only excellent, but truly remarkable to work with.
Congratulations to the happy couple! As your your grandfather said, may you be as happy tomorrow as you are today. All the best … your wedding videographer, Courtney at Crabtree Creek Productions.
March 10, 2011
What a great time to start another endeavor in the path to becoming a still photographer. I’ve shot classroom groups in schools for a couple of seasons now. I shot high school seniors all through the summer of 2010. I’ve tried my hand at pregnancy portraits. And now that those little babies have made there way into this world, it’s time to shoot newborns!
Penelope Quinn was born February 21st, just after midnight. This little bundle of joy is the 1st baby of 2 very good friends of mine. She has all 10 toes, fingers and her daddy’s nose. At the first available chance I grabbed another friend’s beautiful table cloth, my camera, a basket and ran over to their house.
After setting up the backdrop and wishing that I had a better flash, I had a few minutes alone with the new baby Penelope. I started snapping pics, hoping that something good would stick.
The practice didn’t stop there. Yet another happy couple welcomed their little darling into the world, just 2 days before Penelope. Keira Keane was born February 19th, 2011. This time I was a little more prepared. I bought some very girlie fabric, had a better flash and disrobed my Vermont Teddy from his running gear. I moved everything around in my living/dining room and set up the equipment.
From the last shoot I learned that baskets with handles block the flash light, unless they are on the sides of the basket. I also learned the backdrop can make the photo and props can really help if appropriate. This time I picked a bucket I already had and waited for the arrival of little Keira.
When she came in, dad and I decided to take the pics with her little diaper on. Modesty, especially for online viewing, seems preferable. So I set her up, took some shots, moved her around, took some more and sent her home.
Both babies were so good. They slept. There were no tears. And they made beautiful pictures.
If you need a portrait of the special people in your life, contact me here and we’ll set something up.
March 5, 2011
I recently completed 3 videos for three different organizations and business is growing.
The most recent being a spot for Action Against Asbestos recounting the South Florida Miles For Meso weekend. The weekend was structured to raise money and awareness for Mesothelioma research, a cause near and dear to my heart because my father suffers from Mesothelioma cancer. It is caused by asbestos poisoning and once it’s contracted, there is no cure … for now. We hope to change that.
The second was for Recovery NC. I created 5 videos during the course of this particular project. They all stemmed from an event held last August. The Board for Recovery knew exactly what they wanted but were unsure how to achieve their goal. That is where I stepped in. I helped them construct a plan and delivered an assortment of stories to best serve their needs. The final story helps illustrate just how important a recovery project is to folks suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.
Lastly, the longest project in the works was a product video for a small business located here in the Triangle. This group came to me with an idea and through the months that followed we developed a plan, a script and finally a video. The concept was to create a detailed visual description for a piece of computer hardware that connects other pieces and various USB peripherals (all the cool stuff we run off our computers – cameras, external hard drives, phones, speakers, etc). After a number of script revisions , a change of “talent” and a few video clip changes the project was complete! Now this company doesn’t have to bring dozens of individual pieces of equipment around to the various trade shows around the country. It cuts down, not only on the possibility that the equipment doesn’t work, but also on time and money.
Overall I really believe that each of these organizations will truly benefit from having a story to show clients, sponsors and supporters. A video folks can call up anywhere, anytime.
February 16, 2011
How many in your class today? Okay, come on guys, right up to the top. File in. Whoa, slow down. Please stay where I put you. We’re going to hold your hands behind you like this. Everybody say MONKIES on the count of three … nice smiles … 1. Guys, hands behind your backs. 2. Please, you on the end move back in. 3.
Please don’t make that face. You know your Principal will see it when it’s printed and you’ll be stuck like that forever.
Okay boys and girls say MONEY on three … 1. 2. 3.
I’ve been shooting still photos for about a year now, professionally. I’ve always found it super scary. How do you capture one moment of someone’s life in a way they want to keep forever? As a videographer I capture thousands of moments and edit them together to tell a story. Good still photographers can tell a story in just a photo. I have an amazing appreciation for the profession. I used to love to see what my newspaper counterparts were up to when I was shooting video along side of them. I never understood the still camera’s exposure thing, F-stops, lens lengths or flashes. Give me gain, an iris, an extender lens and an Anton Bauer top light any day!
But I’ve been learning more about these smaller memory-makers since January of 2010. It is yet another job I do to get by in this crazy economy. I applied for a job with one of the largest distributors of picture promises in the country and they apparently thought I had enough talent and sense that they could make a still photographer out of me. So here I am, getting up early and traveling to schools all over the area to take children’s classroom/group photos.
Working as a school and Senior Portrait photographer has increased my patience and understanding of how to shoot a proper pic. Not only that, but it is educating me in how to shoot all of my pregnant friends and setting up good habits that I can use in my Wedding videos. After a day in an elementary school, I realize that my friends and wedding clients make my days look like (sorry) child’s play. The kids are fun, but challenging … they are constantly in motion! They don’t want to smile, or they do – and way too much. Gotta watch out for hands signs, gestures, glass glare and wardrobe malfunctions all day long. By the time I get to my little moms-to-be, I am super thankful
there are only 2 people and one-on-the-way to keep track of. Whew.
Tomorrow morning I’m off to another school. Not sure what the day will bring, but I hope to be on my A-game and send the kids off with thoughts of a super-fun picture day. Now, to plan my attack on the carpool lane!
February 9, 2011
In 2010 I spent a great deal of time shooting on location for a number of county websites. The company I worked for is CGI Communications, Inc. They specialize in creating promotional videos for communities and businesses. I worked in Wake Forest and Lillington on a few occasions, but I spent the most time in Harnett County.
Harnet is preparing for a huge increase in population due to military restructuring. Soldiers and families will be relocated to Cumberland County’s Fort Bragg. With that, families will look at moving not only into Fayetteville North Carolina, but also further north to be closer to the Capital City of Raleigh. Harnett County is positioned very well between a military community and our state capital.
My job last Spring, was to work along side the wonderful women of the Harnett County’s Economic Development Office and record various places around the county that demonstrate optimum areas for stability and growth. I got an inside look at the school systems, both fundamental and higher education. I was able to check out the industries located there, the hotels and b&b’s, restaurants, the arts and so many other things it is hard to list them all. I did get to a Campbell Camel’s softball game and shot an interview along the Cape Fear River.
Today I was searching around the Harnett County website to see if the videos were completed and I found them. You can check out their website and click on the Harnett County Video Tourbook for the videos I helped create. Enjoy!
January 24, 2011
Working in TV News you learn to expect the unexpected, but occasionally you find yourself in a place you never even thought to consider.
This happened to me in mid-January. A colleague of mine called to see if I would be available for a news shoot in Fayetteville, NC. Apparently TIME magazine had listed it as the Most Patriotic City in the States. I know that it is certainly the Most Pro-Military Town. Men’s Health dubs Portland, OR as the Most Patriotic, but the Fayetteville Observer calls it’s home county of Cumberland the Most Patriotic Spot. All of this is certainly not news to anyone living in or around Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base or the dozens of historic sites that can be found all over the area. It IS news, however, to the relatively new democratic state of Croatia. This is where the ‘unexpected’ part comes in.
Never in my career did I expect to have my video shown outside of the US, let alone in the Republic of Croatia. Like I said earlier, it is just not something I thought to consider.
I tell you what, it was an awesome experience. Not only did I get to meet a very well traveled and kind journalist with a true team mentality, but I also had to think about video in a way I hadn’t in a while. You can’t exactly show documentation and locator signs to viewers who do not speak your language or know the area. To show a hanging Declaration of Patriotism written in cursive English to viewers of a Slavic nation certainly doesn’t have the same impact. Also, all your interviews need to translated and if the producer calls and asks how the freelancer is working out, you won’t understand the answer. But it didn’t stop me from trying to find our story on their website.
This was the 1st of 2 stories we worked on. It was the shorter of the 2, about the US President’s approval rating. It ran 2 years to the day of his Inauguration and while President Barack Obama was meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao. The 2nd story will be more about Fayetteville and patriotism. I am not sure when it will air but I will keep a look out for it.
I hope to have the opportunity to work more with this reporter, Branka Slavica, either here in North Carolina or where ever here journalistic endeavors take her.
(Unfortunately, even though I kept all the logo and station information on the YOUTube video I created of the project, it bordered on a copyright issue. I took the video down. It’s okay. Not many people were able to understand the language here in the states.)
January 22, 2011
I’m sort of an enigma when it comes to news or freelance photographers. I am a woman. One of the very few females who opt to spend their career behind a camera instead of in front of it or behind a computer. At one point or another I was the only gal in the videography department of every newsroom I’ve ever worked in. Occasionally I was even the only female photog in the entire market. To say that it has been a challenge would be an understatement.
When I began my schooling it wasn’t completely uncommon to see other women toting video cameras and tripods around. Of course, they were significantly lighter and we were much younger. As the years passed I noticed fewer and fewer females interested in shooting. Many of the people who had begun to learn the trade actually only did it because they had to. It was a pre-requisite on the way to becoming Producers, Reporters and Anchors. I studied the written curriculum too, but ultimately decided to go the visually adventuresome route.
Adventuresome it has been, but I’ve always felt I’ve had to shoot better, climb higher, edit faster than all my male counterparts. I spent most of my career subconsciously trying to prove myself. Trying to prove I’m as good or better than the guys. Trying to show everyone I can carry all my own gear. Trying to show everyone I wasn’t hired as an equal opportunity, but rather as an equal. But in order to be an equal, I usually had to endure the unpleasantness of sexual overtones in conversation, inappropriate objectifying (either on video or in conversation) or even being laughed at as I drove a large ENG vehicle, clearly not made for a woman’s smaller stature. It was a very tough road to haul. And there wasn’t any sympathy or understanding by my colleges because they saw nothing wrong with their behavior.
It wasn’t until years into my profession that I realized I will never be an equal and that I don’t want to be. I am quite qualified, and in many cases overly so, but ultimately the hazards of the job and limitations don’t fit my sensibilities. Late nights in bad neighborhoods alone, are not healthy. Long days carrying equipment as heavy as you are, isn’t good on your bones or joints. Trying to drive satellite trucks, configured for men, puts everyone at risk. And not having a management structure that realizes women are completely capable, but go about things differently is just a sign of an inability to change a very old, chauvinistic way of thinking.
Since becoming a freelance fotojournalist, I am not subjected to the same working conditions. I don’t have any of the same work place benefits such as healthcare and a 401K, but I also don’t have the same vile environment that I endured for all those years. Now I get to focus on my work. I am hired for my skill and my connections by clients with business in mind. There is still the occasional situation in which I put up with the unfortunate behavior, but like I said, it is an occasional circumstance not a daily torture.
During one of my most recent freelance opportunities, I worked with a foreign female journalist. She commented that she had never once in her career worked with a female photographer. At first I found that strange, but I realized that there are far fewer female freelancers than there are female photojournalists. Most women change careers before becoming a freelance videographer. After we wrapped up our work, we talked about what she thought the differences were in working with me. She was very candid and said that it had actually been more comfortable. There was no power dynamic. We were able to converse easily about the task at hand and there was no inappropriate behavior. And please, don’t misunderstand me, this is NOT to say that every male videographer behaves badly or that this particular reporter has had problems in the past, it is only to emphasize the point that women are different. Just like the book, Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus, the emotional needs and styles of communication differ between the sexes and from that you can understand that you get different strengths depending on who you hire, a male or female fotographer.
January 10, 2011
I have a lot more jobs these days. When you are building your own business it seems the more opportunities you have, the more knowledge and information you have at your disposal. I hope it also means I’m meeting more people, more potential clients and earning better-than-minimum-wage.
So one of my many, many projects these days is working within the heart of the RBC Center. I have recently been hired on as a part-timer to assist the true talent who bring you the Carolina Hurricanes and the NC State basketball games in High Definition. I get to sit in the epicenter of high tech transmissions watching sports! Okay, so maybe not so much ‘watching’ as trying to keep up with the plays and making sure my specific duty is done to perfection. I don’t want to mess up the broadcast!
I officially started with Canesvision in December of 2010. And I have to be honest, I’m only a part time hire, so I won’t get too many games. But for the games I do get to work, I’m going to make it count. So far I’ve run the ribbon board around the arena and most recently I’ve tried my hand at assisting in the replay system.
The ribbon board, and I hope I not divulging trade secrets here, is the sponsor spots that run all the way around the interior of the RBC Center. Every 60 seconds the board needs to be changed, unless there’s a power play or a stop in play, at which point you’ve got to switch to an animated graphic. I had no idea there was such a system in place or that its powered by a professional hand.
Playback is a whole other beast! The buttons, the timing, the awareness. You have to have to pay attention to 6 separate cameras at 1 time. And, if that weren’t enough, you’ve got to be ready to roll the best camera/view’s feed back at a moment’s notice. Just watching Marshall the Master made me want to go back to my safe spot running the ribbon! I did learn how to edit clips to create a highlight reel. More importantly, nothing crashed or collapsed in my presence. At the end of the NC State/Wake Forest game my final project, called Flavor, ran for almost 3 minutes! 3 minutes of the most exciting plays and favorite fans that I composed.
I spent most of the ‘Canes/Thrashers game watching how playback works in a much faster environment. I tried to become familiar with all the camera angles and the switching system plus the naming of the clips and the replaying of the shots. 3 periods, 2 intermissions and a sudden-death overtime later I’m looking forward to when I really know what I’m doing!