A certain amount of luck is needed when cruising for feature photos. The trifecta of light, moment and composition is necessary for a great photo, though sometimes we have to settle for as few as one component.
The logistics of producing the daily paper means that the vast majority of these feature hunts take place during harsh midday sun. The numerous parks in town are always a good go-to, but we tire of photographing park activities, just as you probably tire of seeing them.
Aside from the parks, there are few areas with numerous people out and about. Add the sprawling layout of the Tri-Cities, and this means we drive many miles in search of something going on — especially during school and work hours. Sometimes you spot something interesting only to have it end while you're finding a place to park.
During these miles, you'll notice some cool settings that may yield future features. You'll revisit these places many times in the hope that something will join this compositional element the next time you stop by.
The first such location I noticed as an intern in summer 2007 was Grigg’s Department Store in Pasco. Its bright paint job, wacky, yet simple, was an instant draw to my eyes — numb from the earth tones that pervade the area.
The only problem was I had no idea what kind of picture I could make from it. Some cool spots stand out because they have pockets of light. And while my skill at fully utilizing these settings needs improvement, I at least know that a person walking through the right light or shadow will make a cool frame.
I continued to cruise by the spot regularly and finally found Hermenegildo Sanchez power washing the building and sidewalk in April:
And he was even wearing a yellow rain suit. Purple galoshes and golden light would have been even better, but I can't complain. It’s not an amazing photo, but it’s simple, clean and colorful — a nice departure from what I usually shoot. Maybe I'll have an opportunity in the future to make something better out there, but for now, it feels good to have lucked out and seen my no-plan to fruition.