Caution!: A zombie classic

Screen capture from Caution: A zombie classic.

Welcome to my work from freshman year also known as Spring 2011 Cinema Production 1 taught by Joshua Bonnetta.

This semester was filled with exciting times of film just two years ago as this was shot on 16mm and my photo project that semester was shot on 4×5. So, as I prepare to release snippets of my Thesis Cinema Production I felt it would be a good idea to throw up my original project. One of many ambitions that unfortunately fell a bit short. But, it still didn’t turn out too terribly. Hope you enjoy it as it is still entertaining. Thanks

<p><a href=”″>Caution</a&gt; from <a href=””>Shawn Steiner</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Professors share narratives of lifelong activism

Fred Wilcox shares his activism stories.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Here at Ithaca College there is a large group of professors who stand by their beliefs and ideals. These professors are activists and constantly go out and protest and do work in order to make these ideas known and to fight injustice. As a part of a collegiate institution they share their beliefs with their students and try to be the inspiration for them to get out and fight for what they belief in.

This project was made in collaboration with Kelsey O’Connor, editor in chief of The Ithacan.

In addition, here is the original article written by Kristen Mansfield.

Fred Wilcox shares his activism stories. Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan
Fred Wilcox shares his activism stories. Click here to view the interactive piece.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Gritty in pink: Ithaca College welcomes new intramural sport

From left, junior Reeve Moir blocks a shot from junior Victoria Tran during a demonstration of pinkyball Sunday, Nov. 4, in the Fitness Center.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan
From left, junior Reeve Moir blocks a shot from junior Victoria Tran during a demonstration of pinkyball Sunday, Nov. 4, in the Fitness Center.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

It started with a group of high school friends in Nahant, Mass., with a net built out of sticks and a 99-cent rubber ball. Twenty-eight years and 350 miles later, a schoolyard game called pinkyball has made its way to Ithaca.

Pinkyball, a combination of handball, lacrosse and soccer, has laid dormant for decades, being played only in a small high school in Massachusetts. This December, the sport  will be introduced on the collegiate level when the college hosts its first intramural pinkyball tournament.

Junior Reeve Moir, pinkyball’s local ambassador, stood in front of six students dressed in casual athletic clothes in October on the Mondo Gym Floor in the Fitness Center to facilitate the college’s inaugural game of pinkyball. The players formed into two teams, The Short Guys and The Kentucky Gentlemen, and Moir led a short informational session before the fast-paced game kicked into gear.

Moir described the basic move of pinkyball as a type of air juggle, where players try to keep the ball alive with a series of palm slaps while moving up the court. Players are allowed to slap the ball five times before they have to shoot or pass the ball to a teammate. The player can also kick the ball when they run out of palm slaps. Players can incorporate moves from other sports, like indoor soccer, to kick the ball off the walls and advance the ball forward.

“The goal of the game is to score points by hitting it into the net, just like soccer or lacrosse,” he said.

Shots on goal are directed at a goalie armed with only a baseball glove. Teams feverishly push the ball up and down the court attempting to score a goal. When a goalie makes a save on a high-speed slapshot, he or she can throw, slap, kick or roll the ball out to a teammate, and the play continues.

Junior Lucas Knapp participated in the college’s inaugural game of pinkyball. He said the sport was easy to get involved with because it doesn’t require special athletic gear or any type of specific athletic skill.

“You just need your hands, your body, some shorts and a t-shirt and you get to run around and have fun with your friends,” Knapp said. “It’s really not about who wins or loses, it’s just about playing pinkyball.”

Knapp identified the process of dribbling and kicking such a tiny ball as the most difficult parts of pinkyball to learn. Despite the learning curve the players faced, Moir said pinkyball’s simplicity got everyone engaged quickly.

“Everybody got the rules down really quickly, and then we just played for a while,” Moir said. “It was an awesome time. Tons of fun.”

Even with a wide range of athletic abilities present in the exhibition game, the game was evenly matched and ended with a close score. Moir attributed this to the even playing field

One of the 99-cent pink rubber balls used in the pinkyball game.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

created by lack of player experience.

“I want to stress to people the fact that since it has never been played here, nobody will have a distinct advantage in it,” he said.

Until this year, people only played pinkyball at the Waring School in Beverly, Mass., where it was first invented. As a sports management major, Moir created a project that would have a lasting impact on the office of recreational sports in his fieldwork assignment. Moir, a Waring alumnus, said he decided to pitch an old high school favorite as an intramural tournament at the beginning of the semester.

To adapt pinkyball to the collegiate level, rules had to be formalized and designed for the resources available to the college while maintaining the integrity of the original game. Goals once made of sticks have been replaced by nets of metal and nylon. Games that used to start with a toss off a chimney now begin with a simple jump ball reminiscent of basketball.

Because of its newness and unconventional set of rules, pinkyball is considered a non-traditional sport. Scott Flickinger, program coordinator of recreational sports, said, non-traditional sports create a relaxed in-game atmosphere and are open to a larger range of participants. The last intramural sport that was introduced to the college was Ultimate Frisbee during the spring of 2008.

“What we look at is something that may attract people who aren’t interested in more traditional sports,” he said. “There’s a lot more of the casual athlete, and these non-traditional sports appeal to them.”

Another factor that Flickinger considers when looking at new intramural sports is the cost. Pinkyball utilizes equipment already available, such as floor hockey goals and baseball gloves, and the pinkyballs themselves are inexpensive.

Flickinger said the challenge with running it as an intramural sport is getting people to show up. He said he is hoping the appeal of a brand new sport will draw in players.

“I always want to do something that’s new,” he said. “There are individuals looking for alternative activities to some of the more social aspects of Thursday and Friday night. We try to provide that outlet for individuals looking for a positive, fun release in terms of physical, mental and emotional safety.”

Flickinger researched what other colleges’ intramural programs have been doing and he found that non-traditional sports have been successful elsewhere. He said he also looked into handball at other colleges because of its strong similarities to pinkyball.

“[Handball] has been pretty popular in a lot of schools, and I thought, [pinkyball] is nothing we have ever seen before here, and it is nothing anyone else has really ever seen outside of Ithaca College, so why not be the pioneer?” he said.

Sign-ups for the tournament, set for the weekend of Dec. 1, were recently opened up to the campus community after the trial game Oct. 7 was deemed a success by the department.

Knapp said the people that were watching from the balcony in the fitness center during the first game looked a little confused, but also intrigued. Based on his experience, Knapp said pinkyball would fit in line with some of the campus’ other quirky activities.

“We play Quidditch and have Humans vs. Zombies,” he said. “It’s not much of a stretch to have pinkyball in there too.”

Time will tell as to whether pinkyball will be successful at the college, but Moir and Flickinger said they hope the game will be a staple in intramural programming in the future. Flickinger said there are even tentative plans to make a pinkyball league next fall, depending on the success of the tournament this December. He said the adoption of this unconventional sport is a major step ahead for intramurals at the college.

“The future is going to be with non-traditional sports,” Flickinger said. “Everybody and anybody can play the traditional sports. But, every once in awhile somebody will say, ‘I want to try something new.’”

The fear of digital noise

Ithaca College senior Erik Caron, center, belts out “Devil’s Coming” and plays guitar for the Erik Caron Connection alongside bassist sophomore Gabe Lefferts, left, and drummer Alex Cano ’12, right.
This photograph was taken at ISO 25600, f/2.8 and 1/125 second at 20mm.
Ithaca College senior Erik Caron, center, belts out “Devil’s Coming” and plays guitar for the Erik Caron Connection alongside bassist sophomore Gabe Lefferts, left, and drummer Alex Cano ’12, right.
This photograph was taken at ISO 25600, f/2.8 and 1/125 second at 20mm.

Noise was never a good thing. But, everyone still seems to want to emulate the grain of film.

Pushing film two stops so that you can get a usable image was more important than the amount of grain that you may see. It was the norm to have to deal with grain. Now that we have moved to digital sensors it seems that we are afraid to see anything besides a perfectly clean image on the camera’s LCD screen. The immediacy of digital has let us know how we can change things to “fix” the image in camera, and see when we take unusable photos.

Why should we be afraid to push the boundaries of our cameras technology?

I support the ability of modern day cameras to reach these absurd ISOs. Years ago I never would have imagined being able to shoot outside at night and have a perfectly exposed image. Independent filmmaking would also still require a lot of startup money. Now, we can shoot for bare minimum and produce something of quality.

In the realm of photojournalism it means we can go new places with less equipment and get the shots we need. The other day I was shooting at ISO 25600 in a pub late at night. I took photos. That is awesome. No flash, no unnecessary lights, just capturing the mood as it was set up for the show.

At first glance I have heard shock at the ISO speeds I was shooting at. But then when I have shot video on the same SLR I have heard that it is too clean and sharp. Where are we going to finally accept the world of digital and accept it on its own, without thinking about it in the context of celluloid.

Many companies are even trying to produce the ability to add grain to digital footage.As much as I appreciate the nostalgia for film, I respect the advancement is technology that allows our industry to advance to incredible heights. Accept the look of noise and forget the look of grain. It is a part of the digital image making process and we should see it as such.

Instagram and its issues for the photojournalist


You may have read about Ben Lowy. He’s an award winning photojournalist. However, that is not what makes him important. He became famous for his use of the Hipstamatic app while shooting images on his iPhone. Should we really allow this type of photography in a journalistic manner?

I will concede the earlier point by Rachel Woolf that Instagram and other apps provide social networking opportunities that are wonderful for the world of photography. But I will say that this type of editing should not be used in journalism. One thing to look at is that Ben Lowy himself even helped developed a “lens” for the Hipstamatic app that was more suited to journalistic work. Why would that be necessary if what he was doing was already ethically okay?

Cell phone photography is an amazing thing for journalism. We can produced technically usable images at a moment’s notice without the need for professional equipment. That is great. We see it has had a huge impact in the world of citizen journalism. The reportage of the Arab Spring revolutions would not have been as well covered or followed if it wasn’t for cell phone and citizen journalism, it even started to be funded by the United Nations.

Let’s take a look at some recent cell phone photos I took.
Above is the same image both Instagrammed, left, and put through standard editing in Photoshop, right. Is it a spectacular image? I wouldn’t say so, but it does work well for our discussion. Especially since it was a situation where professional cameras weren’t permitted and I was forced to use my iPhone.

Here we see Jon Samuels making a phone call in the parking area of the event. That is the very basic first look at the image. Now, if we look at simply the square crop of Instagram we can see some information lost. The main thing I notice is the lighting. In the original image we can see that it is a high placed spotlight set up for the event. In the Instagram photo we can’t tell if it is a light, a car or even the scale of the event. Just from that quick analysis we should be starting to question whether or not this is appropriate for journalistic work.

Next, the color is just off and unrealistically edited. If I were to be editing for a news organization I would feel uncomfortable doing that amount of color manipulation in Photoshop. So why do we allow it be done for us quickly using an app? It seems like just an excuse in lieu of an argument that would be completely unfounded.

I don’t see the point of Instagram beyond a social networking tool for the everyday cell phone photographer. Photojournalism is a field involving skill, thought and ethics, that is what keeps photojournalists relevant, and as such we should analyze these trends with as much diligence as everything else in the field, not just let it slip on through. Evolution of technology is great, but not when it hampers our journalistic integrity.

The beer is here


A more recent video about homebrewing.

The Beer Is Here from Shawn Steiner on Vimeo.

The Beer Is Here
Filmed and edited by Shawn C. Steiner

Ithaca College junior Isaac Ford brews beer in his home in Ithaca, NY. He walks us through the process of brewing a raspberry wheat beer.

A short news package done for The Ithacan, Ithaca College’s award-winning student newspaper.

Rethinking Instagram

A couple of my portraits.

Over the months I have written a few posts about how Instagram is bad for photojournalists and how it really shouldn’t be used. However, that is a very specific viewpoint to write from and I feel like I didn’t give Instagram a fair chance.

My very hipster self.
My very hipster self.

Now, I started using it for real. It started as a joke but I’ve really come to enjoy using it. It started with a party that I got dressed up pretty hipster I must admit. So, the best portrait would have to be Instagrammed. It was funny. But it evolved into more usage and my current idea.

Here is how the actual project began.

I have a good friend who doesn’t use any social media. I decided it would be funny to Instagram a photo of him a day and post it on Facebook. All of our friends love it and I find it really enjoyable. Though one complaint is that some filters can really just kill an image.

Here is the first image from the series:

Isaac Ford adventures through the snow.
Isaac Ford adventures through the snow.

Check back to see more! Or follow me on Instagram, Twitter, etc… @shawncsteiner

I’ve realized Instagram isn’t a great image creation tool. But, for social interactions through photographs, it is a good way to entertain your friends.

Street portrait: Rachel

Rachel poses for a photo.

My friend Rachel happened to be around when I was testing out a new picture profile on my camera. It is designed to mimic black and white film and I think it does a pretty good job. It may not be the best profile but I like how it looks.

Rachel poses for a photo.
Rachel poses for a photo.

Rally coverage down in DC

Forward on Climate

This past weekend was the Forward on Climate rally in Washington D.C. I was fortunate enough to cover it for The Ithacan. So, myself and a staff of 4 other reporters, photographers and videographers headed to D.C. to check it out. It was a great time, here are some quick shots.

Forward on Climate_1

Forward on Climate_2

Forward on Climate_3

Forward on Climate_4

Forward on Climate_5

Forward on Climate


Street portrait: Shannon Moloney

Shannon Moloney, a student at Ithaca College, poses for a photo.

Shannon Moloney is a friend and fellow student here at Ithaca College. We spent some time together and while there was still some daylight shining in through the window I asked to get one quick shot of her. Here it is.

Shannon Moloney, a student at Ithaca College, poses for a photo.
Shannon Moloney, a student at Ithaca College, poses for a photo.
Shawn Steiner/In focus

The Cortaca Jug football game

From left, senior captain Nate Hemingway and Assistant Coach Ryan Heasly react to the Bombers' loss.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

The 54th annual Cortaca Jug football game was held on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. The Ithaca College Bombers lost to the SUNY-Cortland Red Dragons 16-10. This is my account from the sidelines. And as I am from Ithaca College, it was the Bomber side of things.

From left, senior captain Nate Hemingway and Assistant Coach Ryan Heasly react to the Bombers’ loss.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan

Photojournalism: Election night in Ithaca, N.Y.

Election Night at the Democratic Headquarters in Ithaca, N.Y.

Election night is always emotional, no matter who you are backing. Here in Ithaca, NY people were able to celebrate President Barack Obama’s re-election. With triumphant and emotional cheers.

Election Night at the Democratic Headquarters in Ithaca, N.Y.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012 — Olayinka Omotosho, a Humphrey Fellow at Cornell University, celebrates in response to hearing CNN predict President Barack Obama’s re-election while at the Tompkins County Democratic Party headquarters at the Holiday Inn in Ithaca, N.Y.
Shawn Steiner/The Ithacan