Tag Archives: university of massachusetts

Photos of the Days

May 27, 2010

My friend Katy made this awesome, delicious dessert.

 

May 28, 2010

UMass Amherst at 9 p.m.; should have used a tripod.

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On A Hill

May 23, 2010

Click to play a slideshow of On A Hill

I often walk this hill.

I imagine when my great grandparents and my grandmother and her siblings finally settled at the foot of this immense mound, they had already looked up at its greatness for several years.

I imagine them, maybe, walking about the hill, maybe, taking a break from farming the land. And, really, I can only imagine them looking over the valley and seeing woods covering Sunderland, Amherst, Hadley, Northampton, Easthampton, and beyond, that little more exist.

Sun setting and rain a few miles away.

 

I imagine my mom riding her horse around this hill, young like me. That’s what I imagine her doing here.

When I look from the top of this hill, I see the farm, still in the family; my parents’ work hard for a life I’m not sure I will take on.

I see the University of Massachusetts, treetops, crevasses where there are major roads, and mountains I believe exist in the works of Erastis sailsburyfield.

So many times I have walked up this hill – with neighbors, family, friends, horses, dogs, boyfriends, Sean.

Mostly, I feel, it’s the one thing here that isn’t stale.

Clover.

When I was young, a real child, and the hill was covered in snow, just so the grass couldn’t poke through, I would walk alone making footprints with intensions, walking backwards.

If the snow melted in the sun and hardened into a half inch of crust at night, we would all scurry our way up the hill, and slide down, and dive off whatever our vehicle was before hitting pickers at the bottom.

When the snow was light, we would hitch up the horse to the sleigh and ride up and around on sunny days.

When there was no snow, no mud from the spring thaw, and the grass was short, we’d ride the horses around there too. I think my earliest memories of being on the hill is of my parents shifting me on and off the front of the saddle; one of them always holding me around my tummy.

That might have been before they rented the field out, but I don’t really know.

One renter planted cow corn. The neighbors and I would run through the isles of tall stalks, getting whipped by long fuzzed leaves.

Click to play a slideshow of On A Hill.

Later on, we got a new renter, who does hay. It was always fun to climb the gold bails, to try and push them around. We were all too weak and young. I’m pretty sure we all loved the smell, of the dried grass warming in the sun. The dust would tickle our noses.

Before we were of age, we learned how to drive out there. Before grandma died, when I was practicing how to drive, we put her in the car too. She liked going for rides. She told me to put the pedal to the metal, of course I didn’t. I always think about that when I’m driving and I think of grandma.

I was real sad then, when I was in high school. I did a lot of imagining. I would always imagine romantic affairs up there. Who wouldn’t want to be up the hill, seeing everywhere, so far, with someone you love who loves you back? But I was mostly alone then.

So, sometimes I would take the dog up there – just the two of us. She was really my mom’s dog, and I could never have loved her as much, but it made me happy to see the dog prancing through grass three feet high or snow three feet deep. Then we’d have to pick the tics off her, or melt away the beads of snow caught in her paws. Once she bit a porcupine up there and it took days to get the quills out. That was a long night.

Fallen and dried.

Mostly we go up there at night anyways, I mean, when the sun is setting, at the end of the day. Sometimes, we all would walk up there and see UMass lit up at night. It was even easier to see the stars, the Milky Way, the moon.

Today, I walked up there with my camera. It’s a good camera. I can take some pretty good photos. The grass was mixed in with clover. The hill is passed spring, so there is no mud and the anthills are underway. It’s not ready for hay, hasn’t even been planted. Actually, I don’t know if it will. But I have to walk carefully, like my parents would always tell me, not to tramp all over the clover and grass. So, I walked carefully, trying not to trample all over the hill. I took some pictures. And, really, what I thought this time is, man, it’s going to be hard to leave this, one day.

Click to play a slideshow of On A Hill

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Being extra prepared when things go wrong

Tis the graduation season, and about 4,200 University of Massachusetts undergraduates recieved their diplomas Saturday.

This entry was originally supposed to be about what happens behind the scenes and leading up to commencement day.

But, now, it’s about being prepared for the worst.

UVC-TV 19, UMass’ student-run TV station spends months preparing for the taping of the university’s undergraduate commencement.

Hauling equipment out of the station, into a truck, and to the football stadium.

 

The real meat of the operation begins a month or so before commencement when crew is finalized and the equipment is piled together and checked out for what is probably our most important shoot all year.

Preparation of the crew begins around two weeks before the ceremony when there are one or two meetings on what everyone should do. Someone has to remember the cash box for DVD sales. Someone has to set up equipment. Someone has to operate a camera. The list is never ending.

The camera that saved our lives.

 

The commencement shoot begins the day before commencement when a small portion of the video crew goes to set up and spool out hundreds of feet of video cable.

Back of the video monitor and switcher.

 

We spool out cables, tape them down, stand around and wait for an audio test, set up and wire a portable monitor and editing-on-the-fly system, turn cameras on and off, talk with special headsets, sweat in the sun, and go to bed early.

The audio setup before disaster.

 

The only technical difference about this year’s commencement compared to the last two years of commencement was that the university chose not to have a jumbotron and rather asked UVC-TV 19 to hook up a feed to the football stadium scoreboard. So we did. And it looked awesome.

The monitor unit was to direct and edit from.

 

The day of commencement began at 5 a.m. when all crew members telephoned each other a wake up call. We later met at the station at 6 a.m. By 6:10 a.m. we were at the stadium ready to go.

The crack of dawn.

 

Everything was looking good. Everything was going smoothly. Everyone was happy. It was sunny. The sky was blue. 

We were all happy and ready to go.

 

At 10 a.m. the graduating class and their professors and teachers were marching their way in. We hit record. The footage was up on the scoreboard.

When everything was on the scoreboard.

 

Then the power went out.

Everyone in the press tent suddenly panicked and scurried to find a new source of power or back up or something while the band still played and the happy graduates marched in.

The power-outage killed the portable monitor in which I, as the director, could see our three camera operator’s footage.

What was also killed was power for our recording unit. The digital file recording unit was powerless. The SVHS tape backup unit was powerless.

But what still had power was our field cameras.

I told my guys on camera to keep rolling. I couldn’t see any of the shots they were getting but having worked commencement two previous years, I knew exactly what to expect and what shots were important.

Soon, audio power was restored from some sort of alternative source. Audio had another source set up and ready to go. Let me put it this way – they have enough money to afford to have a back up. UVC – well, we are always looking for donations, but that’s another story. Anyways, commencement wasn’t ruined.

A power source wasn’t restored for UVC.

But it’s a good thing for camera batteries!

And it was even better that our camera operators were recording on a third backup with tape. And a fourth backup on compact flash cards.

Our recording was saved.

My assistant director got me a chair so I would stop pacing like a mad woman outside the press tent. 

I sat in the chair, watched commencement for the third year in row and directed my camera operators blindly.

I spoke into my headset, ‘Camera 1, slow zoom into the chancellor for a close-up. Camera 3 I need a wide shot of the stage, slow zoom out. Camera 2 we’re going to need some graduate reactions, they’re going to be clapping soon.’

We did this for an hour and a half, at times arguing over who had the best shot of the chancellor, even though no one could see what anyone had. But the beauty of having three cameras, is the alternative angles and shots, and the ability to change tapes and recording units at different times so not a moment of action was lost.

When the ceremony ended, it was a success. Everyone was thrilled we pulled it together despite losing power.

Our success was truly about having a backup – and several of those backups having backups because you never really know when the power will go out.

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Photos of the Days – Tech to Wilderness

As usually planned, here are my last few days of Photos of the Days, due to my only and inconvenient access to dial-up.

May 13, 2010

Greasy and greasy, yet so much fun.

 

May 14, 2010

This is the monitor and editing-on-the-fly unit we (UVC-TV 19) use for big field productions.

 

May 15, 2010

This is the morning of the UMass Commencement... at 5:55 a.m.

 

May 16, 2010

Old and dusty wilderness and hunting items.

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Photos of the Days

I realized I labeled the photo of the day for May 5, 2010 as May 6. So the picture of my cute kitten is actually for May 5. Here are my photos of the last few days – which I would upload sooner if it wasn’t for dial-up Internet that doesn’t allow me to upload photos, or even send emails these days.

May 6, 2010

 

Water droplet hanging off an orchid.

May 7, 2010

Spinning around at the Amherst fair.

May 8, 2010

 

Chocolate cake - well I guess it's really a tart.

May 9, 2010

Mom's beautiful and delicious bread.

May 10, 2010

Two male ducks. A macro lens would have made this photo more interesting, as I should keep distance from animals.

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Harvey Pekar

I attended a conversation with comic book writer Harvey Pekar yesterday evening.

Chatting with fans.

Pekar is best known for writing American Splendor an autobiographic series, which was adapted into a film called American Splendor where Pekar was played by Paul Giamatti

Pekar discussed how he got started and the Jewish graphic novel. And said he was writing a book about his thoughts on Israel, and expressed his disappoint with the state.

Pekar’s talk and conversation with Naomi Seidman was held at UMass Amherst and was sponsored by the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies.

Writing out autographs.

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FUSE Rally At UMass

FUSE – Fighting for Unity and Student Enrichment held a rally today on the steps of the UMass Student Union.

Photo of the day: Rally.

Leaflets at the rally state, “By Fall 2010, the UMass administration plans to put the four resource centers that presently serve ALANA students into one program called the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success (CMASS), to serve current and future ALANA students.” 

A bit small than most UMass rallies, but the spirit was there.

 

Native Americans Student Services is one of the services centers at risk to being watered down.

Don't move our cheese.

For more information on FUSE, one can email Umassfuse@googlegroups.com and visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/umassresourcecenters.

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