Size Still Matters

May 27, 2009 

Stamps may be worth 44 cents now, but seeing our photos run at that size seems pretty worthless. True, the two column width size, which is about as small as photos are published in the Herald, is about 3 1/2 inches wide, making it bigger than the average stamp. However, a wide-angle shot is just as unreadable at the two-column size as it would be if it had been slighted even further.

Sometimes these photos are crammed into such a tight space because the whole paper is being crammed into a smaller package. Or maybe the photo had to play second fiddle to a worse photo that is running with a more important story. But sometimes, we photographers scratch our heads, deep in commiseration, and at a total loss as to what we did for our photos to deserve such poor play.

Of course, this always happens to photos we like. No, it would be too convenient if these space issues happened on those dreadful days where good feature photos are nowhere to be found and we settle for the first semi-interesting thing we see (see: dog-walking, yard work, birds, etc.).

So in order to make me feel better, I’ll present a few recent shots I would have liked to see run much bigger.

Matthew Jennings, 10, a fourth-grader at Mesa Elementary, finishes the 10-meter wheelchair race at Special Olympics Washington's annual Tri-Cities Track Meet at Fran Rish Stadium in Richland, where 292 athletes representing 31 schools competed. Click here for more photos from the track meet.

Timothy Dalton, executive director of the Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership, removes tape from the newly unveiled statue, "Balancing the Wine," by Tim McClelland, left, during a ceremony on March 16.

There is one common thread between these photos in that they all have a pretty blue sky. I'm not sure if this element curses my photos to run small or if it’s proof that I'm a hack who leans on consistently interesting Mid-Columbia clouds as a photo crutch. Judging by the fact that the basketball photo shared the front page with my shot of wheat farmer Walt Neff:

I'd say the latter is more likely.

And while I’d like to conclude with a rebuttal to my self-deprecating assessment of my skills by showing off an AT photo of twin violinists Edward, left, and Andrew Chiou,

sharp eyes will catch Edward's distracting green wristband, which I am ashamed to say I missed during the shoot. The smaller tab format of our entertainment guide dictates how big photos can run on the inside, and while I wish it could have run bigger, the smaller size thankfully minimized the green eyesore.

It's a small consolation.

~~~~~

kyau@tricityherald.com
(509) 585-7205
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