The Park In Vienna

The best blog you'll ever read about being an intern

chapter 6: the daily grind July 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — acerook @ 10:18 pm

This is where I do my magic

What is that, you ask yourself, squinting at the photograph at the top of this entry.  A Mac?

Why, yes, it is.  But let me direct your attention to the important part of the photo – the bottom:

The important part

The important part

What are all those crazy sticky notes?  You continue wondering.

Why, I’m so glad you asked.

Those sticky notes represent the steps I take with every single show I shoot. I’m very Type A, so I need to thoroughly lay out my battle plan, or I’m lost.  And on days like today – where I’ve got a dozen things to sort and edit – these sticky notes are the only thing that keep me sane.

Here we go, step by step, with an explanation of what I do with pictures after the taking is done.

First, I upload them.  We use a program called Photo Mechanic, which I’d never used before I came to Wolf Trap, but it’s a pretty decent program to sort and tag photos.  I’m considering getting it for myself after this summer, since I’ve become very used to its easy interface.

When uploading, I generally stick them in a generic folder – “new stuff” and from there, sort them into more specifically titled folders such as “42nd Street – 2009 – TJB.”

Next step is to pick out the best of the best.  Inside whatever main folder I’m working out of, I create a folder called “selects” to place the most striking images in.  Photo Mechanic is a great help in this step because it has a little feature that you can rate each photo when you look at it with stars, and then at the end sort the photos by the rating so the best pics are all right there.

After that, I select all the best photos and head into Photoshop.  Now, coming from a journalistic background, I’m always VERY hesitant to edit photos.  I think the ethics of photo editing can be very tricky and confusing, so I always stay on the safe side for photos like this (fashion and art photography obviously being very different) and try to edit very minimally.  My next entry will be specifically on the mechanics of how I edit a photo – so I won’t bore you with that now.

After that, you’d think I’d just save it and be done, right?  Wrong!  I still have three more very important steps.

After saving the images in Photoshop, I go back into Photo Mechanic to tag the images.  Tags are simple words that users can go into Photo Mechanic and search for pictures by keywords – for instance, “picnic,” “performer,” or “theater.”  During this step, I also insert the metadata for each photo, an important step for any photographer.  By using the IPTC  Stationary Pad in Photo Mechanic, I can edit the file’s data so anyone who opens it in a photo editing program will see that the picture is copyrighted to me, with all my contact information, as well as Wolf Trap’s info, since they’re the proprietors of the photo.

Next, I select all the photos and re-save them as JPG photos.  I shoot in what’s called RAW, which allows me more flexibility to edit the photos without destroying the integrity of the picture.  But most computers can’t read RAW unless in Photoshop, and since not everyone has the Adobe suite, I’ll save each batch in JPG so anyone can open them.

After that, I will always transfer the photos to my external hard drive so I have copies of everything for my portfolio.  Super important.

Last, I burn the RAW images to a CD.  RAW images are huge – 10 MG compared to a JPG’s 3 MG, and so as not to kill the server with huge files, we burn them to a CD and archive them in a nice binder for anyone to find if they want to edit a particular image.

It’s not a particularly hard process, but as you can see, there are several steps, and to keep myself on track with what photo set is in which stage, I write each event on a sticky note and move it along the little path as I complete steps.  Dorky, I know, but when I’m juggling 9 different photo events that all need to make it through each 6 steps, it’s the only way.

And there you have it!  Go forth and be organized, like me!
Next up in the blogosphere will be that entry on editing photos.  I’ll take you through, step by step, and show you how to make photos look better.  Tada!


chapter 5: how I spent my summer vacation July 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — acerook @ 6:54 pm

So, as promised, here are some photographic offerings to the numerous readers.  All of these photos are copyright to Traci J. Brooks and property of the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.  Do not steal them.  I and all the wolves will kill you.

Matt Nathanson

Matt Nathanson

This is my favorite musician of all times, a gentleman named Matt Nathanson.  My portfolio already contains several shots of him, but when I found out he would be playing Wolf Trap this summer, of course I couldn’t pass up another chance to shoot him.  It’s funny how easy it was to shoot him – I’ve seen him about 8 times in concert and photographed him about half of those times, so I have a pretty good guess at when/how/where he’ll move.  No, I’m not a stalker.


Wang Chung

Wang Chung, masters of the 80s.  This shot was taken from the upper balcony, featuring some really awesome lighting design.  So pretty!



What a fantastic band!  These guys, aka DeVotchKa, opened for David Byrne, of Talking Heads, earlier this season.  They featured a female on bass – and by bass, I mean upright bass.  She also played the tuba, which was pretty fantastic.

The Filene Center

The Filene Center

I have a list of shots to get over the course of the summer, and architecture is one of them.  The Filene Center is an iconic building, with very striking architecture that is immediately recognizable to anyone that has ever been there.  I took this picture after a rain storm during the Indigo Girls – the sky turned this beautiful purpley blue that I thought was gorgeous against the lit Filene Center.

The crowd at Wolf Trap

The crowd at Wolf Trap

The Wolf Trap Experience is something we’re always trying to capture in our photography.  This is a good shot because it shows both the architecture of the Filene Center, but also the picnicers, a huge part of Wolf Trap.

Interns at work

Interns at work

Part of my job is also to capture what it’s like behind the scenes at Wolf Trap.  These are the Education interns, working on the newsletter.  Here’s a secret – this picture was entirely staged.  I stood on a chair above them and told them to point at the paper, use the pen, etc., to get an interesting shot.

Romance In the Air

Romance In the Air

What a cute couple.  Before the shows, I often lurk up on the balcony overlooking the lawn to get candids like these.  It’s pretty crazy the things people do when they think no one is watching them… little do they know, there’s a short Asian creeping with a telephoto lens getting their every move!  But sometimes, the people are observant – the frame after this one has the gentleman giving me the “hang loose” sign.  Guess I’m not as sneaky as I thought!

So there you have a look into what sort of assignments I get as the photography intern here.  I really love the variety – and it definitely has made me a better photographer, having to deal with many different lighting situations and scenarios.

Next up: What I do when I’m not shooting, i.e., how to edit a photo!


Chapter 4: Glass Half Full July 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — acerook @ 6:00 pm

Midpoint Evaluation time.

Let me say, this has been a really good internship thus far.  When  I think of all the amazing opportunities I’ve had – and gotten PAID to for – I know I’m extremely lucky.  Plus, my work environment and my fellow interns are basically the bomb – lunch breaks are always a blast!

I really can’t believe it’s been almost seven weeks… and I have only about five left to go.  If this could be my job, I would literally be set for life!  

This doesn’t mean that this job hasn’t been without its challenges.  There have definitely been some not so awesome parts of the internship, but I’ve realized they’re things I’m grudgingly glad they did happened, since it definitely taught me something or at least, eventually didn’t suck as much as I thought it did.  They’re also issues I know I’ll have to face when I get out into the “real world” so I might as well man up and start figuring out how I can best deal with them, because they’re not going to go away.

So, to any future interns out there, here’s a bit of advice.  Always keep your attitude in check.  Having restrictions on how to best do a job is a pretty good reason to feel belligerent, but even that doesn’t mean you should.  As long as you can accept your limitations and still do your best, that is the key to success.  The attitude and perspective is EVERYTHING, no matter who you are or where you are.

That’s my Deep Conclusion to this entry.  Next few entries, I’ll get to the good stuff – I will be posting some pics that I’ve taken over the past few weeks!