Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Where in the world should Shaminder San Diego go?

So it dawned on me last night while I was sitting in the car before going into a friends home to crash on yet another couch, pretty soon I'm going to get very busy.

As I mentioned, I'm in for a Hearst Fellowship, which begins in mid-August. What I haven't mentioned yet is that I'm also a Poynter Fellow this summer (again, braggers aren't doers, blame my mom's upraising for not letting me talk about it sooner, I've known since January), which ends in mid July.

So... looking at the calender I have one free month in between these to amazing opportunities and I was thinking I haven't traveled much in my life.

We never took vacations when I was younger, actually come to think of it, I've never taken a vacation to this day. I hadn't really ever been outside of California or lived anywhere for an extended period. Heck, my first ride on an airplane wasn't until last June when Diana and I flew to Portland for the NPPA Summit workshops.

Point is, I haven't really seen much of this world, which is something I've always wanted to do since I was a child.

I remember turning in assignments of all the far away places I wanted to go to as a child. Florida and Australia held some sort of sway over me for some reason. I imagine because they were so far away and different. Or many I just really wanted to see Disney World and Kangaroos... iono. At the same time I always dreamed of one day taking a sailboat around the world and seeing everything (I kind of still have that dream, only now I have a crew on the sailboat who know what they're doing)

So today I'm thinking... I have a free month... who knows when I'll have a month off again to travel... pretty soon I'll be working and won't have the chance again... I've always wanted to travel... where would/should I go for a month... where?

So... I'm opening it up for suggestions... where in the world should I go? What's a good place to spend a month and experience something different? Where would you go if you were in my shoes (size 10 1/2 so they might be a little loose on you laddies)?

Give me some ideas folks! I'm listening!

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I’m in

Dear friends, family, colleges, mentors, random SLR readers, exs past, present and future, hangers-ons and one Yorkshire named Bentley… I’ve got some big (ahem BIG!) news to share.

Either someone is playing an elaborate prank on me, or I just became the newest Hearst Fellowship Recipient.

I just got the call on Sunday from Kenn Altine, the Hearst recruiter who encouraged me to submit an application last fall, informing me I am one of the four selected for this year.

I was literally speechless.

I think I managed to say, “are you kidding?” before I just went silent, unable to find any more words.

Is this my big break? It sure feels like it. I’m still not sure what to make of it all.

Over the last couple days I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I got into photojournalism in the first place, mostly because I kept getting asked that during the interviews. And now again, in the wake of this news, I’m thinking a lot about how random life can be.

I would not be a Hearst fellow if I hadn’t meet Kenn last summer as an AAJA Voices student project staffer. He would never have sent me an application if I had decided to head up to my room for a nap after my hectic week with no sleep, instead of downstairs to the job fair where I was only able to catch the last half hour of it.

I would not have chosen to make him one of the four recruiters I had spoken to, had I not had been a subscriber of The San Francisco Chronicle. We probably wouldn’t have had such a pleasant conversation if I hadn’t known that paper or the people that worked there so well or the stories of those people.

I would never have been at the AAJA summer convention if I hadn’t been accepted into the student projects and I never would have applied for the project had I not met Joyce Lin at the AEJMC convention the prior year, where she told me all about the summer ‘06 convention she’d just come back from.

And I never would have been at the AEJMC convention had I not been recommended for it by then current photojournalism instructor Thomas Rodgers, who would not have thought of me had I not earned his endorsement when I was photo editor and he was our adviser on the Spartan Daily.

And I would never have taken on the task of photo editor had the prior photojournalism instructor, my college PJ teacher, Dennis Dunleavly, not encouraged me to.

And… I can keep going further and further back… but my point is, as I think about these things now, it’s funny how one little choice can have a ripple effect on everything else you ever do.

What if… so many what ifs.

And today again, as I take down this new path, I’m thinking a lot about the coulda, shoulda, woulda and what ifs. I think that’s why I loved watching the “Back to the Future” movies so much as a kid (the seemed to always be on NBC in the late 80s and early 90s), the idea of how one thing can change everything fascinated me then and continues to today.

Life is an adventure, you only go around once, live for today. Life's always been more interesting without a road map.

I’m in.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Houston Highjinx

Another one from the file "I haven't mentioned it because it felt like bragging," a few months ago I got a call informing me I was a finalist for the Hearst Fellowship. There are 12 of us now and they'll soon narrow us down to the final four selected (which kinda sucks! I've meet some really down-to-earth and smart people). They also tell me I'm the only photographer to make the finals and one of the few ever in the history of the program.

On Tuesday I was flown out to Houston for interviews at the Houston Chronicle. Today was the first day of the two-day process and part of my morning consisted of going out to shoot an assignment and produce at least two features and a short video for the web.

I ended up shooting the dedication of the new Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, which proved to be very... "interesting" (more about that at a later date).

Click on the above screen shoot of one of my three pictures that was featured in the story story slideshow (Smiley, the photog assigned to it is an awesome shooter- with an awesome name!- check him out) and also in the Editor's Pics slideshow (Steve Gonzales is a pretty nice guy).

To see my other pics from the shoot:

Go to:

Scroll down to "photo galleries"

Click on "Today in Photos"


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