Live Tweet: Comedian Jaboukie Young-White

For my live tweeting assignment, I initially thought I was going to live tweet a concert from Rec Rocks, but due to certain circumstances I instead covered a comedy stand-up at the Union Gardens. The comedian was Jaboukie Young-White, a correspondent on the Daily Show and writer for Netflix series such as Big Mouth and American Vandal. Jaboukie performed at The Gardens last Wednesday April 17, to see the live tweets follow my Twitter: @AustinWiseman20

            I chose to take a journalistic approach for this event because I felt it would make more sense than a public relations approach because I am a third party and not directly tied to Jaboukie Young-White and his branding. That and the fact that I would like to be a journalist are what lead to my preferred approach.

            What I enjoyed about live tweeting Jaboukie’s stand-up was getting to see a famous comedian and feel like a part of it. Since I made the twitter account for the assignment, I did not have any interaction with my tweets but I felt like it was really good practice for something I will most likely have to do at some point in my career. One thing I did not like about live tweeting this event in particular was missing some of the jokes because I was preoccupied composing tweets.

            Something I learned from this assignment is to listen carefully when you are live tweeting events for names of important participants, such as openers or surprise guests. I was surprised by how naturally tweets come to your mind when you don’t focus on what to tweet, but you focus on what is happening and just tweet your thoughts and feelings as they happen. One thing I wish I would have done better for this event was get better pictures, but it was hard to move around The Gardens when it is full so I had to work with the angle I had.

            I worked as a sportswriter at the Branding Iron and we used to live tweet Basketball and Football games, and I imagine if I were to pursue a career as a writer for any news outlet I would be live tweeting certain events.

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Top Five Ski Areas in the American Rockies

The Rocky Mountains are the largest mountain range in the Western Hemisphere, and they contain some of the world’s most impressive terrain, especially for those who like to ski extreme terrain. But with so much to choose from, one can easily be overwhelmed by how much extreme skiing exists.

            As someone from the Rocky Mountains, however, I think there are five certain ski areas that all extreme skiers must visit.

            The Rocky Mountains span over eight states and contain hundreds of ski areas. My top five areas are shown in the interactive map below.

5. Loveland Ski Area, Colorado

            For skiers who don’t like to go to tourist-infested resorts, Loveland Ski Area is the perfect spot. Located on top of the Eisenhower Tunnel and the Continental Divide, Loveland is a local-targeted area with low prices and not a single condo or five-star restaurant in sight.

            “I’ve skied at Loveland for over 30 years,” life-long skier Dave Stevenson said. “I try to make it here at least once a year because it has some of the best terrain for how accessible it is. You can just go up lift 9 and take the RidgeCat to some of the most extreme skiing in North America.”

            Loveland has the second highest lift in North America, in terms of elevation, and over 1,800 acres of terrain, according to their website. If you are looking for wide-open bowls and large cliffs to jump off, Lift 9 at Loveland will amaze you.

4. Grand Targhee Ski Resort, Alta, Wyoming

            Located just west of the world famous Tetons, Grand Targhee Ski Resort has some of the steepest terrain in the Rocky Mountains and quite possibly the world. Aside from being terrifyingly steep, Grand Targhee might be the most scenic area ski area in the Rocky Mountains, with a beautiful view of the back side of the Grand Teton.

            “I’ve skied Targhee several times and every time I’m taken away by that view,” Wyoming native and life-long skier Brandon Wiseman said. “It’s just very nostalgic seeing that view that so few people have seen. It gives you a whole other perspective of some of the most famous mountains in the world.”

            Grand Targhee is also geographically located in a place that gets so many major storms for skiers looking for deep powder on a regular basis.

3. Teton Village, Jackson Hole, Wyoming

            Just over the Tetons is a resort that draws crowds from around the globe, Teton Village or The Village as it is commonly referred to is known around the world for its extreme terrain and iconic tram that takes from the bottom all the way to the top of the massive resort.

            Jackson Hole has birthed some of the greatest freeskiers in the world because of how extreme the terrain is at Teton Village. The downfall to Teton Village is that due its global fame it is very expensive to ski and very regularly crowded.

            “I moved here a year ago and have had the time of my life ever since,” lift operator Jimmy Allen said. “I love how much of the area has to offer. The crowds can get really bad around peak season but if you know where to go you can avoid them.”

            If you are looking to ski the most iconic spot in the Rocky Mountains, I highly recommend Teton Village.

2. Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana

            Three hours north of these two amazing ski resorts is another gem of the Rocky Mountains, Big Sky Resort. With a top elevation of 11,167 feet, Big Sky has a very fitting name. Much like Teton Village, Big Sky has a rather famous tram that takes skiers all the way to the top of Lone Peak, Big Sky’s highest point.

            “The first time I went up Lone Peak I was shitting my pants it was so steep,” Brandon Wiseman said. “It’s like something you would see in a TGR (Teton Gravity Reasearch) movie up there.”

            Big Sky has very extreme terrain that is fairly accessible. But it also has a lot more to offer than extremely steep faces and cliffs, there is a large portion of the mountain for less advanced skiers as well as a very well put together terrain park for those skiers looking to hit big jumps.

  1. Taos Ski Valley, Taos, New Mexico

            One of the last places people expect to find extreme skiing is in New Mexico, but alas tucked deep in the northern mountains is a ski area so extreme that there are warnings when you arrive. Described as a freeskiers’ heaven, Taos Ski Valley has more extreme terrain than any resort in the U.S.

            “I don’t ski Taos as much as I used to,” Dave Stevenson said.” It’s not too far of a drive from where I live, but the terrain is so over the top in places even I get nervous on it!”

            Dave has lived in Red River, New Mexico for over 25 years, just one valley away from Taos. He says he has stopped skiing Taos as frequently due to injury concern.

            According to their website, between five and 10 skiers die annually in accidents at Taos. The terrain at Taos is no laughing matter and beginners are highly discouraged from evening going on the mountain.

            If you are looking for a place in the Rocky Mountains that will make you push your limits, as most skiers do, then Taos is a must.

Summary

            There are so many incredible ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains, but there are several that stand out above the others. While every single one of these resorts listed is incredible, it should be noted that they have very dangerous terrain and should be skied with caution.

Tour Life: Noah Hammontree

Noah Hammontree is the drummer for local pop-punk band Not My Weekend. Not My Weekend recently finished their second tour of 2019.

This was not my first time interviewing someone with a recorder because as a sportswriter for the Branding Iron I used to use a recorder for every interview to make sure I was properly quoting athletes and staff. However, this was my first time doing a recorded interview with a close about a subject I am very interested in, so that was exciting for me to do.

In terms of editing the audio I did not struggle too much with the actual task of editing because I used GarageBand which is very user friendly. My biggest complaint from editing is just listening the same sentences, words and even syllables over and over again. There were definitely times I had to walk away from working on the project due to frustration. All in all, I did enjoy the process of editing and I’m glad I finally had to do something like this for a class I think this knowledge will directly lay over into a career.

            I wanted the photo to capture the essence of Noah’s personality, but I also wanted it to capture the setting of the interview. We were in the sunroom of my house because it has good acoustics. It was a warm sunny day so I wanted the light in the photo and Noah is a really upbeat person and eccentric character so I wanted that to be evident in the photo, and I think it is.

            Nothing really surprised me about this assignment, I think I just really underestimated how long the editing process can take. Which leads me into what I wish I had done better, given my myself more time to edit. I was sick all week and could barely do anything, so I just wish I had done my interview and began editing much sooner than I did. Otherwise everything else about this assignment has gone rather smoothly.

            At the end of this assignment I felt a lot more confident in my audio editing capabilities, even though I’m far from perfect. I think it is very helpful information in this day and age in journalism because radio is still a fairly prominent news source for people. But I think the more relevant audio news source that people are using more and more frequently is podcasts. If I end up working at one of the more major news corporations in the world, I would hope to be involved in some way with their podcast, because every major news outlet has one.

For more info and tour dates go to:
https://notmyweekend.com/

Ski Industry Panic: Protect Our Winters

An industry that is often swept under the rug in the effects of climate change debate is the skiing industry.
Many argue that combatting climate change will damage the energy industry because of regulations subsequently causing the loss of jobs. However, not combatting climate change will have a great effect on the skiing industry as well.
“People don’t realize how much money is coming to the Rocky Mountain region because of skiing,” said David Stevenson, the rental shop manager at Red River Ski area in New Mexico. “But if there’s no snow, then there is no skiing! And that’s all some communities have, my own included.”

Snowy Range Ski Area, located 30 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming, has experienced several years of drought but had a good season in terms of snowfall.

Climate Change’s Effect on Snow
There is a good deal of research on how climate change is affecting our planet, and the most obvious effect on the skiing industry is the decreasing snowfall throughout the years.
According to a study done by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and published in 2016, snow fall has been decreasing since the 1930s across the United States.
The study was done by placing 419 weather stations throughout the continental United States and tracking the amount of snowfall from 1930 to 2007. What the EPA found was a substantial decrease in snowfall among 57 percent of the stations.
“I certainly don’t have the data they (EPA) do, but I can tell you from living here (Red River Ski Area) for over 25 years that we have definitely seen a decrease in snowfall,” Stevenson said. “It hasn’t necessarily been a consistent decline, for instance this year has had really pretty good snow, whereas last year we only had one good storm all season.”
As climate change progresses these droughts begin to become more and more severe, leaving many in the skiing industry concerned for the future.

Courtesy of epa.gov

Economic Effect
According to vailresorts.com, Vail Resorts had a net income of $210.6 million in 2017. That accounts for several areas in Colorado, but only a small portion of the profits derived from visitors coming to ski in the Rocky Mountains.
“I feel very strongly about the climate change debate because skiing is kind of my livelihood and we rely on people coming to ski to keep living here” Stevenson said. “The bottom line is that we are seeing drastic changes in snowfall every year and it creates a sense of uncertainty every season. Will there be enough snow? Will we have enough customers to make any money? It’s all a part of it.”
While it is tough to draw a direct correlation between ticket sales at ski resorts and snowfall annually, people in the industry believe there is a strong correlation.
“Obviously the people who love skiing are still going, but there are a lot of people who only want to ski if the snow is good and they are the ones who keep money flowing through these ski towns,” Ellie Stevenson, Dave’s, said. “There are people who regularly come to Red River from Texas, they’re our biggest clientele, but not as many come during the winter if we don’t have very much snow.”
It is truly just common sense that less snow each year is going to result in people wanting to ski less, regardless of if they are a die-hard skier or just like to take a yearly trip to a resort with their family.

Snow falls as ice melts at Snowy Range Ski Area on March 6, 2019.

Skiers Fight Back
Outdoor enthusiasts, and skiers especially, are not the type of people to sit back and let climate change ruin their lifestyle. Many pro skiers are outspoken advocates for cleaner energy and promote a “green” lifestyle.
But some have taken even a step further and started and organization known as POW, or Protect Our Winters. According to their website, POW was started by professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones with the goal of raising awareness and advocating for systemic political solutions to climate change.
“I think what POW is doing is really important and something I wish we’d see more of,” skier and student at the University of Wyoming Jeremiah Varca said. “The fact that it’s a grassroots movement done by influential people in the ski industry is very important for keeping a real and powerful movement.”
POW began as primarily athletes and ski companies but has spread out to outdoor activists from all walks of adventure who are not going to lose their hobby because of corporate greed and politics that do not do anything to combat the pressing that is climate change. POW has even expanded its views from Just the idea of protecting our winters to combatting climate change as a whole.

Photojournalism: Red River, New Mexico

Upper Valley’s Daisy. Daisy is known by everyone in the Upper Valley of Red River; her home for the last 15 years. She’s staring out at the large snowfall from the night before, eager to stroll the neighborhood.

Daisy has lived in the Upper Valley of Red River for all 15 years of her life, seven miles from the Red River Ski Area where her owner has worked for over 25 years. I took this picture while staying at their house this weekend for a ski trip. Daisy might be the liveliest 15 year old dog I’ve ever met, starting every day roaming around the Upper Valley in hopes of getting treats from the neighbors. Photographing Daisy was a very calming, almost zen, experience. I thought the light from the morning sun looked great on her light fur and she was a very patient model so it was very easy to get this photo. Besides lighting, the creative device I used in this shot was depth by shooting in portrait mode and focusing on Daisy to blur the background.

Scoping Lines. A skier at Taos Ski Valley takes in the view while reading one of the hundreds of warnings posted around the mountain. Taos Ski Valley has over 50% expert terrain, one of the highest in North America, and loses around 5 to 6 skiers a year. Many of the signs warn of unmarked obstacles and extreme terrain, reminding skiers to ski at their own risk.

I came across a group of skiers looking out over the many faces of the Taos Ski Valley while skiing there myself. Photographing the ski day at Taos was such a fun time, mainly because the skiing was great but I also got to photograph some very talented skiers on incredible terrain. This one of the easier shots I got that day since I was shooting on an Iphone and it’s hard to capture moving subjects. In all honesty, I didn’t really have any creative devices in mind while taking this photo; I just particularly liked the perspective of how major this mountain is.

End of the Day. Dave Stevenson, known by locals as Super Dave, helping a satisfied customer return his rental skis after a magnificent day of skiing at Red River. The ski area received 22 inches of snow the night before.

Super Dave is Daisy’s owner and who I stayed with while skiing this last weekend in New Mexico. He is currently the rental shop manager at the base of the ski area, but has worked various jobs at Red River including hill manager and ski patrol. Everyone in Red River knows and loves Super Dave, including many of the visitors to Red River from Texas who regularly take vacations to the mountains of New Mexico. I was just hanging around in the rental shop after a great day of skiing to capture the infectious smile Super Dave passes on to the people he helps in the shop. The environment of the rental shop was laid back and made the experience of shooting in it very comfortable and gave me a sense of camaraderie among the employees and patrons alike. The shot was fairly tough to get because there were so many people returning skis and maneuvering around the shop that it was hard to isolate Dave and a single customer. The lighting was also hard to shoot with in the shop but I think I made it work.

Stoked on the New Goggles. This little shredder had just gotten these new goggles that morning and wasn’t planning on taking them off anytime soon.

Red River is a major skiing destination for people from western Texas, so the town and ski area rely on their business and, typically, they’re welcome with open arms. This is Bryson, one of many Texans returning their skis to the rental shop at the end of the day. He was running around the rental shop just so pumped about the day of skiing and his new goggles that I had to get a picture. Taking the shot made me feel very nostalgic; reminding me of the days when I was that enthusiastic little kid after a great day of skiing. The shot was easy to get because Bryson was putting on a show for the whole rental shop, so I simply asked to snap a quick photo.

Torchlight Parade. Every Saturday night during ski season locals ski down “The Face” with torches in their hands while a fireworks display goes on above them.

As per weekly tradition, on the Saturday night I was in Red River we watched the torchlight parade from the bar at the base called The Lifthouse. We were having a beer at the bar when everyone stepped outside to watch the Torchlight Parade and I saw a good opportunity to get an action shot. It was freezing cold but I laid down in the snow to get a better perspective of the skiers. Otherwise the shot was easy to get. the creative device I used for this photo was color, the red flare draws your attention to the skiers who are the main focus of the photo. Every picture I took on this trip gave me a real sense of community, but this one gave me that feeling the most. They do this every Saturday, yet there were still 50 – 75 people out there watching and cheering.

Nothing really surprised me about this assignment, except how tough it was to get action shots on an Iphone camera. If I could have done anything differently for this assignment, it would have been to use an actual camera, such as a DSLR, rather than just my phone.

Creative Devices

  1. Hanging Orb. The dominant creative device in this photo is focus. By focusing my camera on the hanging it blurred the background, drawing the viewers’ attention to the glass ball which is the focal point of the photo. The focus is also what creates the aesthetically pleasing feel of the photo. There really aren’t any other creative devices that are prominent enough to acknowledge.
  2. Flower Pool. I feel like the dominant creative device in this photo is color because of the way the yellow and red pedals just pop. The bright colors draw the viewers’ attention to the focal point of the photo, those magnificent pedals. I think the contrast of colors makes the photo quite aesthetically pleasing. A secondary device that should also be mentioned is the texture of the visible water. It really makes you look closer at the intricate beauty of the photo.
  3. Moist Leaves. The obvious dominant creative device in this photo is texture; from the water on the leaves. I feel as though the picture would be quite drab if it were not for the water droplets sitting so elegantly on the leaves, which are the focal point of the photo. The texture of the water on leaves is always going to be aesthetically pleasing, as long as the photo is in focus. For me, there isn’t a secondary creative device that draws my attention.
  4. Bowl of Rocks. I really enjoy this photo, but I had tough time deciding what the dominant creative device is. I settled on establishing size because it is such a close-up of the pot you can’t really tell how small it is without the grates of the table in the background. It draws the viewers’ attention because it makes you look twice at how small the plant and rocks truly are, and for me this is also what makes it aesthetically pleasing. Texture is also a very evident creative device used in this photo, from the edge of the pot to the rocks to the water glistening so gently between the rocks; they all add up to a very aesthetically pleasing photo.
  5. Amina: Queen of Sunshine.The dominant creative device I was going for in this photo was rule of thirds. I know it’s hard to tell but the photo is vertically divided into thirds. The shadow line along Amina’s face is one of the division and the corner of the wall is the other. My hope was too draw attention to Amina, the focal point of the photo, and I think it worked because the shadow line on her face draws your eyes right to her. I think the other division, the corner of the wall, is what makes this photo aesthetically pleasing because if that were cropped the photo would look awkward. I didn’t feel like there were any other notable creative devices at play.

Nothing really surprised me about this assignment, however I do wish I had taken more varied photos. By that I mean more photos at different times of day, like actual sunset or sunrise, and more outside shots instead of only indoor venues.

Blog Post One

After looking at past students’ blogs and the syllabus, I’m beginning to notice that most of what we are covering I already know a fair amount about. Since I’ve had to change advisors multiple times, I’ve already taken classes that go more in depth with almost every subject we are planning to cover this semester, but somehow was not ever told that I needed to take this class. However, I’m looking forward to getting a refresher on a lot of these things, specifically audio and video editing. One thing I’m anticipating really taking away from this class is the photography unit because that is one form of media I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with. The other thing I’m expecting to learn in this class is information visualization. Besides those two things, I’ve taken classes that covered reporting, interviewing, AP style and video and audio production. I do think it’s going to be helpful for me to go back over all of these topics, however.

Since I grew up in Laramie and have spent a vast majority of my life in the outdoors, I want my blog to focus on things related to the outdoors in Wyoming and Colorado. Not just activities like skiing and hiking, but things like conservation as well. People and events I want to cover during the semester are coordinators and staff at the outdoor program and any events they are putting on for students. I would also like to cover things going on around the community, such as downtown events and stores. Along with that I want to do maybe profiles of local outdoors enthusiasts who have roots in Laramie. I also really would like to look at things that are threatening some of these outdoor activities, like climate change and skiing. I plan on taking photos to accompany everything I cover as well. One, because I want to have a visual aesthetic to my blog, but also because I want to improve my photography skills.