Thursday, February 21, 2008

Feature hunting

Sometimes the news of the day isn't very visual. Pictures of boarding meetings, the legislature or things in the future don't generally make good photos. Yesterday was one of those days, but we still needed good pictures for the paper. That's when the feature hunt begins. The way I look for a feature is every day when I'm out and about I try to notice things that might some day make a good feature. In the back of my mind I log those things like how the afternoon sun makes a cool shadow against a building or how in Memorial Park in the fall on Saturday mornings the junior football leagues play their games. Ideas that might make a good feature. A couple days ago while walking my dog along the Monument Valley Trail I noticed all the people running and walking. A feature opportunity. So yesterday when we needed something I went to the trail and found an interesting vantage point and shot the picture above of Air Force Academy track and field members running.
Some people may think features are a waste of space. If we ran them all the time, I would agree. But sometimes they are a nice slice of life from our community. I was an intern at the Missoulian in Missoula, Mont. One day I spent an afternoon looking for a feature in the rain and produced an average one. I was bummed. My photo editor Kurt Wilson told me that 50 years later someone could look at the paper and my photo and see what life was like in Missoula on that day. That gave me a different viewpoint on the feature hunt. They are another way of documenting life in our community.

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