May 30, 2008

Contemplating Great Pictures

This photograph was made just before sunset on Friday, May 23, 2008. Coming across the causeway into Decatur I noticed the sun and haze. It is cool when you can make photos of the sun without getting flare or blinding yourself.

It just so happened the Marine Police were giving someone a warning or citation and happened to be pulling into the marina. I wish the bird were a little bigger, say like an egret or heron, but that is wishful thinking. It still is a solid photo.

While driving around on Tuesday my scanner kept letting me know there were flash flood warnings in the area. I called the reporter that covers the Lawrence County beat and she alerted me to a county road that sustained flooding.

As I drove up to the flooded storm drain that had left a three foot pool that stretched about one and a half miles and was about one thousand yards wide, I noticed residents stirring. One in particular was cordial to me and I asked her if everyone was OK, to which she replied "Yeah". I parked my car and got out to take a look around for any photo that could be made.

Just then the local TV station stopped in the middle of the road and jumped out like the Ghostbusters and started filming. The woman came over to them and talked for a moment but I thought it was a little unprofessional to have them jump in and A. have no human interaction (other than spelling her name correctly) with the woman, and B. Hello, I was here first!, but I digress.

A passer-by told me of more water across the road and after checking it out while driving back by the home origially photographed the woman was sitting on the car. I thought it was a good opportunity to make a photo of her that showed the essence of being in a flood. It doesn't have the grit and grime of her saving children or animals from class 5 rapids but it conveys the story and has a nice mood.

Priceville held its first annual womens basketball camp this week. I realized going in that the best photos to be made at this were of what happened after the drills were over. Right on cue these girls started acting natural and it made it possible to make a nice frame that captured the spirit of the event while preserving the moment photojournalists so covet.

While in college fate seemed to knock me over like a tidal wave in the summer of 2004. Dave LaBelle came to the University of Kentucky and changed my photographic life forever. I am deeply indebted to him for his tutelage on being a good human being and a better photographer. He published a book in the seventies called The Great Picture Hunt, it is the gold standard for feature photography.

I am proud to say I have a 16x20 original fibre paper silver gelatin print hanging on my wall of the cover photo for that book. It is a photograph of a baby judging contest in Kansas. It embodies the spirit of photojournalism and is a great inspiration as is "Cat Daddy". Now he lives in California with his wife and kids but every now and then I will see a photograph that reminds me of him and I try my best to nail it.

Case in point, the other day we were light on material for one of our sections and I went to a frequented fishing hole to see if I could catch something. There was a guy with purple hair and his girlfriend fishing and that was rich (in human interest), but the photo I chose to submit for publication was this one of the guy walking to put his big fish of the day into his bucket to take and eat for dinner.

There is a photo in Dave's book of a hunter carrying a bunch of duck decoys to a pond and remembering it I had to seize this opportunity.

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