Tips for Photographing Sporting Events

I have learned a lot in the past year working at The Daily Tar Heel, so I thought I would share some tips that my editors gave me, as well as some things I’ve picked up along the way!

Always shoot on manual. Before I started at The Daily Tar Heel, I had never used manual on a camera. I had always shot on auto, maybe changing a few of the settings around. But I soon learned that when shooting manual, all you need to know are three settings: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. I found an article here that explains it pretty well.

Ditch the camera strap. When the photographer I was shadowing at my first women’s basketball game told me to take off the camera strap, I thought he was insane. I was pretty sure I was going to drop my camera on my face, or even worse, on the court. But, after the game was over, I realized that he was right. Shooting sports is fast-paced and you have to be ready to crouch into uncomfortable positions to get a good angle on command. If the camera strap is on, you’ll end up getting caught up in it, losing mobility, and may even end up with half a camera strap blocking your shot. Ditch it.

Wear comfortable shoes with a wide range of mobility. While the men’s tennis team may be wildly attractive, and you may want to look your best in hopes of getting their mother’s phone number to send her pictures you take of her conveniently-single son, it is way more important to wear clothes and shoes that can move around with you. To get the best shots, you’ll sometimes have to contort your body in the most unnatural positions, or lunge to the left to get the net out of your shot. If you sit in one place the whole game, don’t expect to have interesting shots. Move around to capture many different angles, lighting, and perspectives.

Sports require a high shutter speed. To anyone who is working for a school newspaper like me, your school newspaper most likely has equipment you can borrow. Because I had my own camera, I often preferred to use that. However, shooting sports requires really high shutter speeds – otherwise you end up with blurs instead of bodies! So, rather than attempting to use your own lenses (which are probably great for normal shooting), switch your normal lens out for your photo desk’s huge lens with a high shutter speed. It’ll pay off in your photos.

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Is Butter a Carb?

I was recently diagnosed with Celiac disease. What does that mean? The way I understand it is that every time I eat gluten, the tiny hairs in my small intense that help to digest and absorb nutrients aren’t able to do their job. Over time, this can be damaging and cause me to not absorb the nutrients I need. It also means that I have an intolerance to lactose because the small intestine can’t produce enough of the enzyme necessary to break down the lactose.

Did I lose you yet? Basically, this means no gluten or dairy products.

Now, those are two pretty huge food groups in American diets. But what the heck even is gluten?? Besides your obvious bread, bagels, and pasta, gluten is also in sauces, and hidden in things like soy sauce and salad dressing. Add “no dairy” on top of that and a lot of the gluten free substitutes are out. Try making a cake without gluten or dairy! Tricky, but definitely not impossible.

… which leads me to the point of this post. I had the choice to see this as a disastrous lifestyle change that would alter my interactions with friends and family and ruin my love of food. Many people told me they were “so sorry” for me, and the way the doctor described it – as a “lifelong disease that has no cure and no treatment besides a gluten free diet” – sounded pretty terrifying. However, I don’t see it as a bad thing. At all. Besides the times where I’ve felt sick from some gluten I accidentally ate, I have really enjoyed finding new foods that I had never tried and creating substitutes for my old favorites. My options at meal times are healthier because a lot of processed foods are out, leaving me with fresh veggies, fruit, meat, seafood, and nuts. When you are really hungry, staring at a salad bar, knowing that this is the only thing that you can eat for the next 3-5 hours, you’ll pick all of the veggies – even the ones you have never tried before. And when you do that, you discover just how flavorful and delicious they can be! You learn to appreciate foods the way they are naturally, instead of how they taste when they are processed or disguised by a sauce. If anything, having Celiac has made me appreciate food more.

Some foods that I have been loving: popped edamame chips, Chex Gluten Free Granola mix, Lara Bars (they taste like dessert but they are made of dates + a few other ingredients), Chipotle burrito bowls (my nutritionist pointed to this meal on my list and told me it was perfect; she was pretty shocked when I told her it was from Chipotle), gluten free Udi’s bread toasted with gluten free sausage on top (YUM), and lactaid milk (it tastes like milk with a little sugar added to it – aka amazing).

I have also been very lucky to have close friends with Celiac disease who have been coping with it for longer than me and have been able to show me the ropes. Shout out to Rachel, Emili, and Mallory! My mom has of course been amazing, showering me with gluten free foods left and right. Judging from her grocery store bills, you would think she was the Celiac! My dad has fallen in love with my gluten free dairy free chocolate cookies – so he has proven to be competition for my gluten free snacks (kidding). My coworker, Kristen, recommended two books: Practical Paleo and Against All Grain. I haven’t had time to try the recipes yet, but they look delicious and the books both have a lot of helpful information about gluten and nutrition as well. A family friend, Lauren, has also given me lots of advice on her favorite gluten free products (via my mom). My other friends and family have been fantastic by looking out for me when we go out to eat (is butter gluten?? jk, you guys have been great) and making me feel better about the fact that I now have to be the “high maintenance friend” at restaurants. I know that all of the support I have had is the reason I have been so positive about this change, so I am very thankful for that.

My one piece of advice: if you are feeling like Celiac is something you could have, don’t simply “try” cutting out gluten. You can actually develop an intolerance that way. Instead, keep eating as normal and ask your doctor. It isn’t every doctor’s first guess because the symptoms can vary, but there is a simple test they can do. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, and a great resource for the technical details is the Mayo Clinic.

Lessons from a Start-Up

I had the amazing opportunity to create a non-profit organization with my classmates in a First Year Seminar class my freshman year at UNC. Even though I am less involved in the organization now than when we began, I think about it all the time. Because I was by no means an expert at start-ups, I had a lot to learn, so I thought I would share some of my take-aways from the experience in the form of a listicle.

  1. Passion is what drives start-ups. It doesn’t matter how “good” your idea is, or how much people “should” care about your cause. Whether it is a non-profit organization or a corporate start-up, in order for it to succeed, you have to be passionate about it. You have to believe in it, and feel the drive that makes you want others to believe in it too. When the organization is first born, everyone will be full of energy and pumped up about it. However, the passion you have is the fuel that you need to sustain that energy past the “honeymoon phase,” if you will.
  2. Build a strong leadership team assigned to specific tasks. Delegating tasks is hard, especially in a start-up where there may be only a few people working together who all want to do a little bit of everything. However, making sure that each person is responsible solely for a few things will ensure that those things get done. No one has to stay confined in their one role, but they can be the one to take charge of their few projects at the least. This ensures that everything gets done, and keeps the start-up from dying because of forgetting to keep up with the maintenance.
  3. Make sure everyone knows the “why.” What makes start-ups so inspiring is that someone identified a problem and had a passion for developing a solution. When new members join your team, make sure they know the full story – or at least the key details. That may entail giving them a 30 minute history lesson on how the problem and solution came about, or it may mean taking a quick road trip to visit the place where the action happened. As the start-up grows, you will probably want to develop some sort of on-boarding education program. I believe that this is what will keep the original mission alive, regardless of how leadership/employees/products/goals change over time.
  4. Have regular organization-wide meetings. Pick a time to have everyone get together to discuss the projects they are working on, their progress, and any other general updates. For a start-up business that has an office, this may mean meeting once on Mondays and once on Fridays to keep everyone on the same page week-by-week. For an on-campus college start-up, this could mean meeting once every two weeks via Google Hangout. This will help hold everyone accountable, encourage collaboration, and keep everyone in the know.

I’d love to hear what others have learned from their start-up experiences, so please comment below!