Hanford (re)tour

March 15, 2013 

Well, that didn't take long. After noting the strange joy in working alongside a media horde a couple weeks ago during Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden's visit to Hanford, I found myself in a deep sea of loathing during Gov. Jay Inslee's trip last week.

News of more leaking tanks increased media attention, with 33 people nearly filling a full-sized bus. Access was even more limited on this tour, which featured fewer locations and more waiting.

Tom Fletcher, assistant manager of tank farms, probably enjoyed the experience even less as reporters mobbed him, while we ambled around the PPE (personal protective equipment) Free zone at the Waste Treatment Plant:

The PPE Free Zone was a pen, fenced off in the middle of the buildings at the WTP, and the same setup we had when Sen. Wyden visited. Here's an interactive panorama so you can experience the excitement:

As annoying as it was to be stuck in there instead of accompanying the governor, it's understandable. He already had a sizable entourage with him and a herd of media jockeying for position around him would have been a huge liability at the construction site. Instead, we shuffled around like meerkats, making small talk, snapping file photos and shooting B-roll while waiting for the VIPs to pass by. Each time there was an apparent sighting, we'd all pop into high alert and scurry around to get our shots, and my best frame was pretty much the same as one I made two weeks prior:

Much of the day was spent aboard the bus, with questions and answers being shouted and sent out on the PA system. Here's Northwest News Network's Anna King recording audio from the speakers and KVEW's Josh Peterson, left, strains to look toward the front of the bus alongside a visiting journalist:

Things were even rougher on the visual side, as we weren't allowed to get off the bus for photos of T Tank Farm and TY Tank Farm, where the suspected leaking tanks are:

T Tank Farm

TY Tank Farm

And unlike last time, when the driver pulled the bus around so we could get shots of the only officially suspected leaker at that time, T-111,

the dirty windows didn't open this time, blocking the rain from Natasha Bedingfield's skin and me from clear shots, especially as we rambled by at 15 mph with everybody getting into everybody else's way:

Thankfully, there was some more activity at C Tank Farm than before,

and an interesting moment as the governor chatted with Tom Fletcher,

before the press conference, which fewer than 100 people felt the need to listen to on my video:

And with few opportunities to even play with my Hipstamatic on this assignment,

some of the most fun I had was the brief feeling of importance while standing at the podium to shoot this iPhone panorama of the governor's view:

It was a frustrating but expected situation. Having been on several trips out to Hanford, I cringed as soon as I heard Annette Cary and I would be two of the 33 on board and braced for such a day. Still, had this trip happened independent of or merely just a few months after Sen. Wyden's visit, I probably would have found the media circus more interesting. Here's hoping we get a little time before the new Secretary of Energy swings through town.

For a story about somebody who's really got it tough...

Check out how difficult it can be as a freelance photographer over at Petapixel. Daniel Rodrigues had to sell his camera off last year to pay the bills, but his fortunes have turned for the better. What did it take? Oh, just winning first place in World Press Photo's Daily Life category.

No big deal.

Photographer Jonathan Hwang shot some unique proposal photos in a dangerous beach setup. I'm sure the couple will treasure those photos forever, but they were all lucky nobody was seriously hurt or killed.

Too much of a buzzkill for you? Then check out this BTS with Greg Heisler about the striking portrait he shot of Alonzo Mourning to bring back your happy.

And you have probably already seen this by now, but it's just too great of a portrait series not to share. Gabriele Galimberti traveled the world to photograph children with their toys. Not only are they beautifully shot, with a classically timeless feel to the lighting, posing and composition, but the subject matter is pretty telling.


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