03
Mar
09

@PRSarahEvans and…T-Pain? Springfield, IL Tweetup for #ElginDay

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009, Springfield, Illinois held it’s first official Tweetup!  The folks from #ElginDay came down to Springfield to lobby for improvements to their city in the Capitol Building.  Posted below is a video and some photos from the event.  It was great to meet everyone and get to connect with some fellow Springfieldians.  Thanks to everyone who came and I hope you guys had as enjoyable a time as I did.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next tweetup/photowalk…stay tuned for more on that!

Attendees: @howardkang, @gotshoo, @adamstrong, @mochamomma, @Scott217, @PRSarahEvans, @RuthMunson, @jeremywilburn, and others who didn’t have twitter handles.

Video
Photos

*Sorry for the light quality, it was night after all.

27
Jan
09

State Farm Donates to UIS Computer Science Program

Sometimes as photographers we get put into situations in which we have to deal with tricky lighting situations.  Unfortunately for me, tricky lighting situations occur in every building on my campus.  It’s a good thing though because it pushes me to play with my white balance and other camera settings to try to get the photo to look right.  It’s important to get to an event early enough to be able to take some test shots and refer to your histogram.  Knowing how to read a histogram can save you a lot of time in post processing.

Histogram

Histogram

photo courtesy http://www.digitalreview.ca/cams/NikonD200_intro.shtml

For these shots I use a combination (exact data can be found on my flickr page for all the photos) of an 18-50 f2.8 with a flash usually set at f5.6 and ISO 400 and a 70-200 f2.8 without a flash set at f2.8 and ISO 1600.  I think f5.6 to f11 is a good range for shooting events like this with a flash.  f2.8 is a must especially when it was as dark in that room as it was.  I wish my D70s had less high ISO noise, but you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.  Here are some photos, let me know what you think.

12
Jan
09

Basketball Weekend

12
Nov
08

Men’s Basketball at the University of Illinois at Springfield

UIS Men’s Basketball vs. St. Ambrose on November 10, 2008.  First home game of the season for the men’s basketball team.  Here are a couple of shots from that game.  And by a couple I mean like 50-ish.

UIS Men’s Basketball vs. St. Ambrose on November 11, 2008.  UIS plays one NCAA Division I team per year.  Unfortunately for the guys, it falls the day after another game in which actually counted (vs. this game which was an exhibition).  The guys were tired, but they did a good job keeping the ISU team at bay, especially in the first half.

07
Oct
08

Dee Jaying for Higher Ed

DJ

Everyday Apple by Kaile Raimondi

Last weekend I attended an engagement party for a good friend of mine.  It had already been a long day of traveling to shoot engagement photos and pre-bridals for another friend of mine so I was pretty tired by 10 p.m.  As I am sitting there drinking my water with lemon, I began to zone out listening to the music.  As I sat, I started thinking about the DJ.  I thought to myself, “what does a DJ do to stay ‘on top’?  “If I were a DJ, how would I appeal to people?”

Let’s say that I am the DJ.  First thing I want to think about is picking my target audience.  I’ve got to think about a couple of things:  what type of music do I want to/can (if I am performing personally) offer, what type of music should I be playing, or what type of music is not offered in my areas of reach and can I make it a niche market?  Of course then my next step is to acquire all the music that I need.  However, music is ever changing, and taste in music is as well.  What may be a popular song now, may not be in a year or two and so I may have to revamp my collection to stay with the times.  This even applies with classical music or older tunes (one year the 40’s may be hot, and the next year 60’s may be the thing).

Then I decide that I have to market to the people.  I need to decide what the best method for marketing to my audience is.  Maybe I create a MySpace or Facebook page and showcase my offerings there.  Maybe paper flyers to distribute and hang up in places.  Maybe a bilboard or two, etc.  My goal is to reach the greatest amount of people whom I feel would be more willing to hire me.

I also have to contend with other DJ’s that may offer similar services and options to me.  So what do I do in this circumstance?  Maybe buy some cool clothes, whether it be a suit or tux or maybe some Elvis threads, and dress up.  I can have my portrait professionally taken so that people may take me more seriously.  I might consider buying some flashy spotlights and one of those rotating light balls.  Perhaps a strobe light or two.  Basically, I need to have things that make myself more presentable overall.

Then I snapped back to reality.  I thought, “Wow, being a DJ is like being a one man university recruitment team.”  The two fields really are not that different.  I thought being a DJ wouldn’t be that difficult.  Afterall, I can make my own mixes in GarageBand, put them on my iPod and hook it up to some speakers and voila, I’m a DJ.  Of course if I want people to take me for real I have to present myself as a professional.

I bring this up for a couple of reasons; one, my fiance and I are trying to decide whether or not we want a DJ for our wedding, and two, how do students feel about your university?  When your counselors attend college fairs, are you putting on a good show?  How do you differentiate yourself from all the other colleges (DJ’s)?  At what point do you cross over from being taken seriously to being a flashy light show?

02
Sep
08

Photos from Fall 2008 at UIS

I’ve been spending most of my time the last two weeks taking photographs. Here are just a handful of shots from the first couple of weeks.

23
Jul
08

What I have learned from the eduWeb 2008 Conference

I know what you’re thinking: “You weren’t at the eduWeb conference!?!” True, however, due to the excellent coverage by many many people namely Nick Catto, Brad Ward, Matt Herzberger, Michael Fienen, and many more that can be seen on Matt’s blog! The blog coverage was great, the Twitter coverage was amazing, and uStream worked like a charm! I was able to follow many of the conference topics thanks to all the hard work by the attendees and some non-attendees.

However, as great as all this connectedness is, I know that I missed out on a lot by not being there. For example, there was a BlogHighEd social one night that I missed out on. I missed out on all the after hours conversations and debates about whether email is or is not dead for example, and other things I’m sure. What I am trying to say is that being virtually connected just does not equal being able to meet/talk/interact with people in person.

While that is something you all knew already, sometimes we tend to loose sight of that when talking about our students. We assume that all students are so connected that we forget about some of the “older” or more “traditional” methods of communication. I know that our students are connected, but they are not all as connected as we hope they might be. The reason I bring this up is that during the same time as the eduWeb conference, my university, the University of Illinois at Springfield, hosted the SLOAN Consortium conference for Online Learning. One of the sessions that I attended yesterday dealt with Student Life. I heard technology professionals talking about implementing Second Life in their courses. Requiring students, especially online students to interact with each other in that virtual setting. One of the presenters said proudly that 6 of their 15 students could access Second Life on their computers. If you ask me, that’s not really a good percentage of students, especially if you are REQUIRING them to use it! Someone else said that 25% of their class of 25 had used Second Life before. Again, not impressed… I was pleased to hear that other schools recognize this and are offering two tracks for students in those courses to be able to work: Blackboard and/or Second Life.

Going along with this, I’ve heard a lot of chatter about customer relations and how that affects retention. Students don’t appreciate always getting referred back to the website for answers. They probably checked their first and are calling you BECAUSE they couldn’t find the answers on the website. Giving students that personal attention they desire (and have pretty much come to expect) will certainly reflect positively on your university.

Earlier this summer, we were curious about how we could change the mailing of our publications. We talked to groups of students to see how they heard about us and got information to us and we found that the majority of the students said that it was our print publications where they got their initial information. I think we got a little ahead of ourselves by thinking that people were going online to find us. Our study groups prove that our student demographic is not quite ready for that shift yet.

There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter about screen resolution and web design. I know it’s not really possible to take care of everyone, but one of the factors that my institution has to consider is that we do have a LOT of students still running on dial-up. As great as it would be to have everyone with high speed internet, it’s not plausible right now for many people.

The last thing I have learned from the eduWeb 2008 conference is that conferences really pump you up. Actually, I already knew this from the other conferences I have attended, but even just being able to catch the coverage has really made me excited to do things. I know I’ve checked out Brad Ward’s reading list and I am going to pick up some of those books (hopefully I’ll read them all in a timely manner). It really helped to refocus me on my work.

I want to say thank you to everyone who provided coverage from the conference! I hope that I can return the favor at some other conferences that I will be attending this year! I hope the budget comes through for them… Andrew Careaga said to have a great week! So here’s to hoping everyone remains high after the conference!




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