News Columns & Blogs

Imagine the Paws-abilities!

While ending a feature hunt at one of the numerous city parks almost always feels like a cop-out, heading to the Paws-abilities Place off-leash dog park at Badger Mountain Community Park in Richland doubles that guilty feeling. Despite my love of Chocolate, leaning on adorable pups is even more professionally shameful than relying on cute kids. Plus there's only one off-leash dog park, so stopping there removes the paws-ability of returning any time soon.

In the two years the park has been open, I've shown great restraint in only visiting there three times. The first yielded a pretty boring snap of some pups playing:

My second trip was filled with the same basic puppy-pals kind of photos,

before Pippa gave me a fantastic expression while playing with the big dogs:

I didn't have much hope on a slow and cold (but not as cold as predicted) Wednesday this week when I dropped by, but I came across Christopher Meredith and Tom Garcia of Richland Parks and Recreation installing some new drinking fountains at the park. I've also documented my loathing of construction photos, but it was at least something marginally newsy on a very boring day.

I started with some run-of-the-mill shots,

while hoping somebody would bring some dogs into the mix. The park was still open during construction and Rita Kretzschmar's little dog Radar peeked through the fence to investigate the buffer between the big and small-dog areas:

Radar is lost in that ugly orange fencing, though, and I lurked around, making small talk and not making many pictures until the big dogs came to play.

Then a couple of English mastiffs came bounding in, saying hi to the crew and me:

More dogs came and started to play more actively in the construction site:

I kept the shutter speed on the slow side to emphasize their boundless energy, but their running didn't quite line up right:

After Winston came tearing through, the dogs pretty much stuck to playing among themselves, and this was the best frame I got from the scene:

I like it well enough, but I wish I could have gotten slightly better emotion from Christopher and Tom. They had already experienced some dog visits the day before, though, and seemed pretty used to the unusual working conditions. Part of me wanted to hang out a bit longer in hopes of some more canine chaos, but the other part knew I had other things on my plate. It was a fun little detour from the ordinary, however, and surprising scenes like these help keep this job interesting in the doldrums of slow winter news days.

I'll take slow over record lows, though...

Nicholas Simmons' family was able to find him after his photo appeared in USA Today. Simmons, 20, had been missing since New Year's Day and AP photographer Jacquelyn Martin captured him staying warm on a grate during the recent frigid weather. She shares her thoughts here.

No surprise that The Big Picture has a great edit of polar vortex photos from across the frozen temporary tundra. You may be surprised to learn that this viral photo was actually taken last year, however.

The FAA announced that using drones for journalism is prohibited after Jesse Tinsley at the Spokesman-Review used a drone for aerial footage of Spokane's Polar Bear Plunge. There will be some interesting legal battles ahead.

And be sure to check out Marcus Yam's thoughtfully striking triple exposures for the Seattle Times as he explores his new city. Simply wow.


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