Overload

July 22, 2010 

Many factors come into play when selecting photos for publication. And though the nature of community journalism means we usually cover the same events every year, we try not to overload on any particular subject or person.

There are exceptions, however, and last Friday kicked off one such example. The final day of Washington State University Tri-Cities's weeklong animal science camp featured demonstrations by the Columbia Basin Dog Training Club. This shot of DeAnn Nelson leading Poppy, her Cardigan Welsh corgi, through a standard agility course was a basic sum-up-the-event kind of shot:

but I pushed for this shot of Maysen Chelin, 7, leading Grayson Guerrero, 8, through a simulated agility course as the main (bigger) photo of the two because it’s semi-funny and a little different than what you’d expect to see at something like this:

The next day, we got a last-minute call letting us know that former Olympian and Oklahoma State wrestling coach Eric Guerrero was teaching a clinic at Chiwana High School. I started with some basic clinic shots:

but really wanted to try framing Guerrero with the wrestlers. I almost succeeded with Stevie Garza, 17, left, of Othello, and Austen Silvers, 16, of Pasco:

Guerrero is blinking, though, and the butt shot of Garza is too dominant. I could tell the clinic was drawing to a close with these centralized demonstrations, so I was excited when Guerrero crouched closer to the action and I captured this shot of him closely watching Cole Skramstad, 13, of Touchet, left, and Colten Chelin, 10, of Kennewick:

When I went to get the younger wrestlers' names, Colten's father, Kamiakin High School principal Chris Chelin, made a comment about how Colten had already met his newspaper appearance quota. I thought he was referring to Maysen's appearance in the faux agility course shot, but it turns out Colten was also in Saturday's "Your Outdoor Adventures" showing off a 22-inch rainbow trout he caught.

"Cripes!" I thought as I weighed my options. Two days in a row with three photos of the Chelin kids seemed like a bit much. On the other hand, I wasn't thrilled with the rest of my take. Besides the shots I showed above, I had one of Chiawana wrestling coach Jack Anderson presenting Guerrero with some Riverhawk keepsakes:

It's a serviceable shot, but boring. The only other option was another frame from Garza and Silvers' demonstration:

It's publishable, but the emphasis isn't on Guerrero. Ultimately, I decided to complete the Chelin hat trick, figuring that most people wouldn’t notice anyway. While principal Chelin is somewhat of a public figure, I don’t think he's famous enough for his children's names to stand out when published.

The connections continued as I learned that Guerrero was engaged to Kristen Blair, a former Miss Tri-Cities who was in town to co-host the 50th anniversary Miss Tri-Cities pageant that I was covering later that day. I found myself shooting much more of the pageant than I had anticipated since the program went about 1 1/2 hours long.

Had I realized this earlier in my arrival, I would have pushed to get some better access, photographing some of the backstage and behind-the-scenes aspects of the show. That, plus the fact that I had never seen a pageant like that in person meant I mostly photographed what was going on on-stage. I did manage to get a shot of the judges in their dark pit, however:

And Richard Rogers hamming it up with former Miss Tri-Cities winners made for a fun shot:

Plus, I had to get a shot of reporter Kristi Pihl for my crowd-pleasing "Some Jerks I Know" Facebook album:

But other than those, the rest were just run-of-the-mill stage shots, essentially hunting for peak action, good expressions and decent compositions, all culminating in the moment when Adrienne Bousquet was crowned the new Miss Tri-Cities:

On Sunday, after covering the Cirque du Q Pride Parade, Kristi and I were meeting with Bousquet for the Herald’s annual meet-the-new-miss story. Feeling like I had squandered my chance at covering the pageant in an interesting way, I really wanted to shoot something different for the follow-up. After shooting a basic studio shot of Bousquet just in case my idea didn’t work out:


we headed to Columbia Park in Kennewick to wrangle some extras to help illustrate Bousquet's platform of Girls on the Run — an organization that encourages healthy and active lifestyles through running for pre-teen girls. I was revisiting a portrait technique I used for Angie Ash's MLK Spirit Award win:

and wanted a blur of little girls running behind Bousquet. Rounding up enough extras took more effort than I thought, even with Bousquet's help, and as the process dragged on I had to scramble to find a suitable location. I opted for a shady spot of path next to the Playground of Dreams not only to help keep my little models cool, but also to help me get a slow shutter speed without having to stop my aperture down to its smallest size. Plus, the shade helped by letting me pop a little flash onto Bousquet to make her stand out from the crowd. After some confusion about how fast I wanted the girls to run:

and realizing I needed a few more girls to help fill up the background:

I rushed out to find a few more. The heat mixed with young attention spans and I ended up losing a couple in the process, but a few hurried sales pitches to parents later, I had my crew and we got the shot:

While I'm pretty happy with out it turned out, the shot leaves a few things to be desired. With better planning, I would have preferred more girls filling the right side of the frame and a spot where I didn't have the bright spot of grass to deal with. For a last-minute shoot in harsh midday sun, however, I can't complain too much.

I enjoyed my Monday and Tuesday off before kicking off my long Water Follies work stretch with the annual Sandy’s Trophies Kiddies Parade.

I usually like to shoot subjects like these in context with either the judges or the crowd, but in this case, Miss Tri-Cities and her court were the judges and the crowd was in a much brighter area than the contestants. Still, I tried to shoot both, including these shy ballerinas:

And Xavier Zavala, 9, of Pasco, strolling by the judges as Robin with Carmel, aka "Wonderdog," which was a double overload since it also included a kid and a dog:

I ended up going for color and motion, blowing out the back light for the shot we ran:

I doubt we'd get any complaints about running too many pictures of Miss Tri-Cities, but to focus on her and the organization so much in succession would be a bit much, especially with a whole year of appearances for her leading up to the Miss Washington pageant and next year’s Miss Tri-Cities. And while the wealth of cute kids and dog stories in the Herald might lead some to believe otherwise, we really do try and spread our coverage around the community.

~~~~~

kyau@tricityherald.com
(509) 585-7205
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