News Columns & Blogs

Happy Birthday, BtF

It's been one year since I posted my first photo blog, and to be quite honest, I'm surprised that I was able to maintain my self-imposed weekly deadline, even future publishing items for when I'm gone on vacation.

Yay me!

When I started out, I optimistically dreamed of explaining the nuances of this job to readers and people in the community. Photojournalism is not widely understood as a profession and many hobby photographers fancy themselves authorities on the subject because they’ve snapped a great photo or two. More often than not, however, people who are trying to be helpful to us on the job end up making things harder by staging photo opps or notifying our subjects that they are being surreptitiously photographed and should therefore turn and “Smile!”

These gripes are most often recirculated within the choir as we commiserate like tortured artists.

Nobody understands us.

As the monthly web traffic reports came out, however, it became very clear that the majority of my readers were friends, family and co-workers. And while I immensely appreciate everyone's support, it's hard not to feel like I failed a little. Still, it has been a cathartic outlet for me, and I enjoy sharing outtakes and stories while feeding the wannabe columnist inside me with ethical discussions on current photo-related events or my own firsthand experiences.

Last week’s entry wandered into territory I always wanted. It was too bad it had to involve tragedy, but I felt like some worthwhile discussion came out. I even received some direct emails, including one good discussion with a reader who still disagreed, but did so respectfully.

Here's hoping that sort of dialogue can continue.

Now, I'll share some photos I had set aside for blog items at one point or another, but have remained unused. I've long since forgotten the originally intended topics for some. Others only have short anecdotes attached and aren’t cool enough to show off without a theme. But since I now write once a month for the Herald’s Get Green blog, I feel they shouldn’t go to waste.

First up is a shot of drum major Kristin Branton squirting lime juice into David Richmond's mouth as Kristen Miles looks on before the Richland High School Marching Band took the field during the 2008 Cavalcade of Bands competition. Members receive a squirt of both lime and lemon juice, which not only keeps their mouths from drying out, but mirrors the school's colors, green and gold.

I think I planned on using this as a cheeky photo pun to go with some silly conclusion about how a situation left a bad taste in my mouth, but that probably wouldn’t have made sense or been funny, so it will live here now.

Next is another shot that is more than a year old.

Lorraine McLean from Columbia Basin Dive Rescue works with Barb Bodin, left, of the Mason County coroner's office to reenact possible scenarios of a drowning death during a training exercise at HAMMER. This scene was based on a real case and featured actual photos from the scene and an instructor playing the role of the victim's mother.

I like this shot, but there’s no real story behind it, just like this goofy outtake from last year’s rodeo.

This next shot of Jasmine Jones of Franklin High School after she tripped over a hurdle during the 2008 state championships in Pasco was going to be a part of either “You Don’t Need Photos of That” or “You can’t win them all,” but didn’t end up fitting in quite right.

An interesting side note was that Herald photographer Rich Dickin proved his psychic abilities before we both shot this race by lining up in the correct lane and telling me he had a feeling somebody was going to trip during the race.

A good caption tells you more than is obvious in the photo, which is why I was so disheartened when my submitted caption — Thomas Forsythe, 8, of Burbank, tells a story Wednesday about a nearby horse's earlier digestive mishap while his sister Sarah, 10, pets Rosie — was cleaned up to "tells a horse story."

I thought I had cleverly explained Forsythe's facial expression, but perhaps that was still a little too gross for print.

I was sad to see this next portrait not make it onto the cover of AT, our weekly entertainment guide, after getting trumped by a national act which was coming to town.

Singers Cathy Kelly, right, Trish Thompson and piano player Steve Haberman comprise Bluzette.

There's not much of a story behind this photo except that I worked pretty hard at it, partially because my studio lighting skills are lacking, but I liked the weird reflection of Haberman and thought it looked like he was a painting.

Next is a photo from an orchard fire in south Kennewick from a couple weeks ago. I like the crazy effects that heat can have on light:

And finally, I have a weather feature that never saw print. I had planned on writing about how most weather features show people doing certain activities, which in turn inform the viewer about yesterday’s weather. This snap actually showed the weather in progress:

Winds up to 20 mph push dark clouds northward as Rudy Garcia of Pasco walks along the Sacagawea Heritage Trail in Pasco. Garcia opted to hop off the bus a few stops early to walk home. "I just like to walk on the trail when the weather is nice," he said. "Wonderful weather today." Expect similar conditions today, with cloudy skies, a 50 percent chance of rain and southwest winds from 10 to 20 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Sadly, it was similar to a shot that had recently ran featuring a silhouetted figure walking in front of the cable bridge and we had plenty of art for the day.

So there it is, a ho-hum ending to a ho-hum birthday blog that falls short of the once secret grandiose expectations I had for my pet project. If you feel Behind the Fold deserves a better present than this, it really likes being introduced to new people.


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