University Photographer Cary Edmondson Wins Top International Award

 
 
TURLOCK – California State University, Stanislaus photographer Cary Edmondson has been selected by an international higher education organization as the grand gold medal winner in the Photographer of the Year competition.
 
The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), a leading international education promotion organization that includes more than 3,400 colleges, universities, independent elementary and secondary schools, and educational associates in 61 countries, selected Edmondson’s photographic work over 31 other finalist entries.
 
“This is an outstanding, honor from a leading organization in higher education that helps build California State University, Stanislaus’ growing reputation for excellence,” said CSU Stanislaus President Dr. Hamid Shirvani. “I am proud of Cary’s great work and the work of the entire Communications team in University Advancement for helping our University shine on a national stage.”
 
A member of the CSU Stanislaus University Advancement staff since May 2007 and a graduate of Fresno State University, Edmondson previously worked at newspapers in Fresno County, Florida, and Nevada. He has also won a number of awards in the University Photographers’ Association of America (UPAA) competition.
 
CASE grants only one grand gold medal, one silver medal, and two bronze medals in the Photographer of the Year category as part of the 2009 Circle of Excellence Awards Program, making this a particularly distinguished honor.
 
Edmondson’s award-winning photography will be on display in July at the 2009 CASE Circle
of Excellence Awards Program in San Francisco.
 
Enjoy the following select photographs submitted for the CASE Award and Cary’s comments about each shot.

award winning campus photo1. November is by far the best month to photograph the campus here, the colors on campus are amazing during that time. Usually I take students out to the area between the Bizzini Hall and Demergasso Bava Hall buildings (which many people on campus refer to as the “Yellow Brick Road” during November), but I actually got this shot of Raina and Amanda right outside the Mary Stuart Rogers building at the start of our shoot. Usually I don’t capture my favorite shots with students until midway through the session when they feel a little more comfortable with the fact that there is a camera following them, but Raina and Amanda seemed to be working well with the camera right from the start. Once I started taking a few pictures I knew I had a chance to get a decent shot, but the only element I was missing was a sense of depth. I knew we needed some more students in the shot, and eventually the right set of walkers passed by to help give a better “campus-life” feel to the image.

award winning campus photo2. It’s always important to spot the most energetic students as a photographer, and this photo is proof of that. I’ve heard that hat-throwing at commencement used to be a tradition here, but I’ve only seen a student throw their hat into the air at two of the six ceremonies I’ve covered. At first glance it may look like this student is leading a group of students in celebration, when in reality he was just trying to get a laugh from the students he was sitting next to by jokingly throwing his hat in the air.

award winning campus photo3. Everyone who’s ever worked with me knows that I love to work in the rain. Well let me rephrase that a little, … I love to see the pictures I get from working in the rain. It’s not that much fun to work in, and you really have to do your best to keep your equipment as dry as possible, but the images you can get from it are usually worth the extra effort. On this day the rain had died down a little and I was able to keep dry underneath the entrance to the library. The berry trees, (which looked a little bare in person), looked great from the angle I found,… And again the only thing I had to wait on was for a student to walk by. This was actually a harder task then most days since I took the photo in January when there weren’t many students walking around on campus, but eventually I found that girl with the umbrella I was looking for.

award winning campus photo4. This is definitely one of my favorite photos that I’ve taken since working at the school. One of our graphic designers came up with a great concept for students to get their new Warrior ID cards through the use of a character named “Ben Carded”. We made a trip across the street to the yogurt shop called “The Frozen Cow”. The colors inside were very bright which helped bring some life to the background… And once I moved the group close to the window to get some good window light… I really didn’t have to do much else. I’ve worked with all the student models before, and Marisol, Desmond and Katrice kept working the shot until we got a photo where all of their expressions matched at the same time.

award winning campus photo5. Being that our school is located in the Central Valley of California, it’s not everyday that we get to see great cloud cover. When “Pole Vaulting in the Quad” was occurring, I did not even see this shot until I was almost done shooting. The women pole vaulters went first and I took all the standard shots of them which turned out good… But nothing spectacular. I didn’t have time to stick around for the whole event so I only had a chance to get shots of the men’s team as they were warming up on the runway. I decided to get a little more up close and personal, and once that happened I noticed how prominent the clouds looked. I then changed my approach and started working to get a great silouhette shot which resulted in a pretty good photo.

award winning campus photo6. We had to do a shoot for Housing with the phrase, “Practically living here already?”  One of our graphic designers came up with the idea to have a student sleeping on campus, and when he mentioned that it was obvious where I had to take our student model. Our library has a very colorful selection of couches in one of their quiet rooms which worked great for the photo. I had to move a few things around, stand on a table, and help position the student a little… But other than that the photo was a piece of cake.

award winning campus photo7. This was just one of those days where I wanted to go out and get a photo even though I had no idea where the photo would be used later. But I was able to round up some students and have them participate in a fake “leaf fight”. The shoot went kind of slow at the start, and I think it was mainly due to the fact that no one wanted to be the first person to take a pile of leaves and dump them on their friend. But once the first pile of leaves were thrown, an all-out war ensued, and that’s when the fun started. Honestly it was pretty tough to shoot because there was so much going on, so instead of trying to focus on one person I backed up a bit and tried to get a picture that showed a group of students at once. Once Gary jumped in the air I knew I got a shot that was pretty dynamic.

award winning campus photo8. Although sports action shots are always great to get, good celebration and reaction photos are usually more cherished among sports photographers. When our softball team won the West Regional Championship I had a great opportunity to get some great celebration shots. My favorite was taken while the team was just finishing their celebration with each other. I remember taking an overall shot of the team celebrating right after they got the final out of the game. I was going to continue with that shot I was forced to run over to the crowd of players myself due to the fact that a photographer from the Modesto Bee ran out onto the field with the team to celebrate, so that pretty much killed the overall shot of the team huddling together. But once I got into the mix I saw a great moment when Megan Law left the huddle, seemingly still in shock from what the team had just done. It was a great to see how thrilled the girls were that day.

award winning campus photo9. Class shots are always fun for me because I always love to capture true candid moments. It can be very challenging to get a good photo in some classes depending on the subject, but it’s always fun to work with the nursing department. They have a skills lab on campus which always makes for great photos. Usually I’m looking for shots of students laughing or having a good time in class, but in this situation students were intent upon learning how to properly use needles. I love how intense and curious everyone’s expressions are in this photo.

award winning campus photo10. I have to give credit to our web designer for this shot. She clued me in to the fact that there was some really good light coming through the skylight on the second level of the Demergasso Bava Hall building in the afternoon. I also lucked out when our student model, Desmond, decided to wear a read shirt and red shoes for the shoot which helped the photo “pop” even more. This was one of those shots where everything was set up for me in advance do to scouting, so once we had the right model and the right time of day, everything else just came into place.

award winning campus photo11. Every time I see this photo now I laugh because our Public Affairs specialist Don Hansen was shocked when he saw that I actually captured an image of this bird in flight. Although I like to downplay the fact I got the bird in flight… It did take patience to capture it. I stood out under one of our berry trees one day when a group of Cedar Waxwings were frantically eating what seemed to be all the berries off the tree. The hard part was that while there were so many birds to focus on, there were also a lot of branches and berries which made it difficult for me to find a clean background. I have hundreds of shots of the birds eating the berries while resting on a branch, but I had to wait until one of the birds got up near the top of the tree so I could frame them with the sky as my background. I didn’t even realize until I looked at the photo on my computer that the bird I got in flight also had a berry in it’s mouth as it flew away. Sometimes it helps to be a little lucky.

award winning campus photo12. I took a variety of “Student Spotlight” photos for our web-site. My favorite photo of the bunch was of Christina Costa, an art major who just graduated. We headed over to the art department to see what was available in the painting/drawing room. I’ve been in the room before to shoot some classes, so I knew there was a lot of window light available, but I got extra lucky on the day of the shoot. There were some painted canvases that were in the room which worked great as a background. All I had to do was pull over an easel from the side and then Christina did the rest. She was super relaxed about taking photos and I think that came across well in the photos we took.

award winning campus photo13. I don’t know any photographers who don’t enjoy shooting fireworks. At one of our “Fantastic Fourth” events I had scouted out a spot where I believed the fireworks would be easy to see between the trees and over our gazebo. Once the show started I wasn’t too far off. I had to move over about twenty feet or so to get a clear shot of the fireworks, but that was about it. After getting a few decent photos from that spot, I ran around our lake desperately looking for a different angle to capture the show. Nothing proved to look as good as the first spot I found so I eventually ran back to the same spot to get a few more photos before the show was done. Sometimes it’s best to go with your first instinct.

 

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