Working with Video

For this assignment Rocky and I decided to do our video on Vedauwoo. This granite rock formation is one of Wyoming’s oldest rock formations. Vedauwoo is located just short of 30 miles outside of Laramie, Wyoming. The Vedauwoo are sees a lot of tourism from University of Wyoming students and people from all around.

Vedauwoo is most popular among students for hiking and camping. In the spring and early fall the parking lot is packed of cars most of which belong to students. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails and just 30 minutes outside of Laramie it is a great place for University of Wyoming students to go for a hike.

While shooting this video Rocky and I wanted to capture the beauty of this place and so we set down one of the most popular trails, Turtle Rock trail. While hiking we shot footage of the massive rock structures as well as video of people enjoying all the amenities Vedauwoo has to offer. We saw people hiking with their dogs, Rock climbing, and even some campers.

Additional Information about Vedauwoo and a lot of what the narration was based off of can be found here:

What we originally sought out to capture was the recreational aspect of Vedauwooo but while there we saw a few things that were concerning. For example we saw spray painted rocks, names carved into trees and even an unattended camp fire. This is the reason why we added a conservation message at the end of the video to leave the area how you found it so others can enjoy these lands too.

Overall I enjoyed the process of shooting and creating a short film. I enjoyed shooting the b-roll and hiking to cool locations to capture unique perspectives. Where I did not like was the editing process, I discovered it was difficult to build a video from multiple shots. In the beginning it is just a bunch of short clips and you have to create a story with them and I found that to be the most difficult.

I was also surprised at the difficulty of narration. I had to base my narration off the clips that we had while also making sure the clips relate to the narration. Timing became crucial in making sure you were talking withing a time gap and not going over or under the length of the clip. Going forward if I was to do a video again I would make sure to storyboard and have a better plan going into the shoot. Make sure that the group or I knows who we are interviewing and what our narration will be. I think this would be much more effective in the creation of a video.

I do see myself using video in my future career as a photojournalist. While my primary goal is to become a photographer I think video has an amazing power to tell stories even more than a photo can. For long stories I would prefer video over photography. The most likely scenario is probably shooting documentaries.

Promoting myself with Instagram

Prior to this assignment I had limited experience using Canva, but more experience using Photoshop and Adobe products. So Canva was not a steep learning curve and the template format made things pretty simple.

When promoting my blog posts on Instagram I wanted to take an approach similar to what can be seen on other social media accounts such as National Geographic . So I wanted to give a quick paragraph talking about the story and then mention the link to full story can be found in the bio. From there I wanted to focus the graphic, colors and text to follow the theme the picture or story gives off. For example the Google My Maps post was more fun then the Audio Interview post which had a serious tone.

Overall this assignment was close to what I expected. I found the google my maps post the most difficult. Framing the map into the post while also adding a graphic to tie it into the other posts. I was surprised at how easy Canva was to use and how you can use so many different templates. It was nice to be able to have the template set up to the size of an Instagram post already created and not have to enter dimensions like you would in Photoshop.

As a photographer I am already very familiar with Instagram but in the future using Instagram to promote a photojournalism piece is something I will absolutely be doing. Usually I just post photos to Instagram but from now on I will consider using photos to promote a written story as well.

An Instagram I created just to promote my Creative Devices, Web Story, Photojournalism story, Audio Interview, and Google My Maps post.

My Instagram for this class can be found here:

My personal Instagram can be found here:

Live Tweeting Sports

When it came time to decide what event I wanted to live tweet the first thing I thought of was live tweeting a sporting event. Tweeting sporting events allows for people whop don’t have access to streaming or are not at the game to follow along with highlights and action during the event.

As the University of Wyoming had no more basketball games and I wanted to still do a sporting event so I chose a professional team. For this assignment I knew I was going to be in Colorado with family for Easter and Denver is not too far from where I would be staying. As a result I bought tickets on Friday and went to the Rockies game on Saturday April 20. My Twitter account can be found here.

Throughout the event I tried to tweet the most important parts of the game. Such as the start of the game, scoring plays and the atmosphere of the game. Here are some examples of my tweets throughout the game.

Picture From Game

Picture taken at Coors Field right before the start of the Rockies v. Philies game on April 20, 2019.

Scoring Play

For this assignment I wanted to take a Journalistic approach. To do this I set aside my love for the Rockies and tweeted whenever both teams had a scoring play and interviewed both a Philies fan as well as a Rockies fan. Additionally I did not add exclamation marks or heavy punctuation to my tweets which would have given them a sense of “excitement” alluding to a bias in my tweets. I have seen other sports journalists tweet in the manor I did and I wanted to mimic that but also have my own unique twist through the interviews.

Overall I did enjoy the experience because I got to go to an event of my choosing and could enjoy the event while working on my assignment. I learned from the experience that I had to tweet an event out right away in order for it to not be lost among hundred of other tweets about the same game. After looking at my analytics this became apparent. When I tweeted early on I got a lot more views (impressions) then if I was late to tweet about a score. What I did not enjoy about the experience was the slim variety in events available to tweet about in Spring after all the University sports have ended.

What I learned from the experience was how difficult it is to stay on top of everything and when you decide to tweet. I also had troubles with the internet and being able to connect to cell service when there is thousands of other people around you in the stands using same cell service. What surprised me about the event was the reach you can have with Twitter. I had one of my tweets liked by the Rockies official Twitter. I do wish I could have stayed more on top of the game and tweeted more plays.

In the future I see myself being able to use twitter to promote events as well as use it to tell a story about the event. I don’t think I will ever tweet about sports in my career as a photojournalist but I can see how going to an event and then tweeting links to certain things about the event or using it to promote my own creations.

A Cure For Boredom in Colorado Springs

Aerial view of the business district of Colorado Springs Colorado. Photo courtesy of

There is no shortage of things to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado. However, the list of things found on other websites can be daunting with over 55 places recommended to visit. Those lists are not practical for a standard tourist. I decided to compile a list of some of the things I found most interesting and feasible for a tourist to tackle.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

The first location on our list of places to visit is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Open 365 days a year this zoo is excellent for winter or summer tourists alike. The Zoo is rated 4th best in the nation by USA today. Having gone there multiple times the experience is truly unique. The zoo is built onto a mountain side and bolsters amazing views of Colorado Springs. What sets this Zoo apart is the hands on approach they take. Guests can feed giraffes, watch feeding times of all animals and even walk with Wallaby. Guest information can be found at the following link.

“The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a really special zoo because of how personal the whole experience is.” Said Aaron Herrera a Colorado Springs native and active outdoors-men.

Garden of the Gods

One of Colorado’s National natural Landmarks is the massive sandstone formations. Garden of the Gods is the most visited place in the Colorado Springs area, and this is for a good reason. The sandstone formations peak up to 300 feet which presents great opportunities for people hiking, biking and rock climbing. Additionally, at the visitor center they have an interactive exhibit and museum that teaches guests about the formations and their history. For more information about activities at Garden of the Gods can be found here

Some of the hiking trails that can be found at GOTG. Photo courtesy of Garden of the Gods Visitor Center

Pikes Peak Highway

Just west of Colorado Springs is one of America’s most stunning highways. The Pikes Peak highway is a two hour drive in which you will climb around 7,000 feet in elevation. Along this curvy highway there are multiple areas to pull off and take in the views. Some of the activities along the highway are the multiple fishing locations, a place to stop and eat halfway up the highways and at the top there is the summit house. Fun fact about the summit house is they make and serve donuts which happen to be donuts made at the highest elevation. To see the many stops and locations along the highway see the Pikes Peak Highway visitors website.

Cars traveling up the 14,000 foot peak in early June of 2018. Photo credit to

Manitou Incline

The Manitou incline is located west of the Springs and is relatively close to the Pikes Peak highway. The incline is an advanced hike and is notoriously a tough workout. While not for everyone the hike is completed by thousands of people each year. Olympians, military, athletes, and people from all over the world have done this intense climb up a mountain. The incline gains around 2,000 feet of elevation in under a mile which will put even experienced hikers to the test. The incline was originally part of a cable line that allowed people to pay to ride to the top and see the amazing view of Colorado Springs. After a rock slide damaged the Incline in the 90’s the Incline became a hiking trail where to old railroad ties form a staircase up the mountain. Despite the incline being a difficult hike it deserves a spot on this list as one thing people visiting the springs should do.

“The incline belongs on your list because it is a staple of Colorado Springs and the views from the top are breathtaking, if you do the hike in the early morning it isn’t crowded and not too hot outside yet.” Said Aaron Herrera.

While the incline is open year round it is important to note that you should only hike on days where the weather is calm as getting stranded on the incline can be disastrous. To read about the history and more information about the incline go here.

Image taken just Below the Steepest Section of the Manitou Incline highlighting the difficulty of the hike. Photo courtesy of

Broadmoor Hotel

Just below the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo sits one of Colorado’s most beautiful resorts. The Broadmoor sits along a landscape of beautiful mountains, rivers and fields. This Colorado springs hotel boasts tons of activities for its guests ranging from golfing and a day at the spa to fly fishing and horseback riding. The wide range of activities offered allows for every guest to find something they are interested in. The Broadmoor is an excellent choice for a weekend stay in Colorado Springs to get both a luxury and western experience. The only downfall of this location is the Broadmoor comes with a high price tag and can be daunting to the common weekend traveler. To see rates, and a list of all the activities visit the Broadmoor’s website.

The Broadmoor decorates for Christmas each year using thousands of lights. Photo credit to

Final Thoughts

This list covered five great things for tourists and residents to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado. All the places listed above can be enjoyed year round but it is always smart to check the local weather.

” Overall this is a good list for stuff to do in the Springs, some other great things to do is catch a football game at the Airforce Academy in the fall and also check for special events happening at the Zoo or hotel” Said Aaron Herrera.

Whether you are looking for a cure to boredom or wanting to explore around Colorado Springs these are a few of the many options. To see more events and things to do in Colorado springs is this website.

Interviewing A School Principal

The week I originally planned on interviewing Colton Hepworth the rancher I covered in my photojournalism story. Due to technical problems and quiet a few of them I decided to change my plan on the spot and improvise. I decided to interview a Charter School Principal. I interviewed my mom Lisa Gjellum. She has over 31 years of experience in education.

Lisa has recently been fighting for equitable funding for charter schools in Colorado. Charter schools are public schools that on average receive less funding then general public schools.

I wanted to ask key questions based around Colorado’s school funding and how Colorado ranks in proficiency in reading, writing, math and other subjects compared to the rest of the country.

This is the Raw Profile of the interview with Lisa Gjellum. The questions I asked and other errors are still in the audio file.

Overall the experience using and audio recorder was difficult. For some reason in the audio test everything was perfect. The audio levels were not peaking and everything was fine. Then during the interview everything seemed fine and the files on the recorder were good. But somewhere between transferring the file it was corrupted. Due to that situation I had to interview someone else. What surprised me most about the audio interview is how difficult it is to get people to answer in complete sentences. The subjects usually start off using them and then wander because they are trying to interview well and usually due to nerves they forget to answer in complete sentences.

Going forward I plan to use audio to conduct similar interviews. Even if I am just using the audio as a reference for a written story or a photo story it still is beneficial. I don’t believe I would use audio as the main story telling medium because it seems easier to include more details and environment within photos and written stories then audio can tell.

I wish the whole process went smoother. I found it difficult to edit down the RAW audio file down to a time limited one. I think if the assignment was different and had no time limit for length it would make it easier to connect with the subject and get a better story. After all most podcasts span significant lengths in order to tell the full story and not just part of it. It felt wrong to have to edit out certain parts of the interview in order to meet a time constraint.

In this interview a background hum was eliminated as well as length was cut down to under two minutes. School principal Lisa Gjellum was the one being interviewed.

The audio editing experience was way more difficult then I had thought. I have experience in video and photo editing but the transition to audio editing was way more difficult. I also had issues with audacity and going forward would prefer to use an adobe product to edit audio.

Picture given to me by Excel Academy. Picture is of Principal Lisa Gjellum in her 2018 Excel academy school year photo.

Public Land Not So Public

What is Landlocked Public Land?

In the western United States there is around 9.5 million acres of public land that is inaccessible. Nearly a third of that number is in Wyoming with 3 million acres being landlocked. With no permission from landowners or public roads there is little that can be done to access these lands.

Landlocked public land is when federal land is surrounded by private land and there is no feasible way to get access. This makes the land be unmanageable by federal and state organizations as well.

“These blocked public lands that are inaccessible make it so hunters, fisherman can’t get onto the land. Sometimes, it is even difficult for Game and Fish to access the land, they often just use helicopters. This is dangerous to the wildlife as well as conservation,” said Jp Serrat, a Wyoming native and hunting guide.

According to U.S Fish and Wildlife Service 72 percent of hunters and fisherman in the western United States rely on public lands.  Hunters, fisherman and other outdoor recreation are a significant amount of local and state economies.

“Big game hunters spend around $224 million dollars in Wyoming each year on gear, traveling, and other amenities, making it a huge factor in Wyoming’s economy,” said Serrat.

Landlocked Public Land Demonstrated in a photo found on the TRCF Website Found here:

Obtaining Access to Public Land

In the past land owner permission was easily acquired. But recent studies by the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) show that land ownership patterns have changed and now it is almost impossible to obtain permission to cross private land

According to the TRCP it is more frequent to encounter no trespassing signs and locked gates than previous years. To see examples and more information regarding this check out the TRCP brochure found at: (

One program that is working to unlock inaccessible public lands is the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  The LWCF has paid for land purchases, organized easements and other ways to open landlocked public lands.

Easements are when landowners give the public a right to cross their land or use their land. These are beneficial to the LWCF in opening parcels of landlocked lands. Easements can be confusing to the public and difficult for the state to keep.

One example outlined in an article by Wyoming Public Media was in Cody, Wyoming. There is around 164 acres of public land but to get to it you must travel down road 6JM. However, all along the road there is no trespassing signs left over from before the easement was set in place. On top of the possible confusion part of the easement set in place to allow the public to use the road is the county must maintain the road.

It is too costly for the county to maintain the road for just a handful of people. Therefore, it is likely the easement will fall through, and the public land will become landlocked again.

Wyoming has the largest amount of landlocked public lands by acres. Many other states face this issue as well, one of them is Colorado.

“Colorado spends a lot of time and money to ensure our public lands are protected and will remain open to enjoy for future generations,” Said Colton Hepworth a Wildlife Biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife Headquarters in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Not Just A One State Issue

Colorado has millions of people who hike, go biking, hunt and fish each year. Almost all these people enjoy Colorado’s public lands. However, a recent GPS study has showed that Colorado has around 300,000 acres of public land landlocked.

Colorado has a significantly lower number of landlocked lands then Wyoming. The cause of these inaccessible public lands is rooted in the Homestead Act of 1862 which gave any American citizen the right to claim 160 acres of government land. Additionally, the government gave railroad companies ever parcel of land that followed the railroad.

“In a lot of states, the railroad sold the land surrounding the tracks to private owners, trapping in public lands,” Said Rachael Melblom an Outdoor Recreation major at University of Northern Colorado, as well as an intern for Colorado’s Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

Interactive Map that allows you to hover over your state and find out statistics and helpful information regarding the amount of public land that the public has no access to. Found Here:

The company who brought attention to TRCP was called OnX maps. A highly detailed map that lets users know property boundaries as well as access points to public land. More on how they are combating this issue and about their company can be found here:

How Programs And Groups Are Fighting For Access

An organization that has had a huge part in securing access in Colorado’s public land is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. In a recent publication of their magazine the RMEF mentioned that lack of access can endanger and diminish wildlife health when populations grow too large and are not managed.

“Without anglers and hunters alike, it can be difficult to manage ungulate and fish populations, as well as monitor a herd’s overall health,” said Colton Hepworth.

A recent example of the RMEF securing public lands is a 28-acre piece of land in Colorado’s San Luis Valley that will open almost 8,500 acres of land to the public that was previously landlocked. RMEF works by arranging easements, or in some cases purchasing private land in order to allow access to federally owned land.

A Threat To Wildlife

Throughout Colorado and parts of Wyoming chronic wasting disease has threatened the deer population. It is difficult to track the disease and to determine where it has spread without the heads and brains being sent in to Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Chronic wasting disease is a deadly brain disease that is untreatable and is common in ungulates.  This is the reason CPW is concerned about landlocked lands because there is so much land and not enough biologists or funds to study the animal populations within these landlocked lands.

Photo of a Mule Deer in Colorado Spirngs, Colorado. Taken by Michael Gjellum

RMEF hopes to continue their success in Wyoming and Montana to help open more land to the public which in turn will help the wildlife and CPW. The population of America continues to grow while the amount of land in America remains the same.

“There is more demand for public land in America as trails are crowded with people hiking and biking. There is enough public land to meet current demands if they were accessible. Which is why the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and other agencies will keep working to get public land access,” said Rachael Melblom.

Picture taken by Michael Gjellum of two mule deer does. Mule deer are some of the most susceptible ungulates to Chronic Wasting Disease in Colorado.

Background Research

Journal of Photography

I travel back to my home town Erie, Colorado often to spend time with family and friends as well as take pictures and further my photography skills. I usually do not take pictures of people I do not know and so I wanted to take the opportunity of being home to document a strangers story.

While looking for something to document I saw a young rancher and his father outside early each morning and back out late at night feeding and taking care of their livestock.

I went up to these ranchers and asked if I could take photos but I would stay out of their way and let them do their work. They agreed and so I followed them around for about an hour taking pictures of the process they went through.

Colton Hepworth opens the gate for his father to drive the truck in that has water, feed, and various other supplies.

For this photo, I stood on the other side of the gate and wanted to highlight the subject doing all sorts of tasks even ones as simple as opening a gate.

Colton is seen loading the wheelbarrow with hay.

As I followed Colton and his father around they would load a wheelbarrow up with hay and then take it to each of the animals that way they did not have to make multiple trips carrying the hay by hand or with a pitchfork. These next few pictures show the process of feeding. After talking to them it was apparent they had the same routine day in and day out.

Colton Hepworth feeds the two largest goats (separated from rest because they are bullies)

It was interesting to see how well they knew their animals and how connected they were with the ranch. It was not very hard to photograph these two because they liked to talk about their animals. They even told me all the names to their animals.

Feeding a baby bull that is separated from the rest of the heard.
Climbing a fence after feeding the calves grains and supplements.

I also captured a few candid shots of life around the farm such as animals cool subjects. One thing I found to be peculiar is the bowling balls attached to all the fence posts. Apparently, the previous owner was a sculptor and added the bowling balls there.

Old Jeep that has not run in years and was parked outside.
A curious bull attempts to lick the lens of my camera through a fencing panel

Through a Lens

Last weekend I traveled to Colorado Springs to visit family. While there I went hiking as well as went to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I decided to bring my camera with me. Today, I wanted to show five photography creative devices displayed in images.

Alligator at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

While at the zoo I noticed they had some alligators in a heated tank and they were all laying on each other. I held my camera over the fence to get an aerial view of this scene. Don’t worry though I had my camera strap around my neck to make sure I didn’t drop it into the tank!

The dominant creative device in this picture is symmetry and patterns. The water is flat and not a single ripple showing how still the alligators were and then the moss is floating around. But the powerful symmetry and patterns found on the alligator’s scales and mouth are what draws the eye. The symmetry of the scales makes the photo aesthetically pleasing because it adds a sense of camouflage or mystery to the alligator and shows them lurking in the water. Hence, why I named the photo “Lurking”. I also think this photo uses focus as a creative device. The water and reflection in it are blurred while the eyes and face of the main subject are in perfect focus drawing the viewers straight to the eyes and snout.

A Meerkat watches on a rock for predators at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

For this image, I waited until a meerkat was facing my direction and it happened to be when one was perched on a rock. This image is a good example of the creative device texture. The fur of the meerkat is a different color than the background and it looks fuzzy making a viewer wonder how soft he or she is. I also thought the rocks behind the meerkat display texture with how they have all those ridges and black spots. I also think this picture demonstrates background because of how the rock is so powerful of a visual in the picture.

Taken off of a forest service road in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For this image, I took my jeep and was exploring an old dirt road in the forest in Colorado Springs. As I was driving back down the road I noticed the sun was almost perfectly aligned with this small pine tree. I decided to compose the image using the rule of thirds. I wanted to showcase the tree and the sunset but I also wanted to use the field of dead grass. I think the grass being dead from winter allowed for it reflects the color of the sun perfectly. Rule of thirds was important when deciding to shoot this image because it allowed the viewer to see the scenery and the colors of the sunset in the sky. Another creative device used is leading lines. The shadows all lead towards the tree as well as the mountain ridges from left to right all end up at the small pine tree. These creative devices make the photo aesthetically pleasing because they add more to the image than just one subject they allow the viewer to see what the photographer saw.

“The Storm”
Early morning at Veduawoo the fog surrounded the rock formations.

For this image, I wanted to highlight leading lines. The trail winds through the dead and alive trees and leads to the rock formation which is covered in a hazy fog. I wanted to show images in their original format and not edit them. In the future, though I plan to edit this one and add contrast and make the fog seem more sinister and boost contrast. The leading lines draw attention to the main focal point which is the tallest rocks covered in mist. Leading lines help make this photo aesthetically pleasing because it gives the eye a place to look first before wandering around the screen. Another creative device is balancing the elements. The rock formation is all natural and has been preserved that way however the trail is man-made and maintained. Even the fallen tree that crosses the trail has been cut with a chainsaw and is split yet you can picture what it used to look like before being cut in half.

“Lone Tree”
Vedauwoo hiking area, near Laramie Wyoming.

After a morning hike I was sitting down for lunch and watched the fog burn off and behind it was a beautiful blue sky. This picture highlights both background and color creative devices. The tree sits right in front of a large rock structure and the eye is automatically drawn to both the rocks and the tree. For color, the bright blue sky next to the orange rocks which then show the only green which is the tree. Some people may even notice the white of the snow. These are all colors found in nature but none of them are dominating the picture they all are equally complimenting. These devices create an aesthetically pleasing photo because they display uniqueness. This rock formation is only a few minutes away from flat grasslands but the viewer would never know because the background is these massive boulders and then a pine tree found commonly in mountainous regions. Background and color tell a story which is important to all photos.

While taking these pictures it made me look back on all the creative devices. I naturally had just been shooting and had not been actively thinking about them. I think this exercise was healthy for me because it allowed me to realize I don’t use the rule of thirds as much as I should and almost 90% of the photos I took the main subject was in the center of the shot. When shooting my photos I wish I could capture the color more accurately. I could not adjust my F-stop to wide open to get creamy bokeh because I forgot a neutral density filter that would allow me to drop down to F 1.8 in harsh sunlight.

Documenting My Journey Through A Multimedia Class

Thanks for reading my first Blog!

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. — Dorothea Lange

The Milky Way.jpg1. I am a semi-professional photographer, by that I mean I have sold some of my pictures as prints. I also have some prints displayed in several schools in Colorado. 

After reviewing the syllabus and reading former students blog I was going to put down that I am most excited for the photography and photojournalism units in this course because those are subjects that I am most familiar and comfortable with. However, after some thought I realized I will get out of this course what I put in. Hence, I chose a subject that I think would help me out the most in my future career.

I am most excited to learn about the social media aspect and the branding of a business. Social media is here to stay and is one of the most powerful tools available to anyone looking to have a career in journalism or even freelancing. 

The syllabus goes through the different parts of social media we will cover in this course. The part that stuck out to me most was: “Understand how social media is used in journalism and strategic communication.” I believe that is going to be a key element in how I will use social media to my advantage.

2. Some possible issues I am considering researching and reporting on this semester is Wyoming and national public lands not being accessible to the public. It seems ironic to call land that is inaccessible “public”. I think that a lot of people do not know that there are millions of acres of public land surrounded by private land. I think I could take several routes with researching this topic, the statistical and informational side. As well as, the impact on tourism and maybe even side effects on wildlife that reside in those areas.

“Across the West, 9.52 million acres of public lands sit entirely landlocked, and can be accessed only with the permission of the neighboring private landowners.  “

Theodore Rosevelt Conservation Partnership

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