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Chico State

Behind the Lens (of a Smartphone)

Post, Kate

Earlier this year, we announced the launch of the official Chico State Instagram account (@ChicoState), and it’s taken off like a rocket. There is so much beauty on campus and around town, and the photo sharing app gives us an opportunity to capture it at a moment’s notice and broadcast to all our students, alumni and friends. But since our Public Affairs staff and intern can’t be everywhere at once, we’ve enlisted the help of two special contributors.

Meet Michael Alonzo and Frank Rebelo!

Michael Alonzo shying away from the camera.

Michael (@mealonzo) is the supervisor of grounds and landscape for CSU, Chico. He graduated from Chico State in 2008, with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, option in plant science. He has worked in the golf and landscape industry since 1996, which brought him full-circle to the Facilities Management and Services (FMS) department at Chico State.

Frank Rebelo planning his next Instagram photo.Frank (@frankrebelo) graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences, option in atmospheric science. He began using Instagram for fun and for his position at The Orion, which led him to start an unofficial Chico State account as a side project to show past, present and future students our beautiful campus.

We sat down with Michael and Frank for a few minutes to get to know them better.

What interests you most about taking pictures?

Michael Alonzo: First, a lot of people walk around with their faces glued to their phones /devices who end up missing all the neat stuff that is around them, just right there in front of their distracted faces (something I am also guilty of). I find it fun to take a picture of the ordinary, shot from a not-so-ordinary angle or vantage point, and share it with those who would otherwise walk right by it. Secondly, I have always been drawn to art. Going back to the days of finger-painting, I always had to have some sort of artistic outlet in order to stay sane. Frank Rebelo captures the Holi Festival of ColorsTaking and sharing photos with the Instagram community has become one of my favorite outlets.

Frank Rebelo: Through photography, I can capture moments that may be either too small or too fast for someone to normally notice, and by sharing the final photo, I can hopefully elicit the same emotion I experienced when it happened.

What is most fun or interesting about photographing Chico State?

MA: I find the historic features of Chico State fun to photograph, as well as the inner-workings of the facilities that FMS is responsible for. I have been given a unique campus viewpoint. I try and relate our work here to the folks who work at Disneyland, where our behind-the-scenes work keeps the show running on a daily basis.

FR: The best part about photographing Chico State is that it gives me total artistic freedom. It challenges me to find something new or overlooked about the campus that I can show – and hopefully surprise – someone.

What is your preferred way of taking photographs—film, a digital camera, on your phone?

Michael Alonzo takes in the flame statue in Alumni Glen.MA: My favorite way to take photographs is with a digital SLR, but my go-to camera is my iPhone. The candid nature and gritty feel of a camera phone is hard to beat sometimes.

FR:I prefer taking pictures with my DSLR, although, my iPhone 4S challenges me to use something that everyone has in a new way to capture something different.

What is your favorite Instagram filter?

MA:I usually edit all my photos with one of several apps or even stack several apps on top of each other to get the picture I see with my mind’s eye. My favorite mobile apps are Snapseed, Noir and ColorSplash.

FR: I do not particularly like using filters, though I might use Mayfair, or the faux HDR, to help achieve the look or feel that I am looking for.

Which Chico State Instagram photo you’ve taken do you like the best? What do you like about it?

Big Chico CreekMA:My favorite Instagram photo is the first one I posted for the official feed. It is a serene picture of Big Chico Creek, as is winds past Selvester’s. I was almost standing in the water under the Gus Manolis bridge. I took that photo with a digital SLR and did all the editing on my phone. I was there between classes, so there was no one around, no one making a sound and only faint ripples can be seen on the water.

First Street PromenadeFR: My favorite photo is from Feb. 7, 2013. It is a photo looking past the PAC looking down [the First Street Promenade]. To me, it almost looks ethereal. During a break in some rainy weather, we got some much needed sun. I hope that people who saw my photo, stopped to take a moment between classes and admire our campus.


Check out Michael and Frank’s photos and keep in touch with the University scene by following @ChicoState on Instagram.