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Back to the Feature Part III

I had hoped to find some sort of Western-themed feature spot for the third installment of my Back to the Feature series of blog posts, but will instead settle on a surprise return to the feature, much like Marty’s return to 1955 that startled Doc and made him faint.

OK, that’s a bit of a stretch, but having discussed the concept of returning to a potentially interesting site twice already (Part I and Part II), I felt a solid pop culture reference might save this column like a locomotive pushing a DeLorean to 88 mph.

Strike two

What’s different about this feature find is that it happened somewhere unexpected. A while back, I noticed an interesting driveway in west Pasco that had a little kid’s basketball hoop next to a regular one. I envisioned an aww-inducing shot of a baby baller playing alongside an older sibling or parent. I’d cruise by every now and then, but never happened upon anybody playing.

That all changed last Thursday, except that this home was about 40 blocks away. I was desperately trying to avoid settling for a lame bird photo when I came across Bobby Davis, right, Tujuan Colbray and Travis Davis playing a game of 21 in the street.

I had trouble finding a clean background and I was coming up blank on a creative angle to shoot this from, so I went for fun action shots since the three were in a pretty heated competition. All the while, I was keeping an eye on the tiny hoop, hoping that Bobby’s son Haden would start playing too.

At these times, it’s very tempting to nudge people in my desired direction. This was a shot I’d wanted to make for some time and here was a rare opportunity to make it. However, even a leading question (“Why aren’t you playing too?”) would be unethical. I resisted the urge and pretty soon Haden picked up his little ball to play. I moved position, but that only drew his attention to me:

Which was too bad at this particular moment because the background peak action was what I was hoping to capture along with Haden’s solo game. After playing my I’m-not-looking-at-you game with him, he focused on shooting, but my foreground and background never quite synched. I like this shot here:

But the lack of background action and Bobby’s backside so close to the central focus killed it. A second later, Tujuan took his shot, but Haden is captured during an awkward in-between moment.

After discussion with photographers Paul T. Erickson and Richard Dickin, we settled on this shot of Haden nearly mirroring his dad’s dribble:

Soon after this, the 2-year-old shifted his focus to kicking a shrimpy soccer ball around and the guys wrapped up their game. Tujuan and Travis held a pseudo dunk contest, with Travis completing a pretty impressive between-the-legs dunk:

The photo we ran is far from perfect. Aside from the messy neighborhood background, it was disheartening to not nail a shot with good action at both hoops. Of course, many of these factors are out of my control, so there’s no sense getting upset about missing the opportunity, but it’s still frustrating — kind of like how Marty must have been frustrated that Doc and Clara weren’t able to get into the DeLorean in time.

And I’m out


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