Great Talent at the NSC 09

March 22, 2009 lead

_mg_7237I spent this past Friday night and Saturday in McLean, VA at the NPPA Northern Short Course. Even though I have never understood the naming conventions of the NPPA courses – Flying Short Course,  Driving Short Course, Walking Long Course (ok, I made the last one up), they always attract the nation’s top shooters to talk about our craft. Television Coordinator, Bob Davis allowed me to stop by and watch a few speakers.

Friday night included Greg Johnson of WFAA, a multiple AWARD winner, and NPPA Editor of the Year. He shared some of his work and moderated a discussion of editing philosophies. That discussion went right into tape critiques from some Quinnipiac University students who came in to learn from some of the best.

I learn a ton from critiquing other tapes. I get more out of looking at other tapes, than having people look at my own. The experience of watching these student tapes made me realize that is not fulfilling it’s training mission as it should. Stay tuned for more details on how we can change that.

I was only able to catch about half of the speakers on Saturday. I was disappointed to have missed Deborah Potter of in the morning and Stan Heist and Doug Legore in the afternoon.  I did get the honor of meeting the 2 time b-roller of the YEAR, Darren Durlach of WBFF in Baltimore, MD. Darren’s work is truly inspiring, but his humble demeanor and passion for his work make him one-of-a-kind. Apple‘s Joe Torrelli presented workflow ideas for feeding video in from the field, without a sat truck – to many “ahhs” and “ohhs” from the back of the room. Finally, John Gross told the motivating story of how he followed his dream to become a TV photographer.

I was a little disappointed to see little progress in the merging of disciplines. It seems that a second video track is developing for still-photographers moving to video, rather than letting them learn from talented and experienced TV news photogs. There continues to be the total separation of still and TV that has haunted NPPA for a long time. With the changes in the economy and the industry, this is an important evolution to be made.

It was a great experience to meet all of these great photojournalists and watch some exceptional examples of our craft. My hats off to the coordinators of this years event.  Thanks for letting me participate. I hope to see more people in Cherry Hill, NJ for next year’s Northern Short Course.


  1. focusthis says:

    Thanks so much for the synopsis. As short as your post was, it did mention a couple points I agree with.

    It seems to me B-roll doesn’t have as many “How To” questions and answers as it used to. No numbers to back that up; just my impression. Are we all the same photogs from years ago? Have we been there and in fact done all that? I suppose that could be an old blood answer, but I see so many new members (great!).

    I see a duplicity in my market between still photogs and TV. Even though more camcorders are sprouting legs and following the newspaper *ahem* on-line media content producers. That’s not a stab at those professionals. They are busier than ever. Right now, it seems I still have a slight advantage that my 35 pounds of gear can produce an image that acceptable enough as a freeze frame for our website. I still only have one piece of imaging gear, and not juggle more than one camera. I accept them and give them as much professional courtesy as the situation allows. No bias against the typed-word guys. However, I don’t see the same kind of gear talk as any two TV photogs are guaranteed to get into. I’m especially bewildered because we have so much to teach them about video. I will certainly need pointers how to FTP something in my near future.

  2. […] Potter of had her trusty little camera at last month’s Northern Short Course in McLean, VA, and caught up with NPPA and AWARD winner Darren […]

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