It’s a new year and a new field for ND. We stayed (mostly) dry, too! Here are highlights from the football weekend:
So, uh, no secret that I’m amused by the minutiae, the little things that go mostly unnoticed, like, say, cornerstones.
So for several years, whenever I stumbled on a ND-themed vanity license plate I shot a photo of it. I never went out of my way to look for ‘em, either. If they were within a pace or two of where I was going anyway, I’d pause long enough to make one or two frames and keep on truckin’. Why does this amuse me? Well, first there’s the geographic diversity, and second is the challenge of saying something creative in a small space. Forget Twitter…what’s the challenge of 140 characters? Say it in 7!
So once the collection reached a couple dozen, I mentioned it to Kerry Temple, editor of Notre Dame Magazine. He was kind enough to publish them on the back cover of the most recent issue of the magazine. One concern we checked out, though, was whether it was legal to photograph and publish license plates. Fortunately we got the green light from the General Counsel. I asked my colleagues in the University Photographers Association of America if anyone else had ever done something similar and one of them answered, “Well, if it is illegal, you’ll be MAKING license plates instead of photographing them.” Heh.
Welp, Commencement 2014 is in the history books. We’ve had time to recharge our batteries (literally and metaphorically) and go through the hundreds of pictures we made over the course of the weekend’s events. Here are ten which are memorable to us. Photos are in chronological order, with the initials of the photographer at the beginning of the caption.
-Matt Cashore and Barbara Johnston
BJ - The seniors’ last visit to the Grotto is my favorite Commencement event to shoot because it is visually beautiful and the emotional element is palpable.
MC – The tradition of academic regalia was on fine display at the Graduate School Commencement Saturday morning. The colors and variety of the robes and hoods and–hey, wait a minute…is that a baseball cap?? I never got the story behind the unique choice in academic attire, but it made me smile.
MC - This is sunrise on Sunday morning. The calm before the storm.
BJ - I often like to incorporate reflections in my composition.
BJ - I thought this was a fun moment when Mark Santrach, the valedictorian waved to his classmates from the podium donning a cap with the model of the Duomo in Florence, Italy, before delivering his speech.
BJ - I just like the way the composition came together.
MC - I wanted a photo that said “Commencement Speaker” in a non-specific way. Had to shoot it from a low angle to avoid showing empty seats. Even without 20,000 faces looking at me, that’s still an intimidating place to stand!
BJ - I always enjoy capturing the pride and joy on the faces of parents, family members and friends at graduation. Of course this was taken in front of the Main Building, while graduates posed for photos on the steps.
MC - I have an ongoing collection of graduates doing jumping photos. I never ask them to do it, but I keep an eye and ear out for groups of students posing for their families. Almost always, someone will say “Let’s do a jumping photo!” My Commencement coverage feels incomplete without it.
MC - Wow! That was quick…this guy’s been an alum for all of 3 hours and he’s already got the sweatshirt. Plaid pants are next.
As many already know, the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a bus tour, visiting dozens of their partner schools around the country. More information and a fun map here: http://ace.nd.edu/20/route. The bus tour is a fun way to spread the word about ACE, their work and their programs, and wherever the bus stops there’s always a pep rally. The names of all the ACE partner schools are printed on the sides of the bus and students enjoy the challenge of finding the name of their own school.
Barbara Johnston and I have been invited along on a few of their stops:
And just last week I flew (The bus is nice and all, but I’m happy to fly!) to Tucson, Arizona to join the bus tour on an important stop. The ACE Advisory Board and many ACE administrators were there for a meeting and to visit the three ACE Academies in the Tucson area. The ND ACE Academies are a new Catholic school model developed by ND faculty with a greater collaboration and sharing of resources between the local community, diocese, school and ACE. More on that here: http://ace.nd.edu/academies/
For all intents and purposes I’m a lifelong midwesterner, so the scenery and temperatures of the desert Southwest were quite a contrast, especially after this past winter! One of the days ended early enough for me to do a little sightseeing on my own, and being the aviation nut that I am, I had to visit the famous aircraft “boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. I also did a quick drive into Saguaro National Park and met some of the local “wildlife.”
On a strictly technical note, the sky in Tucson was so blue I had to adjust the white balance on my cameras to compensate. Heh…not a problem I deal with in Northern Indiana.
I made hundreds of photos in Tucson, so it was difficult to pick which handful to share on the blog. To see more, keep your eye on the ACE website: http://ace.nd.edu/blog/photos
Once again I had the opportunity to photograph the incredibly beautiful Easter Vigil mass presided by Rev. Peter D. Rocca, C.S.C., in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Holy Saturday.
Because I wanted to be sure to capture an over-head view of the Paschal candle-lighting ceremony, I arrived 2 hours before mass to setup a remote camera on the choir loft. To my surprise, there was a long line of worshippers outside the Basilica waiting, some since noon, for the doors to open at 7:30 pm to secure their seats in a pew for the popular mass. One of the perks of being a photographer is not waiting in line for hours for a front row seat.
It was an evening filled with spiritual celebration rich in symbolism and tradition, complemented by the incredible Notre Dame Liturgical Choir! What a magnificent way to ring in Easter.
-Barbara Johnston – @bjohnston2020
For a complete gallery of the 2014 Easter Vigil Mass click here.
Congratulations to the Women’s Baskeball team on reaching their fourth Final Four in as many years. Here are my 10 favorite images from the Purcell Pavilion games.
I was sitting in the media seats courtside at the Purcell Pavilion, editing my photos from the Women’s Basketball game Thursday Feb. 27, when suddenly the lights went out. For all of maybe 3 seconds it was pitch black in the arena. Then emergency exit lighting came on. Luckily most people had already left by this point.
A few minutes after that, most of the rest of the normal arena lighting came back on. Nothing more than a momentary circuit breaker pop, I thought. But then the murmurings began filtering in and the Twitter-verse began a-buzzing: Power outage across campus.
Tim O’Connor, Fighting Irish Digital Media designer/Jedi Knight, known to many as “Oak,” was quick to throw down the gauntlet on Twitter:
So off I went to investigate.
First thing I noticed was that it didn’t seem like a power outage at all…most of the Joyce Center lights were on, the Stadium lights were on, Touchdown Jesus was lit…maybe it was a false alarm? But then a few other things caught my attention: 1. Police directing traffic 2. The sound of generators running, and 3. The odd lack of a familiar golden background object.
As I made my way to ND Avenue to investigate, I noticed more generators, and that about half the normal lighting I was used to was working–some street lights on, some off, some parking lot lights on, some off, some building windows lit, some not. Overall I was quite impressed at the quickness of the batteries, generators and other backup systems on campus in turning an unexpected event into mostly a non-event.
Sure enough, the Dome’s exterior lighting was out. In almost 25 years living on or near campus I’ve never seen that. A few minutes after I made the picture the lights came back on. In the image, however, some of the illumination from street lights is reflecting off the statue of Mary atop the Dome, to which Tim O’Connor (Oak) said, “Even with no lights she still shines.”
Nice one, Oak.
Stepping out of traditional classroom shots, recently I had the pleasure of bringing top ND professors, Julia Douthwaite and Chia Chang, rector Patrick Reidy and several enthusiastic students into my photo studio for some entertaining portraits. What began as a simple marketing brochure turned into 3 photo shoots full of laughs over a Keough Kangaroo costume, a large yellow bicycle and a trumpet. Here are some of my favorite shots!
- Barbara Johnston
Here are our favorites from January. Thanks for leaving comments, too!
Matt Cashore & Barbara Johnston
I’m lucky to work for a University with a Global outlook and presence. I’ve seen some interesting places, from Jerusalem to Johannesburg.
But I’d never been to Rome.
That all changed a few weeks ago when I was asked to help with the Board of Trustees winter meeting in Rome. I looked forward to a chance to see this unique and historic place and document the newly-completed Notre Dame Rome Centre.
So what do you pack for a week in Rome with the Board of Trustees? Well, a suit!! But besides that, what photo gear did I need? It’s all about the right tool for the job. First, there were no sporting events, so no heavy cameras or big long lenses. There would be several Masses and visits to museums and other quiet places and that meant small discreet cameras that don’t draw attention to themselves. In fact, I’d been advised that in one or two places it would help if I didn’t look like a professional photographer at all. More on that later!
Oh yeah, and anything I bring I have to carry, so being kind to my back was a priority, too. As I gathered up my gear I snapped a quick photo of the contents:
1. Passport–ain’t getting far without that!
2. 11″ MacBook Air–Back-friendly but packs a surprising punch handling large still and video files.
3. Itinerary and agenda–a trip like this is meticulously scheduled. Gotta know where to be and when.
4. Canon EOS 5D Mark III DSLR–small, lightweight but great for stills and video and has a “silent” mode which is pretty impressive.
5. Fuji X100s–I rented this camera specifically for this trip. It looks like a Leica from the 1950′s but is a fully modern digital camera. It doesn’t scream “Professional Photographer!” and–I can’t emphasize this enough–makes no noise at all. Dead. Silent.
6. Canon 70-200 f4 zoom–lightweight but has the telephoto reach when I need it
7. Canon 17-40mm f4 zoom–lightweight and sharp for wide angle shots
8. Canon 17mm TS-E–a specialized lens for photographing architecture in tight spaces. Heavy, but worth it.
9. Canon 8-15mm Fisheye zoom–I’d also been asked to do some 360-degree photos of the classrooms in the Rome Centre and this is the lens for that job.
10. Sony lavaliere microphone kit–for video interviews
11. Memory cards–CompactFlash and SD. Lots and lots of ‘em.
12. Benro compact tripod–I call it “Flat Stanley” because it folds up flat. Ideally I’d have a more robust tripod for steady video shots, but again, if I bring it I have to carry it.
13. Vivitar 285 Flash–almost never use it but I did need it once on this trip.
14. Pocket Wizard radio remotes–useful for a variety of things, but most handy as an intervalometer for time-lapse work.
15. External solid-state hard drive–for backing up the photo & video files. Solid state means it’s more robust if it gets dropped or handled roughly. (I’m looking at YOU, O’Hare ramp guys!) Can’t over-state how important it is to back up everything, ideally twice. That way if my computer got destroyed or stolen, I still had the images.
16. Extra batteries and chargers–self-explanatory.
17. iPod–Loaded with “This American Life” podcasts for those long-haul flights
18. USB battery pack–for iPhone and iPod
19. Reading material–(Rats, none of my photos in this issue.)
20. Think Tank backpack–Got this several years back. It’s gone a zillion miles with me and it looks like it’s brand-new. There is simply no better bag that can carry all my gear and easily fit into any airline carry-on bin. Just…please don’t weigh it.
21. Plug adaptors–Yay, most chargers these days accept multiple voltages, so I only need to bring plug adapters and not bulky power converters.
22. Gaffer tape–Never, ever leave home without it!!
Whew. It’s all about the right tools for the job and I’m happy to say I used all of it and never felt like I needed more.
Now, onto the pictures. Here’s a brief sample of some of my favorites from the week. (To see more, visit photos.nd.edu and search “Rome.”)
- Matt Cashore