Minutes before pulling into the office parking lot at The Virginian-Pilot, I received a text from one of our photo editors. Two stories for the next day's paper had been postponed--so we would need some standalone art for the paper.
In general, I love a good news story and even better, I love having the opportunity to shoot them. It's what I do. But, every now and then you get the call for a feature photo and the newsroom usually needs it ASAP.
Some people greatly dislike feature hunting. The pressure of a deadline is looming and you've got to produce now. When you're out on a hunt you never know what you're going to get. Even if you put in the time, you can still come back with your tail between your legs.
However, yesterday I was determined to make something happen that I was proud to bring home. I started to head to a house I had seen the day before where a group of kids were playing on a huge monstrosity of a water slide castle. Often times you make little notations in your head when you're out and about. "Oh, cool waterslide thingy. Possible standalone feature. Take note." As a news photographer, I tend to collect these sites and spots and keep them in my back pocket in case I get the call.
Yesterday, it happened.
But, while en route to the slide I decided I didn't want to chase down the kids. I wanted to step it up a little more. I also wanted to shoot something that might offer some new information to our readers. The question I posed to myself was, "What sort of activities are out there for kids to do in the summer?"
So I turned and started heading to another location I had in mind, but before I got there I recalled an old boxing gym I had always wanted to venture into and photograph. I started looking for it but wasn't having any luck.
In the interim of my search I was turning in and out of side streets just in case something else caught my eye while hunting. A few boys were jogging down the street in what looked like wrestling or boxing shoes. Bingo! I pulled alongside them and asked if they were boxers and if there was a boxing club nearby. They said, "Yeah, follow us."
It wasn't the gym I was originally looking for but once I walked in I knew I had hit the jackpot.
This morning I woke up and grabbed the paper. The Pilot ended up running two images on our local section front and we also put together a slideshow for our online content. Even after years of doing this, I still get a childlike kick out of seeing my byline under a four column photo in the paper!
Thanks to the kids of Team Norfolk Boxing and to Coach Peek for taking the time to welcome me into their gym. Enjoy!