Danny McDonald

Photography and more

Archive for the tag “usf”

Fallen Officers Memorial

Last month on January 24 marked the year anniversary of the shooting of Officers Sgt. Tom Baitinger and Jeffrey Yaslowitz. The University of South Florida St. Petersburg held a memorial service for the community on campus. The service included talks from the Student Body President, Chancellor and representatives from the police department. Several members of the community were in attendance including family members of the fallen officers. The moment was special and has been a part of Students who were there part of something.

I remember the day when the shooting happened. My photojournalism course got cancelled since there were cops on campus. The topic became the discussion at almost every course I attended, especially our Media Law class. I still went to campus to check out the environment and there was just a general cold feeling throughout the day. I turned on the news and about 10 minutes into it, the headlines read the official report that the officers were dead and the names of them.

I felt sad, but it didn’t truly hit me until the memorial service. T-shirts were being sold and all the money went to the families. I observed the families cry and still see them around the community at several events. Mayor Foster has shown several times his sympathy. The city ended up dedicating a section of Fourth Street to the fallen officers and also Officer Crawford who died in a shooting on February 21st and was remembered for the anniversary of his passing yesterday.

I didn’t bring my tripod to the memorial service and I remember looking at it and decided to not bring it. It was a big challenge to get good shots at the event since the sun went down really quick. The shots that came out great were some of the speakers and the prayer circle. Since it was a memorial service, there were lit candles just about everywhere. So the lighting of the pictures was mainly from the bottom up and hit the face.

If I had a tripod, I would’ve had taken a lot of clearer shots that could have grabbed a better emotion. It is really interesting for me to see how far I have come in photography just a year ago. I start to see everything differently and notice when and how are the best shots achieved. I couldn’t use the longest shutter speed for these pictures because of the lack of stability. I tried to get as close as I could without interrupting the service to get pictures that can make an impact.

This blog of reflection is helping me tremendously understand what I have done wrong and what I need to do to make a better shoot in general. If I were to go out now and with the same lighting and equipment that I had, I feel that I will be much more efficient in the pictures that I can do now.

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Lets Draw Underwater (Review)

St. Petersburg, Florida is an awesome community that has art as a part of it. The new Dali Museum has been packed every weekend, the museum of fine arts is very large and the Chihuly exhibit makes St. Petersburg so unique.

One of my favorite local artists in St. Petersburg is one named Hunter Payne. His art style has changed a good amount during the last four years, but one thing has not, and that is his passion and drive for art.

Hunter cares so much about art that he has made major sacrifices to dedicate every thing he possibly can to art. Last year, Hunter decided to pursue one of his many dreams with art. The project is titled “Lets Draw Underwater” which is Hunter going to the Florida Keys and snorkel in the ocean while drawing whatever he sees down there.

The first challenge was to get funding for his project. He tried out a website called Kickstarter, which is a site that allows people to post projects and dreams which then allows for the public to fund the ones they like. Hunter set a goal of $1,000 and ended up getting $1,292 which was more than enough for the materials and boat to take Hunter out.

Hunter went out to the keys to the open water two times and drew over 200 drawings while snorkeling. He went along with his close friend, Reuben Pressman, who assisted him by filming Hunter for his documentary by using a GoPro.

The launch of the “Lets Draw Underwater” expo was on January 27, 2012 at Studio 620 in Downtown St. Petersburg. Hundreds of art appreciators gathered to see the inspiring documentary, ponder about the art, drink chocolate milk and most of all be happy.

The overwhelming emotion of happiness spread to every single human being that night at Studio 620 because we all witnessed someone write down a goal and worked to his full ability that he could. A dream was accomplished, and we had the honor of seeing it documented and shared.

Hunter received several hugs, congratulations, visits from old friends and teachers because of his talents, love, dedication, uniqueness and most of all, because of him. People left the night with a smile, inspiration or a piece of art. There was something special about that night, something supernatural than any other expo. This was the birth of Hunter Payne in St. Petersburg, and we can’t wait to see what other dreams he will accomplish.

Hunter made Studio 620 into a feel that we were walking around underwater. The paintings were hung from the walls on fishing hooks. The walls were painted blue and had waves on top and there was actual sand pushed along the sides of the wall to give it a realistic effect and vibe.

I really enjoyed taking pictures at the event. The lighting was really neat and I don’t like using flash that much. I sacrifice the flash so I can get more colors to work with. These shots have a pretty low f-stop and about a 1/10 shutter speed for most of them. There is still a lot more that I need to learn in shooting photography at night or low lighting, so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

The walls painted blue, sand pushed on the sides and paintings hunt by fishing hooks.

Free stickers and prints for sale.

Hunter explaining a little bit about the trip before the screening of his documentary.

People coming in and out throughout the night to see the art.

To see the documentary and the drawings, please read and see all about it here at HunterMadeIt.

Mighty Mongo Bass

Alex Card, bassist and lead singer of St. Petersburg band, Mighty Mongo. Kickin back and relaxing at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg on a sunny beautiful day. We love watching and having Mighty Mongo perform anywhere in the Tampa Bay area. Be sure to like their facebook page here!

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