Firsts and -ests

I’ve undoubtedly broken a record for -est’s in a week.

My first assignment was to visit the tallest public bridge observatory and then I went to the biggest whirlpool in the western hemisphere. All this just days after the longest road trip I’ve ever taken to the farthest I’ve ever lived from home.

But my first few days as an intern for The Ellsworth American have been great and the area is gorgeous. I’ll be spending almost all of my time producing content for The American’s special summer section, Out & About, which means I’ll be reporting, writing and photographing all of my assignments. There’s a lot of work to be done and I’m excited to see what this summer brings.

Did I mention that I’m my own photographer now? I’ve had virtually no experience with photography, but here are a few of my shots from my first week:

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So far, the thing I’ve struggled with the most has been juggling everything at once, on the micro and the macro levels.

The micro: Working on more than one story at the same time is nothing new — thanks to Liz Brixey busting my chops — but being my own photographer and first editor while reporting is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. Even at the most basic level, I don’t know when to switch from reporter to photographer when I’m out on an assignment (though I’m quickly learning there shouldn’t be a switch, and that’s something I just have to become more comfortable with).

The macro: I’m lost in a big, new state spending every minute of every day learning about where I am now. I don’t know where the roads go or what towns they cut through. I don’t even know which way is north half the time, let alone the differences between a schooner and a dory (those are types of boats, Midwestern folks).

But in the end, that learning phase is the whole point I came out here. It’s not easy, but if it were, this wouldn’t be any fun.

Learning the balance is taking — and will continue to take — some getting used to, but it should get easier soon. On Sunday, my friend and former Missourian colleague Abby Eisenberg joins me here at The American after a spring semester stint in Ireland.

Then we’ve got a jam-packed few weeks to fill the July special section of Out & About. I hope to keep writing about it and posting the pictures I take right here on the blog and on Twitter at @zach_murdock.

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2 thoughts on “Firsts and -ests

  1. So I’m certainly not a person to get photography advice from, but I have learned two things about taking pictures: get people in the picture whenever possible, and try to be at an angle where you can see their eyes. Other than the rule of thirds and not cutting off limbs/heads, that’s the extend of my photography “expertise.”

    Good luck in Maine! You’ll be accustomed to the city before you know it.

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