Thursday, March 15, 2007
Speaking up and out
High-tech devices once seemed to go right along with pocket protectors and Poindexters, but now, anyone can shoot a high-quality photo or video and share it within moments. I-Reporter Mamadou Lamine Ndiaye aspires to take full advantage of technology to tell the story of his homeland in Senegal. He loves his 6.1 megapixel Nikon D50 SLR camera, which he has had since July 2006. Today he lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, but went back to Africa in early 2007 and hopes to do it again. He hopes to show people that his diverse continent is neither barren desert nor jungle. In his words, “Africa is not a country.”

In fact, he owes his presence in the United States in large part to a documentary he made in 2000 about the spread of rollerblading in Africa. He says the sport was relatively uncommon in Senegal until a skater from Gabon piqued the interest of peers there. Ndiaye was invited to visit the University of Evansville in Indiana, which eventually led to him coming to live in the United States. He currently is working on a documentary about Goree Island, once a transit point for slaves on their way to the Americas. He also continues to take still images. People are buying new devices that give them a growing ability to instantly share and communicate, he says.

"I think it's evolution, you know?" he says. "Everybody now can be a cameraman. Everybody can be a moviemaker because the technology is there. ... I think that's a good thing, and that's the evolution of everything. It's in every aspect of life. Who knows in two years if I'm still going to need this SLR?"

To see Ndiaye’s and other I-Reporters’ technology faves, check out our gallery of gadgets and gizmos. (View his online photo site)
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Fire on the ridge

When strong winds and flames turned the dry underbrush on an Orange County, California, hillside into a raging inferno, I-Reporters pulled out their cameras and documented the disaster.

Most were cautious, sending us great shots of the blaze from safe distances. See their efforts in our Anaheim Hills wildfire gallery.

Ethan and Eve Brown of Yorba Linda, California actually ran toward the burning ridge to capture video of the fire. Eva took the video, while Ethan directed the shots, stopping 100 feet from the flames, just south of Serrano Road in Weir Canyon. The burning chaparral in the canyon crackled so loudly, Eva says that “the flames sounded like rushing water.” She said that “the wind was bad,” driving the fire in their direction. Three helicopters hovered overhead dumping water on the area, so the Browns say they were never in any imminent danger.

Watch their video of the fire on the ridge.
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