Capturing features photos in WSU’s new student center

Comedy hypnotist Erick Kand puts his volunteers into a deep trance using repetitive commands and soothing music.
Comedy hypnotist Erick Kand puts his volunteers into a deep trance using repetitive commands and soothing music during a hypnotist event on Tuesday at the WSU student center. // WSU PJ Lexi Trimpe

Finding an enterprise feature photo, meaning a sporadic, unplanned image that can tell a story, is easier said than done. Especially when you’re working full-time, attending school full-time (and in the middle of midterms week), and the weather just happened to turn terrible overnight. When assigned with the task of finding a enterprise photo, I didn’t take those various factors into consideration.

Finding significant time was the first hurdle I encountered. I headed out late Sunday afternoon to Corktown once I finished my mountain of homework and laundry. I figured with the Lion’s game playing, I should encounter some fans walking the street, or taking photos in front of the train station. Instead, I encountered a mostly dead strip, with bicyclists unwilling to stop even if I hailed them down. I headed to Two James Distillery to drown my frustrations, and snap a few craft cocktail photos, something that is more of my forte.

The next week kicked off midterms for my other classes, leaving me with time on Tuesday night to scour campus for a shot. It was even colder this evening and I was losing daylight fast. This was the last opportunity I had to snap the shot before my class on Thursday, I needed to find some students fast. But, where? After $26.5 million in renovations, hopefully the Student Center.

To my elation, I was right. The basement of the student center, which used to be dimly lit and seldom saw students, was packed. I followed the sounds of hip hop music playing down a corridor and found students playing ping pong and pool in a new rec room. Because WSU is a commuter school, I was shocked to see so many students interacting with each other and relaxing on campus. One student name Ahmed doesn’t even live on campus. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Civil Engineering and retreats to the basement of the student center to blow off steam by playing ping pong. From the corner of my eye I saw an undergrad resident student named Irvin winning a game of pool.  I found a story.

Previous to this, I was a pretty staunch proponent of the amount of money spent on the student center. It was perfectly fine in my opinion. But, after seeing this, I saw how the renovations have led to students have a clean, safe place on campus for students to relax, especially during stressful exam weeks.

After this, I knew what I wanted to focus my event feature photograph on — what was happening around the student center. With all this new space, what sort of events are they hosting? I began searching for events that fit my crazy midterms-week school schedule.

What found could be more visually appealing – a hypnotist show in the student center on Nov. 4.  figured this would be perfect. I got in early, set my meter, and the captured the show.

What I learned most from this lesson is that feature stories are all around us, even in places we may visit frequently. If you look for them, you’ll find them. Anytime, any day. And most importantly, always, always, always, remember your shutter speed. If you shoot below 1/125, you’re going to have a bad time.

Undergrad student Irvin Phillips shoots the winner point in a game of pool in the newly renovated WSU student center.
Undergrad student Irvin Phillips shoots the winner point in a game of pool in the newly renovated WSU student center on Oct 28. // WSU PJ Lexi Trimpe
WSU students John Mandwee, Gabrielle Hoults, and Ali Shahin "speeding away from police" while hypnotized.
WSU students John Mandwee, Gabrielle Hoults, and Ali Shahin “speeding away from police” while hypnotized by Erick Kand at the hypnotist event on Tuesday night. // WSU PJ Lexi Trimpe