I've often lamented how my favorite images don't make it into the paper. Sometimes, it's a failure to sell my visual experimentation to the word-driven boss types. Other times, it's just part of balancing the tortured artist in my heart with the community journalist in my head.
Cross country most often falls firmly in the second category.
I enjoy shooting the sport for the most part. Not only are there pretty landscapes to work with, but these athletes push themselves to nutty limits. It also can be a physical challenge to shoot, planning your shooting spots, figuring out the shortest routes to take and sprinting to a spot fast enough to catch your breath before the runners show up, lest your labored heaves blur your photos.
One annoying thing is how often your favorite shot doesn't make it in print, though.
The weather during last week's MCC dual-meet bonanza at Lawrence Scott Park in Kennewick had this scene from Best in Show running through my mind as I snapped some silly and decent preparation photos,
before succumbing to my weakness of wanting to shoot into the sun for some pretty flare,
snapping some general wide-angle action,
and of course the tired aftermath:
Apologies to Tony Overman for the inadequate explanation of the port-a-potty photo. I'm just weird, I guess.
When it came time to pick a photo for the paper, sports wanted to highlight the individual win by Richland High's Lindsey Bradley. I had tried to get some sort of environmental shot of her running once her lead became clear, but this miss is the best I got:
The background is pretty blah, there's a stupid pole coming out of her head and the focus is a little off, so I went with the cut-and-dry (read: boring) snap of her cruising to the finish, unchallenged:
It's basically an action mug shot, and knowing that there's always an easy fallback at the finish line frees me up to experiment a bit more during the race. My actual favorite came during the boy's race, though, as I worked some long shadows and slow shutter speeds for this:
And though it's easily my favorite from the day, it doesn't feature any of the top performers. With how infrequently we photograph cross country, it wouldn't be fair to the kids who work hard throughout their careers to miss out on a little coverage when we are there.
Artsy fartsy inclinations be damned.
It's been kind of a hectic week and I didn't devour online photo content this week...
So I'll just wish Chief Official White House Photographer Pete Souza a blissful marriage. It's off to a pretty special start, as he and Patti Lease had the privilege of exchanging vows in the Rose Garden at the White House last Saturday.