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    Digital Asset Management is a phrase that always seems to evoke the emotion of its acronym.  Whether at a large university or a small community college, we are all challenged with the daunting task of organizing our large photo collections and sharing them with those who need access to them. Mike Ekern, of the University of St. Thomas, had the great idea to create an ongoing series of reviews of the Digital Asset Management systems that our members use. Hopefully this proves to be a useful resource to the UPAA membership who are struggling to create their own management system. To start things off, Ken Bennett reviews WebDAM:

    We made the transition to digital imaging in late 2000, after borrowing a digital camera from Canon to cover the Presidential Debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush. That experience led me to develop a workflow that incorporated a digital asset management system -- starting with a single-user copy of Canto Cumulus. Within a couple of years we installed the Cumulus Workgroup Client/Server application, providing client access to staff in Creative Services and the News Service.

    Cumulus is an excellent solution, but it is challenging for a solo photographer to administer in a Unix environment. When I was directed to provide a web-accessible solution for catalogs to be shared by various end users, I started looking at other DAM applications.

  • I shot my first behind the scenes video two years ago. It was of our poster shoot with the Women's Softball Team that we shot as a test of the video features for my review of the Canon 5D MKii. While it is painful to look back at it now, (I really do know how to use a mic) it opened the door to a whole new way of finding clients. Few people ever saw the video, but it convinced me of the power of these new HDSLRs to shoot stunning video with shallow depth of field in almost no light. Since then, behind the scenes (or BTS) videos have been a key part of BYU Photo's marketing strategy here at the University.

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    Bryce Canyon - Photo by Mark A. Philbrick/BYU

    50 Years and Still Looking Good

    BYU is excited to host the UPAA’s 50th Annual Technical Symposium. The UPAA has aided dedicated university photographers in the perfection of their craft for the past 50 years. Gone are the trusty old 4x5 Speed Graphics, replaced by zillion pixel chips. Gone are the Dektol stained fingers, only to be replaced by hand cramps from clicking on your mouse. Gone are the hours spent in a red light darkroom replaced by hours and hours staring at a computer screen. Gone are the good old days replaced by the great new days.

    This year’s Symposium will remind us of the past while we gain great knowledge and inspiration to lead us into the future. We are planning an outstanding selection of informative and productive lectures, hands on instruction and face-to-face exchanges of experienced insight. We will feed your spirit with good food, great friends, and awe-inspiring landscapes.

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    Michigan State University chemical engineering and materials science and environmental studies senior Gabrielle Kleber gained a grant from the international Circumnavigator's Club and studied the global view of marine debris and ocean pollution. Here she meets with local residents after collecting trash on the shore at Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Photo by Kurt Stepnitz/Michigan State University

    A few years ago, one of our student employees asked Mark a simple question: "What is your favorite thing to photograph?" I thought for sure that he would say Football or Dance or Travel, but without even thinking about it, he simply said "People". He went on to explain that meeting so many different people from all walks of life and finding out their story is what makes his job so interesting.

    When all is said and done, it is the students, faculty, staff, alumni and yes, even the staff photographers that breath life into a Institution. Without these people, all you have is a bunch of empty buildings. That is why I love the ongoing "Spartan Sagas" project that is being created by Kurt Stepnitz at Mighigan State University. Their focus is on the people that make MSU great. If you haven't seen it yet, do your due diligence and jump over to:

    I was very interested in finding out the impetus behind "Spartan Stories" as well as their plan to tackle such a large project. My Q and A session with Kurt follows below:

    Q: How did this project come about?

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    "Every October I walk the thin line between suicide and homicide."

    - Chris Radcliffe, Eastern Kentucky University

    When I read this on the listserve I immediately thought two things: First of all, Chris gets my vote for quote of the year. Secondly, I know exactly how he feels. Homecoming is a shared frustration that every University Photographer must deal with. There is no vacation during homecoming, no colds; it is all hands on deck and shoot till you drop. The University packs in a months worth of events into a few days and it always seems like there are so many great things to shoot during homecoming week, but I'm always stuck shooting a banquet while they are happening. I thought it would be interesting to see what other UPAA members did during their homecoming, so here is a quick roundup. Just click on the photo for the jump, and enjoy our ode to those who walk the line:

    Baylor Homecoming 2010 - by Robbie Rogers, Matthew Minnard, Sara Bennett, Shanna Taylor and Felicia Wong

    University of Idaho Homecoming - by Joe Pallen, Kelly Weaver and Scott Riener/University of Idaho

    Homecoming Parade - by Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison

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    Homecoming Parade - Photo by Jeff Miller/University of Wisconsin-Madison

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    Each year the UPAA Board of Directors meets to discuss and plan for the upcoming year. This year we met in Cookeville, TN at Tennessee Tech, home of Dean Carothers. The Board communicates throughout the year via email and phone but we have found it necessary to hold a daylong meeting where we can meet face-to-face. These meetings have proved to be enormously beneficial.

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    After a long meeting the board left TTU for dinner.

    While October is undoubtedly one of busiest months, all of the board members found time to get away to work on several key issues facing the organization, chief among these are, Web site redesign, 50th Symposium, and election of new officers. Chair of the 50th anniversary committee, Jim Dusen, presented ideas on the festivities and a potential new award for excellence in university photography. Mark Philbrick, 50th Symposium host, walked us through the schedule and debuted a new Nikon/Canon spot for the Blog. Continue to check in for new postings.

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    L to R - Jim Dusen, Mark Carriveau, Michael Aikens (web designer), Nick Romanenko, Martin Vloet, and Jay Ferchaud. Photo by Bill Bitzinger

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    Mike Ekern at the University of St. Thomas recently shot a multimedia piece on one of their graduates who just happens to be a professional strongman. He shot stills and video for the print and online editions of their alumni magazine. Something that stood out to me was the quality of the ambient audio while the subject was working out. It went a long way in creating an atmosphere for the piece. While I thought he did a great job of balancing the two mediums, it sure doesn't hurt to get a shout out from Umagazinology. Check out the video below, or better yet, jump on over to St. Thomas Magazine and read Feats of Strength.

    There were a lot of questions I wanted to ask Mike about this project, so I thought a little Q and A might be in order:

    Q: How did this project come about?

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    Last year I was blown away by Baylor Photography's time lapse of their 2009 Homecoming. UPAA Members Robbie Rogers and Matthew Minard wanted to do something special to commemorate Baylor's 100th Anniversary of Homecoming, so they spent three days shooting the events traditionally and with a time lapse setup and then cut together this amazing piece:

    Homecoming 2009 from Baylor Photography on Vimeo.

    The boys at Baylor are at it again. This time they wanted to find a new and different way to cover the annual Move-In Day, which is an annual event where hundreds of volunteers help move several thousand new students into their dorms. The theme they came up with was "Thinking Inside The Box" which meant that they would do a time lapse from the perspective of a moving box:

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    Bachelor of Photography Graduate and QCA alumni Johannes Laumer with one of his experimental works made up of water, light and sound. Photo by Chris Stacey/Griffith University

    The UPAA Monthly Image Competition is off and running for the 2010-2011 year. It looks like we are going to have another incredible year of top notch competition. Check out the winners from the summer competition here.