In addition to the boring board meetings I report on, I go out to community events for the photo ops. People call the paper about their event or achievement and I’m usually the one to get the photo. People are always so pleased I stopped by and somehow they always expect Page 1 coverage.
A weekly paper has some standard front page photos and people in Plumas County expect to see the Homecoming Queen, high school graduation, and the first baby of the year. If it’s not there, the phones ring off the hook. It’s a small community and everyone knows everyone else.
We have an ancient press at the paper and limited ability for color: Grip and grins and scenics are the usual front page fare. I always try to do justice to people’s achievements, but frankly how many handshakes can you take pictures of?
I groaned silently when the call came to take pictures of an Easter egg hunt at a local day care provider’s house. She’d invited everyone in the neighborhood as well as the clients’ children. As it happens, she’s next door to my daughter. As it also happens, my grandchildren were invited.
Last Christmas James and Ruth were invited to the neighbor’s Christmas party and Santa would be in attendance. I don’t really know who is to blame or what really happened, but Santa handed out gifts to all the children except Ruth and James. Ruth, in particular, was devastated. I was more than worried about this invitation — would they be excluded from collecting eggs?
When I arrived, camera in hand, the front lawn was covered with eggs and the children were seated in a row waiting patiently. Soon there was quite a crowd of moms, dads and children and the Easter Bunny came skipping up the street with colorful balloons. Pandemonium!
I began shooting photos as quickly as I could frame them up. Because I could direct James and Ruth, I tended to follow them. It’s no surprise that I chose the picture I did. If a grandma can’t get her grandson’s picture in the paper on Page 1, she needs another line of work.