Alachua Fall Harvest Festival

I was very nervous walking into my first photojournalism project. My photography skills are something that I am particularly self-conscious about, but the techniques that I have learned in visual journalism gave me the proper mindset while doing this project.

I choose to cover the Alachua Fall Festival because it gave many local artists the opportunity to showcase their work. Also because over the summer I worked as the public relations intern for UF’s College of the Arts, I felt thought that I would be more comfortable covering this event due to my experience interviewing artists. This way the photography element of this project would be the only thing that was out of my element per-se.

I had a note in my notepad with some of the key elements that we learned about to review as I took photos, so I could better evaluate my photos and give me ideas for my next photographs.

The note said:

“REMEMBER:

1. Simplicity

2. Rule of Thirds

3. Balance

4.  Framing

5. Leading lines

6. Avoid mergers

7. Take a scene setter / medium shot / portrait / detail shot / action shots”

I kept reminding myself of the goals of this project, so that I could achieve better results with my photographs.

One of the particularly difficult aspects of this experience was that I was unable to ask my subjects to move. As a journalist, it is unethical to stage photos, which would have made capturing particular moments that I wanted much easier. Although I didn’t capture some of the photos that I had in my head, I like the results that I had better because they were not staged. It caught people being their true selves. It was not my rendition of them as a model, but a more accurate project of what they were doing in the moment.

If I could do one thing over again, it would be take more photos. Although I took over 90 photos at the event, some turned out blurry, and some had merging. I tried to always look back at my photos and analyze what I was doing wrong and what I could do better, but I found out that I didn’t see most of my mistakes until I had got home and uploaded the photos to my computer. Next time, I will make sure to zoom in on my photos to get a better idea of the quality of my photographs. I perhaps overestimated my subpar photography skills or the small screen on my DSLR made the photos look a lot better than they really were.

Overall I really enjoyed this experience, and I hope to being doing more photo stories in the future. This experience has definitely helped me gain a deeper appreciation for photojournalism and the effort that goes along into capturing moments that help advance the story.

You can click the read more button below the photo gallery to read my story.

Fall Harvest Festival brings art, music and food to Alachua

The 12th annual Fall Harvest Festival in Alachua showcased local talent and culture.

Alachua is a small, historic city about 30 minutes outside of Gainesville. This event was free and open to the public.

There were over 200 vendors set up in booths or food trucks on Main Street from 11 a.m. until around 2 p.m.. This festival typically brings in around 7,000 people.

The Alachua Business Club is responsible for organizing this event every year, and this year, it hosted a raffle for their high school scholarship program and a music junction at the Fall Harvest Festival.

All items sold had to be handmade. Each item being sold had its own personal twist from the artist, but there was sense of unison among the art and food at the festival that spoke to the city’s unique culture.

Darlene Muto had a booth to showcase her painted portraits of horses that she felt a connection with like Chippy and Buster. Horses live all around her home and inspire her.

“I like to get to know my subject before I paint it,” said Muto. “Anything with a spirit, you can portray it more if you get to know the being.”

Moon Fish was a handmade jewelry booth by Candy Stravato, who grew up in Alachua but now studies at Savannah College of Art and Design. Although Stravato has only been making jewelry for a year now, it has turned into a lucrative side business due to the intricacy of her pieces.

Local food vendors, food trucks and farmers sold local and organic food from Alachua. Because it was the Fall Harvest Festival, many booths sold foods with pumpkin to go along with the fall theme.

The festival was suppose to last until 5 p.m., but the rain forced the vendors and visitors to pack up early around 2 p.m.. At least there is always next year.

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