Looking forward

5/20/07: Sean Hooley with the Bozos Frog Team jumps his frog Love Stinks at the frog jump finals at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee in Angels Camp. His distance was 14-feet, 4-1/2-inches (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens Nikkor 80-200 @ 130mm. Exposure: 1/1000th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 320).

There’s nothing like newspaper photography for the diversity of assignments one can get. Day-to-day, one can get a myriad of varied things to shoot. From taking a portrait of the mayor to covering a structure fire to photographing a high school volleyball match, it can, and often does, happen in less than a day. It’s part of the appeal of daily photojournalism.

6/14/07: Brothers Jesus Gonzalez, 11, left front , and Martin Gonzalez, 14, with sister Ana Gonzalez, 16, left rear, and their cousin Lupe Gonzalez, 12, all of Atwater, ride on the roller coaster on the midway at the San Joaquin County fair in Stockton (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 200).

On the other hand, there are annual events, such as the Asparagus Festival, the Calaveras Frog Jumps, high school graduations, prep sports and many others that occur like clockwork every year. The challenge is how to make fresh photographs of them and still make them relevant to the readers.

8/31/07: Stockton Ports players Steve Kleen, left, Lloyd Turner and Frank Martinez warm up under partly cloudy skies before the start of the first game in a four game home stand against the Visalia Oaks at the Stockton Ballpark in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/500th sec. @ f/16. ISO: 200).

To be sure one has to keep an eye out for the unusual or unique, but experience can help. One can be jaded when shooting the local festival for the umpteenth time, but a rethinking of what has worked in the past and even figuring out how make past failures into workable images can help to keep the creativity alive. Knowing where you’ve been can help to show where you’re going.

5/7/08: Stockon police officer Richard Fields sings “God Bless America” at the Stockton Police Department’s annual memorial for county law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/200th sec. @ f/3.5. ISO: 100).

4/25/08: Richard Marchini with the California Asparagus Commission explains to Jing Jun Jin of Fujian, China, how asparagus in grown and harvested at the commission’s display at the annual Asparagus Festival in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/8. ISO: 100).

Although the events remain the same, the people are different. Even though I may have covered an event for years, there are those who are there for the first time. I try to photograph it through their eyes, as if I haven’t seen it before.

9/18/09: Tracy’s Depray Celestine, left, and Jordan Strong pray together before the start of a varsity football game against Manteca at Tracy High (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens Nikkor 300mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/2.8. ISO: 1600).

I’m not saying I’m perfect. There have been many times where I’ve moaned and groaned about shooting an event for the bazillionth time and there have been other times where I’ve come back to the office, looked at my photos and kicked myself with shoulda-woulda-couldas. But once I’m there, I’m constantly looking for something different, new angle, or at least a telling moment.  For me, the very act of searching for pictures is what keeps the creativity and enthusiasm going within me.

Graduates Donnie Hall, left, and J.R. Sanchez wave to the audience as they march in at the start of Franklin High graduation ceremonies at the Stockton Arena in downtown Stockton (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/250th sec. @ f/5.6 w/ Elinchrome strobes. ISO: 400).

The new year has been rung in so let of the 2009 introspections be over and done with, it’s now time to look forward to the year’s new and returing possibilities.

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