Sunday, November 1, 2009

EPJ_Multimedia Critique II

For Multimedia Critique II, I chose PAPARAZZI by Jessica Dimmock

The content of this project is intriguing, and its presentation exhibits “the ghoulish fascination.” Nonetheless, the creator appears to have used multimedia simply because it is available. This project has a potential for a good multimedia work, but the lack of journalistic integrity is a problem.

A paragraph captions what the project is about, but the creator leaves basic 5Ws (who, what, where, when, why) vague. It is possible that the creator could not be specific about those fundamental pieces of information for some reason.

The project does not have an overarching story line. Instead, several video clips are put together into one piece, which is not necessarily a story. There are gaps between the scenes. It is difficult to figure out how those scenes are related to one another. In short, a story, if any, does not flow because of fragmentation.

In the first scene, a guy wearing green T-shirts says something like “he’ll get xxxx the shots.” It is reasonable to assume that this “he” is the main character. But there is not a single character the creator puts an emphasis on. The ending is terrible. A guy on a car curses, and the car just careens onto the highway. It is difficult to see a conclusion from this ending.

The passage of time is confusing.

Overall, the way the project is made appears to be casual.
The user has control of the project. The project starts when the user clicks the thumbnail. The loading speed is good at least on my computer. The user can easily play the project forward or backward by a slide bar or a button. Volume control is nice to be there. Navigation is easy.

The project is loaded on a new pop-up window as the user clicks the thumbnail. This is fine, but when the user clicks another project on the menu, the window disappears behind the menu page. This operation is not user-friendly, and I would change it.
The layout, color scheme and overall presentation fit with the theme of the project and with the overall site. There is nothing problematic.

The overall presentation of the project is good. The layout and color scheme are functional. The user has control of the project. What makes this project less successful is, however, the lack of journalistic integrity. When a multimedia project is not built on the fundamentals of journalism, it becomes an example demonstrating the abuse of multimedia.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

EPJ_Multimedia Critique I

For Multimedia Critique I, I chose The Letter From Iwo Jima by Erik Olsen and Lizette Alvarez. The content of the project is poignant, which is effectively conveyed by multimedia.

The content of the project is appropriate for the multimedia. Voice over narrative, interviews, video clips, historical documents (including film clips), still images, and background sound are effectively interwoven for telling this poignant story. The integrity of this project is so high that the application of multimedia technology is a conscious choice.

Interactivity is fair enough. The buttons to forward or pause the project works just fine. A moving slide bar is easy to use, and it works. Interactivity is very minimal, but those functions are enough. An advertisement, which starts automatically before the project, is annoying, but that is inevitable. If there is a button to skip the ad, that would be better.

Navigation is simple and clear. There do not seem to be any confusing or unclear navigation buttons, bars, and titles.

Layout, color scheme and overall presentation do not interfere with the theme of the project. Middle gray background and white texts do not distract an audience.
Technically speaking, the project is built professionally. Vide clips, still images, and audio are shot or recorded with great care. Voice over narrative has a nice pacing, which makes it easy to follow the storyline. In addition, relevant video clips or still images correspond to the narrative. The content of interview is profound, which adds meaning to the whole story.

A typical length of multimedia project tends to be between 2 to 3 minutes. If a project exceeds this range, it is considered to be too long. In spite of its 8-minute length, The Letter from Iwo Jima never seems to be long enough. Nevertheless, I would change the length of the project. There are unnecessary parts that can be cut out without changing the content of the project.

An ethical concern is the use of a historical (or old) image that corresponds to the content of narrative. For example, voice over narrative describes Franklin W. Hobbs’s duty as setting up telecommunication. An old photograph of a soldier setting it up corresponds to that narrative. An audience may get an impression that the soldier in the photo is Franklin Hobbs back then.

Overall, this multimedia project is professionally created with a great storyline, video clips, still images, audio, and background sound.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

EPJ_Fall'09/Photographer's Web Site

I have selected Julia Fullerton-Batten's web site primarily because its functionality and design are what I envision as a template idea for my online portfolio.

For online professional portfolio, this site is functional. With a single intriguing photograph on the front page, the photographer not only shows her work style, but also draws one’s attention. The photograph is inviting. Having seen her entire work, this photograph epitomizes a theme in the photographer’s work.

Photographs under several work categories are effective enough to show her originality, creativity, and credibility. Photographs under PERSONAL convey a type of work she pursues. In addition, an overarching theme permeates the entire work. Photographs under PROJECT and COMMISSIONS exhibit her credibility as a professional photographer. These two categories are useful marketing tools. AWARDS, PRESS, and EXHIBITION represent recognition given to the photographer, which substantiates her credibility.

Although the site is functional, it is somewhat inefficient. A number of photographs, awards, press releases, and exhibitions are excessive. For example, category PERSONAL is subdivided into three sections, and nearly 120 images are exhibited under this category. I believe that the photographer can maintain the site’s integrity with a less number of photographs. A list of awards and press releases is more than necessary. Every one of them could be a major award or recognition; nevertheless, the photographer can single out prominent ones.

Simplicity in site design and layout works well. The site’s opening page contains an eye-catching image with a list of essential navigations. Personally, I don’t mind texts overlapping the image. I would make title (the photographer’s name) bigger and place it outside of the front image. In addition, I would make navigations a bit bigger. Dark (or middle) gray background works just fine.

Slide show is user-friendly. Each image gets uploaded fast and is big enough for viewing. The placement of the two arrows to flip images is reasonable, and the distance between next and back arrows is close enough. Placing page number between the arrows is effective. Up and down arrows to scroll thumbnails are user-friendly too. One click up or down goes to next group of photographs. I find this kind of scrolling easier to navigate thumbnails. Nevertheless, it should be unnecessary to click a thumbnail to view a larger image. I would add rollover. I personally don’t need auto-play for slide show, but adding such option could be useful for other viewers.

The list of navigations and the thumbnails are visible only when a pointer hovers a certain area. Thus a viewer is able to take a look through images on a clean background and navigate when necessary on a single page. This solution is better than creating another page (with clean background) for exhibiting images.

Except for excursiveness in a number of images as well as a list of awards, press releases, and exhibitions, the site is a functional and efficient online portfolio for exhibiting a type of work and skill set of a photographer. The site is simple in design and friendly in navigation, which prevents a viewer from being overwhelmed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

EPJ/Multimedia Project Proposal

Amish people are best known for their simple living, plain dress and resistance to the adoption of many modern conveniences. A story is about their spirituality and its effect on their way of life. A question I hope to find an insightful answer to is that how the Amish views modern life (the rest of most Americans live) that is facilitated by modern conveniences.

Multimedia allows better story telling. First, photography enables me for visual representation of what their life is like. Second, I am able to create a sense of presence – of actually being there – by creating a layer of ambient sounds. Third, a combination of images and ambient sounds provides a context to reflections of interviewees. Through interviews, I hope to gain insights into their views on modern life.

According to Adam Brooke (, Missouri’s Amish population has been among the fastest-growing nationwide. There are an estimated 5000 Amish in Missouri, with the largest settlements at Jamesport and others at Clark, Stanberry and Seymour. Although the Amish have been in the state since 1850 or earlier, the oldest existing settlement is Bowling Green with smaller groups near Mt. Vernon, Kirksville and Windsor, and new settlements appearing periodically.

Once embarking on the project, I hope to spend enough time with them for getting as comprehensible details as possible. Most of the Amish settlements are 3~4 hours away (by car) from Columbia. I select the settlement at Clark because its location is 30 minutes away.

A potential problem in this project is their refusal to cooperating. Nevertheless, I believe in the possibility of soliciting their understanding and ensuing cooperation through nonconfrontational approach.

Monday, September 21, 2009

EPJ_web site critique

Content on this site is clear. It is slide show. The size of an image is large enough to see details while each it gets uploaded without substantial delay. The placement of each caption is reasonable, but it would aesthetically be better if the beginning of a caption was lined up with the top of an image. I wish the alignment of a caption is justified. Otherwise, its placement and text color works fine.

Interactivity of this site is minimal – changing pages by clicking arrows. It is a wise decision to make an audience flip pages instead of auto slide show. Since an audience has to read a caption, it is reasonable to let them flip pages. In addition, auto slide show makes an audience feel ‘controlled’. If it were my site, I would not include those links: ‘SIGN IN TO RECOMMEND’, ‘SIGN TO E-MAIL’, and ‘SHARE’. However, for newspapers like New York Times, those links can be important tools for making an audience interact. The placement of those links seems awkward. I am not convinced that they have to be below an image.

Navigation around the site is a bit confusing. It takes a while to figure out how to get back to the front page of NY times. ‘The New York Times’ and ‘U.S.’ are links, however, they are not obvious. At the last page of slide show, there is a link to get back to beginning. It is easy to recognize because it says, “Back to Beginning.”

Design on this site is simple yet effective. The subdued background is suitable for presenting images. My attention goes directly to the images because the background color is not disturbing. In addition, the background does not interfere with color images. The use of dark gray with white texts is easy on eyes. If the background were back, a combination of black and white would create high contrast, which is rather harsh on eyes. The design layout is appropriate for presenting slide show. Design for layout is simple yet elegant. The use of lines is effective for placing contents in place while preventing layout from becoming statically boxed.

The site is rather plain, but it is practical and operational. It may not be obvious, but the site reflects a design principle: less is more. With the use of subdued colors and simple lines, the site is in fact good.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Overall, the integrity of this story has been made possible with the use of good photographs and accompanying sounds (music and narratives).

Thursday, April 9, 2009


Bobo sat alone at the bar counter and occasionally had quiet conversations with his friends. Bobo was a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy. “You are from Japan?” Bobo said. “I have been to Japan.” During a mission, his ship stopped at Yokosuka U.S. Navy Base. “I remember going to a street in the heart of Yokosuka City where shops, restaurants, and bars were customized for U.S. personnel,” Bobo said. “I don’t remember the street’s name.” “People on the street were very friendly to us, “Bobo said. “I had fun time with local girls.” Bobo said, “One of the things I loved about Japan was its cleanliness and beauty.”

Fill/Balance Flash_3

Devil's Elbow, Missouri is one of the historic Route 66 (also known as ‘the Mother Road’) places in the Ozarks. The community started in 1870 and was named for a dangerous bend in the Big Piney River. Lumberjacks would float logs down the river and they would frequently jam at this bend. There was a large boulder in the river at this point that some lumberjacks swore was put there by the devil.

One of the surviving attractions in Devil’s Elbow is the historic Elbow Inn. The inn started in the 1930s and originally names as Munger Moss Sandwich Shop. The shop was known for its barbecue recipe.

After the popularity of the Mother Road declined due to a nationwide development of Interstate Highway System, Devil’s Elbow Inn has become a bar, full of Route 66 memorabilia, where Route 66 enthusiasts, bikers, and local people hang out for a fun time.

A uniqueness of the Devil’s Elbow is that innumerable pieces of bras are hanging on the ceiling. “Those pieces of bras have accumulated since women started to give away their bras during the summer,” Kris said. “I know a lot about a history of Devil’s Elbow, but I don’t know how the custom started.”

Fill/Balance Flash_2

On April 4Th, 2009, David and Donnie were fishing red horse at Big Piney River near a small town of Devil’s Elbow in Missouri. “We quiet often fish here,” David said. “I come here along with my brother every time he goes for fishing.” As to why he liked to fish, “I don't’ know,” David said. “I just fish.” David has been unemployed since he lost his job at pallet place. “The current U.S. economy is really bad, “ David said. “Local economy of my town is bad too.” As to why he lost the job, “I quite it,” David said. “I don’t why…”

What David is holding in the photo is bass.

Fill/Balance Flash_1

For the first take, I drove out to a small town called, Devil’s Elbow. It was located approximately 12 miles from the city of Rolla in Missouri. The town is one of many historic towns that still embrace the Route 66 culture.

While driving through the Ozark Mountain, I found a river called, Big Piney River boasting natural beautify of the mountain region. Although there were still leafless trees and dead grass on the riverbank, I thought the environment would work well for the assignment.

People were almost scarce except drivers occasionally passed by. Luckily enough, I found two people fishing at the riverbank. Their names were Donnie (short-haired) and David (long-haired). They were brothers who would quite often fish red horse around the area.

As usual, a fisherman is a loaner. As I asked David for permission to photograph, he said, “YI don't mind, but I don’t talk.” I was interested in capturing the environment as beautiful as possible and people in it.

The available light changed slightly between the two takes. However, without fill flash, the subject in the second photo (the one below) would look as dark as the one in the first photo.

Spring Break

One of the places I went to during Spring Break was Sioux Falls in South Dakota. It was a freezing day up there. By the evening, the outside temperature was right around 32F. I was not impressed by the falls, Sioux Falls was unique in its own characteristics. At least, I added one state to a list of states I had been to. There are 22 states more to go.

I experimented with time exposure under a freezing temperature. Sometimes, my camera behaved erratically under the harsh weather. To my surprise, however, time exposure works well with digital camera. Noise is nearly free, but it should depend on a model of camera. Each image looks slightly soft. It is most likely because of lens diffraction. With smaller aperture such as f11 or F16, we can get a maximum depth of field, but a lens will lose the ability to resolve. Usually, a lens will yield maximum resolving power when the aperture is stopped down by 2 ~ 3 stops from its widest opening.

Color Correction

Mrs. Judy Weatherspoon has been working at SOFAS & MORE, custom-made furniture business for eighteen years. “The current U.S. economy has been hurting furniture business across the nation,” said Mrs. Weatherspoon “Our business has survived the downturn economy because of our local customers’ strong supports.”

Her unique last name comes from her second husband’s family name. Mr. Robert Weatherspoon is a Scottish-American. They have been married for thirty years. “I fell in love with him when my friend introduced me to him at a party,” said Mrs. Weatherspoon “He was a hillbilly with a mustache and a long hair.” “He was an exact type,” said Mrs. Weatherspoon. “One night at a party, he stumbled into me while we were dancing. He whispered ‘excuse me’ and kissed me." “I knew that he was the one,” said Mrs. Weatherspoon.

“You are the first one who dared to photograph me,” said Mrs. Weatherspoon. “I don’t look good on a picture.” “ I am old.”

Single Flash Bounced

Once we understand how camera and flash work, we can use sigle flash for a creative image.

As much I bounced single flash off the ceiling, this image was bounced from being graded.

So Be It...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Classmate Interview

What Darren ate as a birthday tradition at summer camp was ...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Here is my glass work. I used bright-field lighting.

The idea of using a creature (like fish) for still life has been inspired by a Japanese still-life photographer, Michiko Kon.

Her work is amazing.

You can check her work at the following link:

At last, I would like to thank Ivy for assistance.

Here is lighting diagram.

Text Color

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Classmate Portrait

Well, I should start posting...

Darren was patient enough to work with me for 90 minutes.

Thank you.