Hooked on a feeling, feature
Last Sunday I was on call and the only photographer on the clock. Thus meaning I would most likely shoot one or two assignments and wait around in case anything like an explosion or something happened.
All morning and afternoon things were very slow; nothing much happening. It sort of was like watching a Nascar race. Everyone loves the race itself, but deep down inside they are bored and waiting for the 23 car pile up in turn three. Fire, smoke and dismantled tires. The works.
I on the other hand was sitting at home bored, waiting for a phone call. Since cover had already been determined, my likely hood of remaining assignments was significantly narrowed. I also knew that I had shot an assignment running for Monday too, so that was taking at least one main section of the paper.
Although I would never wish harm on anyone, the long afternoon of watching TiVo’d episodes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations was becoming lackluster.
Gear ready, I was hoping for some sort of photographic action to spark my day.
Then the phone rang. My heart stopped. I almost felt guilty before picking up the phone because in my head all morning and afternoon I had wanted at least one assignment.
Thankfully it wasn't an explosion, a car accident or police stakeout. They were looking for a feature to fill a void, but needed it turned around quickly. One-hour.
Living in Harford County, where I've never actually went feature hunting on purpose, I tried to quickly come up with places indigenous to the area that would showcase someone having a good time.
Since the weather was seasonably high, I knew people would be outside.
My very first idea was to go to the local swim club where pools in Maryland had opened for the first time for summer, as they always do over Memorial Day weekend.
Then I pondered something Memorial Day themed. Finding an event within a 15 minute radius would probably waste time instead of using effectively searching by foot or car.
So I hopped into my car and drove to the one place I knew people would be out: Rocks State Park. Whether they were grilling out, viewing the King and Queen Seat or fishing in the water, I was sure to find people having a good time.
On my way there, I was thinking of a nice image of someone at the lookout point, but I had taken that picture many times, and long before my start in newspapers. I negated that preconceived image.
When I got there, I saw many people by the water. Perfect. It combines my first idea of swimming children and this green wonder-world of nature.
I quickly began shooting as a couple dangled their feet in the brisk-cold water and another group viewed the one rapid of the roadside river. Conversely, as I always do when feature hunting, the first few images I make are not so much insurance as a warm up. I know they aren't the strongest and always know I'll find something better.
As I continued downstream, I stumbled across a group of eight people from Elkton. I watched them from a far at first, shooting some random frames. I then approached them and overheard a couple guys of the group say they were going swimming. Awesome.
They made their way toward the calm waters and after dipping their feet in the water, opted not to swim anymore. Then it caught my eye.
Two of the group members had hiked way ahead of the pack and were surfacing onto an island rock. I started shooting, as the green reflection of leafy trees on the water grabbed my eye. The submerged rock was also a nice visual as I began metering off the water for my exposure.
Since the water was knee to waist deep, they pulled themselves up onto the rock, and I got a couple nice frames. Then for a split second, I saw the girl put her hand around the guy’s hip. I refocused and composed and she hugged him.
OK, that was cute I thought. Then right as I went to chimp (look at the back of the camera at my image made) she moved her hand to his arm and then lunged in for a kiss. I reacted and got three frames off, luckily catching the lip-to-lip peak action of the kiss.
I knew this worked, so I made my way down stream, from rock to rock, to record their names.
At this point I had a 10 more minutes to shoot, before I would have to transmit. So I made one more image of a rock climber near the top. Not as strong, so I called it day.
I moved both images and was glad we ran the nice moment of the water.