Harker journalism program hosts Summit High School journalists for photography class


Irina Malyugina

Director of Journalism Ellen Austin explains the fundamentals of DSLR photography to visiting journalism students from Summit High School. The Summit students arrived during lunch and stayed through third period, where they participated in a photo scavenger hunt with Harker students.

by Arushi Saxena and Sara Yen

Encapsulating a fairy tale aura, a colorful gnome figurine stands out in defined focus in contrast to the blurrier leafy surroundings, an effect produced by bokeh, the out-of-focus result in photos using certain lenses.

Students captured this mystical woodland scene in a joint scavenger hunt between the journalism program and Summit High School’s journalism program, who came to visit the upper school on Feb. 24.

After meeting at a journalism conference, Liz DeOrnellas, the adviser of Summit High School’s journalism program and Ellen Austin, Harker’s Director of Journalism, decided that organizing field trips where their two staffs could interact would be a good way to start cross-school collaboration.

“It is always really inspiring to see people being able to collaborate together. We’re really grateful for Ms. Austin, helping us out with some of her photography expertise,” DeOrnellas said. “[I hoped] that this experience would be a good mix of learning technical skills, but also the ability to meet other dedicated student journalists in of itself is a really good opportunity.”

Student journalists from the Summit School arrived during lunch, where they were divided into small groups, with two students assigned to three to five Harker journalists. After getting lunch, they sat down to look through copies of the Winged Post, the upper school’s student newspaper, while both staffs got to know each other.

After lunch, students from the visiting school attended third period journalism, where they participated in a photo scavenger hunt where they were able to practice modulating the different functions of DSLRs, digital single-lens reflex cameras. Working with Harker journalists to adjust settings and refine their camera skills, Summit journalists brushed up on old skills and acquired new ones too.

“[My] main takeaway was that there’s a lot more that I need to learn about aperture and shutter speed and depth-of-field that I should probably refresh myself on,” Keith Dinh, a junior from Summit High school, said.

After their photo exercise, Summit students recapped their day at the upper school and waved their new friends goodbye as they departed at the beginning of fourth period. Eric Fang (12), the editor-in-chief of the Winged Post, expressed the benefit of meeting other students and schools.

“It’s a really good chance to interact with other schools and learn what other people are doing outside of our own staff and listen to their ideas and how their staff operates as well,” Eric said.