I’ve just about rounded out my first month at the Rockford Register Star in Rockford, Ill. This month has flown by. I love that I’m busy shooting again.
The first day on the job was a little sluggish. Paperwork. And lots of it. That is until a vehicle rolled over on a snow-covered bypass. I rushed out there and got photos of the firefighters using the jaws of life to free the man stuck inside.
And yes, that is snow still falling. I had to brush off my car after my brief time there shooting.
While that was a little bit of excitement on my first day, this time of year can be slow. Assignments have been thin. That has left plenty of time to explore the town and search for stand-alone art. I drove into a state park and found ice fisherman. For the first time in my life, I stepped out onto a frozen over lake and treaded softly.
As the new year approached, they wanted art to go with a story about how law enforcement would be stepping up their patrols. I met up with a sheriff’s deputy to get photos of him shooting radar.
Early in January, my editor called me while I was driving into work to divert me to the scene of a morning house fire. The flames were out long before I got there. However, the arson dog made for a decent frame.
The next evening, I responded to a shooting at a shop in the city. Again, there was no “action” to get so a little bit of patience yielded a decent frame of police leaving the scene.
Working with the police and firefighters becomes routine for photojournalists. However, one of them helped me live out a dream while on assignment. I was photographing the firefighters training on a ladder truck at the fire station. Before I could finish thinking it, they invited me to go up the ladder. They didn’t have to ask me twice.
It’s not every day that you get to spend a portion of your day at a liquor store. But I did when I was getting shots for a story on a “lucky” place to buy lottery tickets. This proved to be a challenge. A lot of people don’t want to be photographed while buying lottery tickets. This took a lot of patience and a little bit of sweet talking.
Along the same lines, I had to get shots at an off-track-betting facility in town. I’m from Louisville, KY and everyone talks about gambling at “the track” (Churchill Downs). Apparently outside of Kentucky, many people like to keep their betting vices private.
Many newspapers have pool lenses (no swimming pun intended) for the photographers, meaning a variety of lenses any shooter can take for the day when they need it. I decided to try out a lens I had never even seen in real life during a recent swim meet. Canon’s 200mm L f/1.8 lens. This lens isn’t even made anymore. The closest current lens is a 200 f/2. The aquatics center I was shooting in was incredibly dark. My camera was set to 1600 ISO and f/1.8 at 1/250th sec. That lens rocks.
I look forward to a long career in Rockford. Many more things to come.