Let me start by describing my day on February 26.
I’ll start at the end, just so you know it isn’t a tragedy.
It ends with Laphroaig over ice.
Back to the beginning.
Up at 5 am to drive to a murder trial where I would be the pool camera. That’s complicated by snow, blowing snow and 85 miles in road conditions I would describe as crappy to very crappy.
The trial starts late.
I’ve been checking Facebook and email and there is much uproar over various contest results and reactions to reaction and so forth.
I think I should react too.
But that will have to wait.
At the afternoon break I edit a little sound and video and start the FTP to the server. It’s flying along at 10.3 kb/sec. I go back to my spot in the courtroom and struggle to stay awake as the defense enters photos 218-234 into evidence and has the agent on the stand describe each one and asks him if there is any bread visible. Seriously?
Court adjourns for the day.
Remember 10.3 kb/sec? It’s a good thing the satellite truck is outside because only the soundbite is gonna make it to the server. At 4:48 I carry my camera, tripod, batteries and laptop out to the truck and learn the snow is too thick for the small dish. No way to uplink. Outside our speed has picked up to 13.6 kb/sec and the soundbite gets to the server and I assign it to the rundown with a good 2 minutes to spare.
What about the 6? FTP a short soundbite. Done.
We hit the road and my reporter, Jannay, writes her story as we drive.
Still snowing, still crappy roads but dark now.
In the middle of nowhere, we hit 4g and the VO takes off but not in time as Jannay does her report, live on the phone.
Another hour plus and I drop Jannay off at the station and head for home.
Stop for dog food.
Stop for Mike food.
Crank up the snowblower.
Come back in the house and the 10 o’clock news is on.
I think about reacting to the contest stuff.
I pour the scotch.
I sip the scotch.
I think about writing about contests.
Much of what sticks in my mind about reaction to heavily toned entries is comparisons to Ansel Adams work or how, in the days of enlargers and printing presses, what was done to make an image display well in the newspaper.
I am not a still photographer. I do understand having to adjust an image in order for it to display properly, like the “Hand of God” thing done to black and white long ago. But change an image so it does well in a contest?
The NPPA Best of Photojournalism contest, it seems to me, is much less about Ansel Adams and more about the photojs who get up at 5 am and their work appears in the homes of viewers and readers that day, often before they themselves get home, before they pour a drink and relax.
More about the photographer who chases someone down to make sure they get the spelling of their name correct than the photographer who has an assistant write a caption.
Judges in the BOP will apply the NPPA Code of Ethics as they judge. They will do that because Ethics matter.
I wish everyone who entered the BOP contest the best of luck.
I hope no one who entered the BOP cheated.