Most years, our schedule rotations jive with athletic seasons. This helps you get into shooting shape and get a better sense of each sport's timing as the season progresses toward the more important competitions.
Unlike last year, the Pasco Invite was my first track meet of the season.
People like to say it's the biggest one-day track meet in the country, or in the western U.S., or that it's one of the biggest.
It's one of those local claims to fame that are hard to substantiate without an obsessive desire to do so, like how Rattlesnake Mountain is the tallest mountain without trees.
I've long detailed my love of shooting track, so I'll spare you the play-by-play. I didn't always get the cleanest background on Saturday because I couldn't get to the spot I wanted quickly and without disrupting race officials,
or because everything is going on at once and I chose to settle for the angle that doesn't jeopardize my ability to get shots of another local athlete:
Some people just jump in a way that didn't let me shoot from the angle you'd really like,
and sometimes I just didn't quite get low enough or time the shot just right:
Because the gallery was one of the most bloated I've ever produced, tipping the scales at 75 images, here's my actual edit from the day:
It was one of those rare assignments where I was happy with my take. Maybe the lack of preparation actually helped. Longtime readers know how neurotic I can be about my work, and I probably psych myself out going into big events like this. With a few more meets under my belt, I may have hesitated to shoot certain types of photos, afraid of repeating a particular technique so soon.
After five years on the job, it can be hard to approach the same subjects with fresh eyes, but the Pasco Invite was a reminder of how that approach can pay off. Here's hoping I can apply it to future shoots.
No cheeky segue this week...
The tragedy in Boston has captured everyone's attention this week, and there have been some interesting developments in the horrific photo coverage.
Time's Lightbox had a fast feature on Monday with Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki's account of covering the bombing, following it up with freelancer Bill Hoenk's take on Tuesday.
Tlumacki, who shot the iconic photo of three policemen springing into action that graced many front pages, including our own, noted that an officer had grabbed him as the chaos erupted and said, "Do me a favor. Do not exploit the situation." While I understand the cop's perspective and know there are some photographers who get excited about covering tragedy, the comment made me bristle.
For that thought to be at the forefront of an officer's mind during a crisis shows how adversarial the relationship between law enforcement and the media can be. I can't complain about working with local law enforcement for the most part, though I can remember one instance where an officer looked back to see where I was shooting from (a place he told me to stand at) before stepping over to ensure I was totally blocked from photographing the end result of a high-speed chase.
True, the police have an obligation to protect and serve the community, and I don't doubt that's usually the motivation for giving media the stiff-arm. I also know that there are some who simply don't respect the media's role in reporting and documenting the communities in which they work. Alex Garcia of the Chicago Tribune has a nice piece about the importance of professional photojournalists to document the world's horrors. I hope his column escapes the echo chamber of the photojournalism community nodding in approval and actually resonates with those who see us all as parasites.
And then there's the Daily News. Charles Apple noticed a digital cleansing of a gory photo that The Daily News ran on its cover (also by Tlumacki). Spokesperson Ken Frydman's argued that, "The Daily News edited that photo out of sensitivity to the victims, the families and the survivor. There were far more gory photos that the paper chose not to run, and frankly I think the rest of the media should have been as sensitive as the Daily News."
That's a pretty weak argument and as Apple noted: "If you can't stomach the gore, don't run the photo. Period." If it was truly out of sensitivity, why run the photo at all? It's still a horrific scene full of blood that they splashed the hyperbolic "Marathon Massacre" headline all over.
In other scumbag news, somebody already tried to sell an e-book of photos from the bombing. And if that isn't bad enough, they stole the images too.
One of the most gut-wrenching photos shows Jeff Bauman with severe injuries to both legs. I saw the photo early with his mangled lower legs in the foreground as he's wheeled toward medical attention. The New York Times cropped it from the bottom for this incredible story about how Bauman's father found out about his son's condition after family members told him about the photo and then seeing it for himself on Facebook.
And for a little break from Boston stuff, imagine winning a Pulitzer on your first day on the job.