Parks and blechreation

March 8, 2013 

Fruitless feature hunts have a way of ending up in parks, often with an audible sigh as I pull into the parking lot, dismayed that I had to settle for the easiest of go-to feature shot locations. On top of settling, you've also snatched up some low-hanging fruit that may be needed more in the coming slow news days, and photos there often rely just on the cute kid factor.

Sure, you can try (and fail) to stretch your creative muscles a bit with composition or conveying motion through slow shutter speeds,

but these shots most often revolve around regular moments that fit the slice-of-life nature of these photographs without providing anything satisfying that makes you want to look at the photo for more than a second. But other than this memorable moment at the spray park,

I had to dig through the archives just to find the two before it, with the majority of park pics stewing in a blurry pile of unremarkable work.

A stop at the Bombing Range Sports Complex in West Richland last week reminded me that interesting moments can happen at any time, especially during the most mundane of situations.

It started out with the usual cute kids moments,

before Jasper Cords, 5, hopped onto the neo-tire swing and started rocking it around:

I moved to a lower angle and got some shots of his face through the tire hole and liked how the light was hitting his face during very brief moments:

We ended up running this shot of him, which fellow staffer Paul T. Erickson and I liked best at the time because of his happy eyes and his mom's shadow along the gravel:

After some more time and feedback from others, I've gravitated more toward the first swing shot where the tire squares up nicely to frame his surprised little face as his mother's hand reaches in case of boo-boo. It's an unusual frame with some quirky, humorous elements and the sort of off-beat image I like to make.

So why didn't I turn it in for publication?

Maybe the traditional notion of what makes a newspaper photograph has been ingrained after five years on staff. If so, that's a scary thought. I like to think that I try to push the envelope and this is a good reminder to keep that drive alive.

Even when my drive ends at a playground.

Speaking of drive...

The Big Picture put together some photos of work by photojournalists 25 and under.

PDN announced its annual 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch.

The Image, Deconstructed shines a spotlight on Amy Toensing's engrossing frame of drought.

And this look at the difficulties of freelance writers could easily be about freelance photographers. Maybe shooters and scribblers aren't so different after all.

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