Clicking against the wind

April 12, 2013 

A rainy forecast for last Sunday turned into a windstorm as reporter Loretto Hulse and I went out to the annual Kite Festival in Richland. I figured that the winds, strong though they were, wouldn't deter the hardcore fliers from flaunting their stuff for the colorful feature.

We arrived at an empty Columbia Point Park. Murrel Petry of Richland was waiting in his car and came over to tell us we had just missed a father and son losing a small kite to the wind. Loretto went to interview them, but the kite was done and so were they. I snapped one anyway, knowing full well a shot like this would not work for the paper:

Soon, the Aguirra family showed up wondering where everybody was. They sent a small kite up, but patriarch Juan said that was the biggest kite he was willing to fly in the windy weather. I wasn't able to get anything too interesting of their flying, and I started worrying our front-page story was going to implode:

Lenny Gamboa and her son Emi, 9, however, saved the day. Emi had the energy to keep chasing around their floundering kite, and since it was their first time flying, there were plenty of opportunities to capture them. Without a ton of kites to work with,

kite flying can be tricky to shoot. It's easy to get wide shots like this as flyers let out a little line,

but those are boring. You also can get the release while it's low and hope for some emotion or nice kite positioning:

Emi gave some nice spastic reactions as the high winds whipped their little butterfly around, and he kept calling it a monster:

It was tough not to overwhelm the photo gallery with these and other funny little moments.

For print, I ended up going with this reaction as he jumped to avoid one of several dive bombs:

That, coupled with this shot of Pete Jones retrieving his flag, summed up the failed festival best:

Jones' flag zoomed more than 100 yards after a big gust snapped the line, and together, the two showed how veteran kite flyers like Jones and newbies like the Gamboas were all struggling on the difficult day.

And while it was disappointing to not have a sky full of kites to shoot in typical festival fashion, the sparse showing made it easier to zero in on the good subjects. Sometimes it can be overwhelming at boisterous events to figure out who best to spend your time with and it's easy to succumb to the fear of missing something better when you should be working a particular scene a little longer to get strong frame.

For a much better example of this concept...

Pop on over to The Image, Deconstructed for a look at an amazing rally photo by Pete Marovich. Talk about a lightgasm.

Check out these drive-by portraits by L.A.-based Johnny Tergo.

Thomas Sauvin has an interesting project rescuing discarded negatives from a Chinese recycling center.

The New York Times has an update on so-called "Ag-Gag" bills around the country that seek to criminalize surreptitious video taken to expose animal cruelty.

Martin John Callanan has a big look at small currency.

And if you think being a pro photographer is fun and easy, check out this interesting infographic detailing the pitfalls of jumping from amateur to professional.

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