Inauguration Exhibition

Inauguration Exhibition, originally uploaded by StartPoint Media.

Join Point Park University photojournalism students as they share their work and discuss their experiences during the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Portrait of an Inaguration
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Father Ryan Arts Center
Gallery Exhibit Opening and Panel Discussion
420 Chartiers Ave
McKees Rocks, Pa. 15136


Portrait of an Inauguration

Join Point Park University photojournalism students as they discuss their experiences during the historic inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Portrait of an Inaguration
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Father Ryan Arts Center
Gallery Exhibit and Panel Discussion
420 Chartiers Ave
McKees Rocks, Pa. 15136


Silver Eye Center for Photography

© 2009 StartPoint Media, Inc.

Introduction to Black and White Photography students from Point Park University listen to Sylvia Ehler talk about the photographs from the ‘Latin American Dreams’ exhibition at the Silver Eye Center for Photography on Pittsburgh’s South Side.


Macro Cat Parts

After finally having a minute to relax on the couch, my cat Stinky curled up next to me. He is fond of the blanket I was using to keep warm. His proximity gave me the opportunity to try out he macro lens on the Canon G9. I was truly impressed with its clarity and sharp focus at less than one inch. In comparison on my Nikon D200 I use a Tamron 28-105mm Macro lens, its focus distance is over one foot. This camera continues to prove itself as a powerful pocket camera, it has changed the way I consider capturing imagery.

Inauguration Review

Four days of shooting created nearly 1800 images from the inauguration. Those have been narrowed to 246. Of those 246 twenty will be chosen for a joint exhibition with several of my students who also attended the inauguration.

Portraits of the Inauguration, so far, will be exhibited in four locations, the Mt. Lebanon Library, the Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks, the Braddock Library and the University Center Gallery at Point Park University.


I arrived to Bristow, Va. Friday night. After a few unrelated issues Saturday morning, I made it into DC by noon. Walking around the National Mall while the finishing touches were being applied gave me the opportunity to get the lay of the land. I was able to mingle with and photograph people while at the same time evaluate all sorts of things like my attire, would I be arm enough, do I have an appropriate amount of gear and am I carrying it in such a way to minimize security slowdowns around town.


Sunday was the day of the inauguration kick-off concert at the Lincoln Memorial. This event was packed. Too many people tried to get to the memorial while organizers closed the gates and stopped admitting people to the area. The crowd grew larger and larger between the Lincoln and Washington Memorials. This event gave a visual prelude to what would happen Tuesday.


On Monday I rode my bike part way from Alexandria to the District to get a sense of the ride and also to figure out how to get through Alexandria. It wasn’t complicated, but it sure did save time on Tuesday as there were no questions about the route. I arrived in town about noon and met up with students and two other photographers. We wanted more inspiration. We went to see the Robert Frank exhibition, The Americans, at the National Gallery. Seeing his work prior to the big event was beneficial. It helped get the creative juice flowing faster Tuesday.


Monday was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day of service in the District. Many groups and organizations volunteered themselves to serve others. One particular group held an event at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library and provided a hot meal and clothing to the needy. This event provided a scene of visual richness. opportunities for good photographs were present everywhere you looked.


By Tuesday I had changed locations to the Huntington Ave. section of Alexandria, just blocks away from the Metro and the Mt. Vernon Bike Trail. I left on my bike at 7am and reached the Inaugural Bike Valet located at the Jefferson Memorial just after 8am. The ride was easy and visually striking. The light was perfect. After arriving at the Jefferson I continued my walk to the mall where I stayed between 15th Street and the Lincoln Memorial. I challenged myself not to get stuck in a crowd were I could not move freely from one place to the next. Some of my students reported that they got stuck in the middle of the Mall for several hours.


It was my mission to create a portrait style document of the event. I initially intended to photography the protesters and the fringe elements at the edges of the crowds. However, those scenes never really materialized to the level I expected, so I changed course a bit, my subjects became interesting faces and statements provided by the attendants.


The scale of the event was a challenge to the students, part of their mission was to provide on the spot reportage for the Point Park News Service and its partner the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Students were able to provide small items of coverage for the event. However, a greater lesson was learned by them. Preparation, preparation, preparation. Most of the students arrived late to the show, Monday evening or early Tuesday morning. This did not provide adequate time for them to capture more than one aspect of the event. It also limited their ability to access the internet to file stories and photos. Surprisingly, the level of connectivity of my current students is less than what is generally assumed about the generation. Most of them cannot access the internet from their cell phones and most lack the exeprience through trial and error to create effective work arounds to technical problems. An event like this will surely prime the pump and prepare them for the next big deal. They will consider more angles and will ask more questions about how to get things done and they will be successful.

Inaugural FTP


Using my 2GB cards containing images from my Canon G9, my Treo 650 loaded with VFS-FTP, national access through Verizon and an FTP server at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, I will be able to upload high quaility JPEG images captured at the Presidential Inauguration for publication.

The process for getting the full-sized images to the server requires a few steps.

First capture the images in the Canon G9 as medium-sized JPEGs, 1600×1200 pixels.
Second take the card from the camera and place it into the phone.
Open VFS-FTP, select your FTP server, select the image(s) and press ‘to FTP’.
The file will begin to transfer and about 45 minutes, yes, minutes, later it will be accessible at the Tribune-Review.
Finally, I will have to call or text message the editor to let him know the file name and dictate the caption information.

Using this process requires no computer, no cables or other fancy toys. It should allow me to remain streamlined and light weight during inauguration day and it will give me more room for other cameras.

I will be shooting with at least two more cameras, Nikon D200s. Those cameras, however, use compact flash cards, those images unfortunately will not be able to be transmitted in this way. Those images will be captured as .NEF files and will be processed and transmitted, if necessary, by traditional methods.

Fwd: Test posting

This is a photo of my office shelves. I am testing all of my devices to ensure that content will reach the web during the three days I will be in Washington, D.C. for Barack Obama's inauguration as President of the United States.

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

To learn how you can snap pictures and capture videos with your wireless phone visit

Note: To play video messages sent to email, QuickTime� 6.5 or higher is required.

Next week I will be in attendance to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. Many of my students in colleagues will be in attendance. I think it goes without saying that this will be an enormous event. Attendance at an event of this scale will require an enormous amount of logistics. The lack of proper planning and thought could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.

As a mentor to student photojournalists I have come up with a list of items and things to consider while planning the trek. By no means is this list complete, rather it is just a place to start. The events begin in less than one week, now is the time to get it together. With a little prep the evenst should go smoothly and everyone will return home safely with great images and stories from the historic event.

Functional Warm Winter Hat
Wool Socks
Spare Wool Socks
Hiking Boots
Heavy Gloves
Scarf or Gator
Long Underwear
Pocket Hand Warmers
Layer upper jacket/parka

Camera batteries
Extra Flash batteries
Camera Cards
extra Camera cards
battery charger, camera and cell phone

Packable Food
Grocery bag- to carry your rubbish. The garbage cans will be a mess.
Don’t contribute to the problem, document it.

Metrorail Card
2 forms of photo ID
DC Map
VA Map
MD Map

Plan your route in and out of DC. How will you get to and from your mode of transport back to Pittsburgh? Do you have more than one route planned?

Set up your phone on Facebook to send and receive. Use this to send status updates and use as emergency text access to your broader network back home.

Set up your camera phone to email images to Flickr.

Collect telephone numbers of others that are going to be in DC.