Thursday, 5 November 2009

NPAC Member’s Blog – Day 4

I’m chuckling at the few comments that these blogs have received so far. Thanks for the kind comments that I truly appreciate. What I find amusing are the references to being “lucky.”

Reuters photographer Mike Blake once told me that photographers make their own luck. We all make our own luck in ever way I suspect. In other words, luck is that sweet place where preparation meets opportunity. Be ready and prepared, think about possibilities, research your subject, and more importantly make yourself available to capture images when situations present themselves. I’m like everyone else in that I only find images when I’m out and about with my eyes open….and I get lucky once in awhile too I guess. I did a workshop a few years ago on feature hunting and anyone who attended it will hopefully agree that there are a number of things you can do to improve your own luck.

On Wednesday I only worked until about noon today because of a personal issue at home. It’s very refreshing to me how photography departments are always extremely understanding and considerate of people’s personal lives. It just doesn’t seem to be the same for writers, and other employees of a newspaper, let alone other corporations.

My first assignment was at 9am, at the CNE grounds. I was there yesterday having a look around to see if there was anything I could shoot in advance of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair start on Friday. I decided not to shoot anything yesterday primarily because it was too early to promo the Royal in the paper. With that in mind I asked Tim McKenna if he had contact info for PR at the Royal, and when he provided the info I started trying to make contact. By this morning I had heard nothing back, but thought I’d poke around before my 9am job anyway.

As “luck” would have it, I arrived just as the animals who had been stored outside, beneath the Gardiner Expressway, overnight, were being taken to pens inside the fair buildings. One of the first animals to head out with its escort caught my eye and I followed along, making pictures, after abandoning my car on the side of the road.

Here are two versions of the same situation.

Tim Kelly, with rubber boots and pitchfork, and Aaron Hicks of Hicks Charolais Farm in Arthur escort a Charolais Heffer calf to an indoor pen as preparations are made for the opening of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.(Photo by Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

These were the only people I photographed, and I didn’t ask for names until I thought I had what I needed, they were arriving at their destination, and I’d run out of time.

I was pleased to have found something quickly to offer up for the next day’s paper because I knew I’d be trying to head home early.

I can’t share the story I was shooting for, at the 9am assignment, but I can say that it is more about architecture and design than people. It’s going to require filing many, many photographs, because when I do file I won’t know exactly which details are going to be emphasized by the writer, or how much space they’ll be devoting to the piece. When I shoot architecture I try to make sure I provide a mix of overall images that describe the “space,” as well as a variety of detail pix. In fact, anytime multiple images are necessary details are always a must in my opinion.

My abbreviated day ended with me signing a copy of this year’s Year in review portion of my Performance Review. The Globe and Mail has a pretty good process of providing reviews but it does require quite a lot of thought, and I tend to get wordy. My boss, Moe Doiron described it to me like this. “I spent Friday writing comments on everyone’s reviews,” he said, “and the rest of the weekend doing yours. Damn you write a lot!”

I think perhaps he’s right, so I’ll end here for today.

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