Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm Back, and Fishing for Photos

I came back from a wonderful week in Hawaii on my honeymoon with my beautiful wife. It was a fantastic week with photos to come as I sort through the 4,000 images I took. But on my return, I came back to a full days work waiting for me.

I came back to a full work load on Saturday. It was a typical Saturday with events needing to be covered throughout the day. I found myself heading up the hill to Paradise for a Kid's Fishing Day at Paradise Lake. I arrived later in the morning several hours after the 6am start. The thing about fishing is the fish are really biting early in the morning. By early afternoon they slow down with the heat. While searching around for a shot I realized I was committing the same actions as my subjects.

Lucien Pool, 3 (left) and Brian Pool (center) shield themselves from Evann Pool, 4 (right) as she casts her fishing line into the Paradise Lake in hope to snag a fish for Kids' Fishing Day on Saturday, April 18, 2009 in Magalia, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

I was "fishing" for my shot of the story. The kids would pick their spot, cast their line, and wait for a bite. I would do the same. Pick my spot, ready my camera and fire when I saw a bite (good shot). I would "catch" a good shot here and there but not the big one I was waiting for. I didn't have much time but I continued to search. Coming back from a week off, I was excited to spend a little more time being creative.

I walked the bank of the lake until I noticed a grandfather with his grandson. The shot was what I was looking for. It was very simplistic with the two individuals silhouetted by the blue water. I composed the shot and waited patiently to capture it as my subjects waited to catch their fish. I became a fisherman of images as I waited. The position was right but the actions from the subjects weren't quite there. I waited another ten minutes as both of them sat diligently in their chairs. I was hoping from one of them to stand up so that I could see the fishing pole in the image too.

Robert Flynn, 9 (left), waits patiently after casting his line into the Paradise Lake next to his grandfather Alan Reil, (right) in hope to snag a fish for Kids' Fishing Day on Saturday, April 18, 2009 in Magalia, CA. (Jason Halley/Chico Enterprise-Record)

As time continued to pass I realized my time was coming to an end. I was going to have to make my exit to a baseball game. I hadn't got the shot quite yet. I decided that I would hold out a little longer to see if I could get the shot I wanted. As I waited longer a man came up to me asking what I was doing. I told him the image I had in mind and he said, "Do you want me to ask them to stand?". I told him,"No, no. I don't set things up. It always eventually happens." And within 30 seconds the grandson stood up to cast his line in again. It was what I had been waiting for. I began to "reel" in the shot. "I got it. I got it" I thought to myself. It was like catching the big one.

Sometimes we photojournalists rush through assignments being pushed on deadline. It is always good to be patient and take the time to fish out the shot you want. You'll be pleased with the result. It is never about firing off 300-400 adequate images. Take the time to search out those few original images that bring a new vantage point to everyone's view.

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