Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

Photograph of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

No doubt about it, we’ve got A LOT of fresh snow here in the Red River Valley. Two blizzards hit the region over the past few days and plenty of folks are still digging out. I’m grateful for our new snow blower and a husband who enjoys moving snow! I bundled up this morning and took another walkabout around the neighborhood.

Enjoy the photos and here’s to a fabulous 2011. Ann

Photographs of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

Photograph of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

Photograph of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

Photograph of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

Photograph of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

Photograph of New Year's Day Snow in Fargo

Frost in the Red River Valley

Not only did we have a beautiful white Christmas here in the upper Midwest, but a lovely coat of hoar frost arrived the next morning. It was chilly enough during my morning walkabout that thin layers of ice actually formed wherever my hands held my camera. I was thankful for a new bomber hat, my husband’s snow pants and time to meander around our north Fargo, N.D. neighborhood.

Enjoy! Ann

Frost in the Red River Valley

Frost in the Red River Valley

Frost in the Red River Valley

Frost in the Red River Valley

View of Newman Outdoor Field

On a warm summer night in late August, writer Sarah McCurdy and I spent an evening at Newman Outdoor Field in north Fargo. Our assignment was to create a human interest feature for the “On the Town” section of Fine Living Review, a magazine published six times a year by the Bismarck Tribune. We’d pitched the idea of a photo essay and story from the perspective of the second floor, which is home to 12 suites – each named after a major league stadium.

Sarah and I spent the bulk of the game in “Wrigley Field” with Gail McMartin, her family and various guests. It really was a glorious night for a ballgame. It didn’t hurt that the RedHawks shutout the visiting Lake County Fielders of Illinois 6-0.

Anyway, I submitted 17 images to the magazine for consideration. Obviously, the editor wouldn’t have space for that many images. However, I have a hard time editing my work. Give me another photographer’s images and I can whittle them down pretty quick. My own work is a different story.

The current issue of Fine Living Review was published earlier this month. My copy just arrived in the mail a few days ago. I thought it would be fun to share some of the unpublished images here.

Enjoy! Ann

View of Newman Outdoor Field

Inside a suite at Newman Outdoor Field

In the stands at Newman Outdoor Field

Catching up at Newman Outdoor Field

Take Me Out To The Ballgame at Newman Outdoor Field

Notebook Detail

Milestones are opportunities for reflection. One year ago today I returned home from the VJ Multimedia Workshop in Ventura, Calif. [VJ stands for visual journalism.] The three-day workshop, which included a 24-hour shoot, was tuition free and open to 25 photojournalists who were laid off in recent years. Another 25 spots were reserved for students.

My interest in the workshop was multifaceted. First, I wanted to know how my photography and storytelling skills compared to other photojournalists. I wanted to know if I could show up somewhere I’d never been and produce a visual story just for the sake of doing it [not because an editor had assigned it]. I’ve spent much of my career isolated in smaller markets and insulated by the local newspaper. Second, I wanted to build my audio and multimedia skills. The variety of speakers and affordability of the workshop also appealed to me. Plus, what’s not to love about southern California.

With the best of intentions, I planned to pause, reflect and write about my experience before today. It’s even been on my official “to do” list for the past week. Deadlines, dear friends, are so important in my ability to accomplish any and every task.

There were many, many wonderful things about the workshop, which I hope will be offered again in 2011.

I could write about Dave LaBelle’s passionate plea for compassion and empathy. [I treasure Mr. LaBelle’s books and continue to go back to them again and again.]

I could write about getting over my fear of Tom Kennedy whose critique of my portfolio a decade ago at The Eddie Adams Workshop left me in tears. [He was right. I just wasn’t in the right place to understand what he was saying].

I could write about photo editor Jim Merithew, who led our team [Group No. 2] in our quest to photograph H2O and “what it feels like, not what it looks like”. [Mr. Merithew made time to look through more than 1,200 images I shot during the workshop and offered several valuable shooting suggestions – tuck the subject in the pocket, watch your horizons, don’t force images, wait and watch, for example.]

For me, the most important nugget of the workshop came as the result of a presentation by Grover Sanschagrin, who helped create PhotoShelter and He basically gave an overview of PhotoShelter – which I have an account with and so should pretty much everyone who works with digital images – and talked about SEO, image size, load times, social media, e-commerce, distribution, re-sale, personal vs. commercial uses, all things analyzable and online. He talked about the need for photographers to use more text on blogs to “get found” and advocated for virtual agencies.

I remember sitting in a massive black room at the Brooks Institute campus listening to Mr. Sanschagrin and writing the phrase “Get in the Game” in my MoleSkine. I traced the words over and over [see photo above]. The funny thing is I don’t think he said those exact words. If he did, then thanks are doubly due.

‘Get in the Game’ means that it doesn’t matter the caliber of my skills – which are expanding – or my ideas – which are too numerous to deal with most of the time. If no one but me knows about my passion, interest, skills, availability or how to find me than what’s the point.

I still have a long way to go, but looking back over the past 12 months I’ve made progress. This morning I made a list of things I’ve accomplished – like this website and online journal – for my own purposes and a list of goals for the coming year. Maybe I’ll write about my goals another time.

In the days after the workshop, Mr. Merithew wrote an article for detailing his workshop experience and that of others. [You can read it on] My voice was among those included in the article.

“The VJ Multimedia Workshop was about so much more than multimedia and visual storytelling,” said Ann Arbor Miller. “It gave me a chance to embrace the power that is photojournalism and restored my faith in myself as a photographer.”

I continue to believe what I said a year ago, and have faith that in the months ahead I will continue this journey – one assignment, one image and one story at a time.

Below are a few photographs from my time in Ventura last summer. The H2O project remains online on the VJ Multimedia Workshop website. I remain grateful to everyone at the workshop as well as Ventura resident Drake Eaton, who allowed me to photograph him at the beach, at home and everywhere in between.


P.S. Anyone interested in trying out PhotoShelter should use this link to get a one-time referral discount.

Stacking Rocks Near Surfers Point

At The Beach

Walking Feet


At Home

In The Kitchen

Fixing The Van

On The Porch

Street Scene

1200 block of 3rd Street North

The New York Times photography blog Lens offered up an awesome concept via its “A Moment in Time” project on Sunday, May 2. Photographers of all levels and skills were invited to capture an image at 15:00 U.T.C., which was 10 a.m. in Fargo, N.D. Photographers were then asked to submit their selected image as soon as possible [but no later than Friday, May 7].

“We are asking participants to think about where they want to be and what they will focus on. Consider how to represent yourself and your community, with one image.”

My original plan was to photograph little M., my 4-year-old son, at our home. However, an overnight stay at his grandparents house in nearby Moorhead, Minn., meant my intended subject would be absent at the appointed time

Enter the backup plan. I decided to walk around our block to see what I could find. The above image — shot a few seconds past 15:00 U.T.C. and submitted to the project on Sunday — wasn’t my favorite from the outing. However, it best fit the assignment’s time criteria. I also found the contrast between the curb-side garbage and well-kept homes interesting. The refuse on the boulevard is thanks to Fargo’s annual Cleanup Week endeavor, which allows residents to deposit most anything on the boulevard and it will be picked up for free disposal.

The two images below were shot a few minutes past the assigned time. While I like both of them as photographs, I wanted to submit something that was identifiable to an actual place and not something that could have been shot anywhere in the world. Plus, I figured the editors would get an abundance of feet photos.

Sunday Morning