We shoot a lot of the same events every year (for good reasons and bad) here at the Herald-Republic – parades, community festivals and yes, Black Friday.
After you’ve photographed the Moxee Hop Festival parade five times it’s hard to find a different photo, one you haven’t shot before.
Not only is it a challenge to find a new photo, it’s a challenge to even get excited about photographing the Sunfair parade – again.
So, it’s always nice to find a different photo at one of those “we can’t not shoot this” events. And it’s a real bonus if that photo is one which really tells the story of the event.
I drew the “Gray Thursday” duty this year with the task of photographing the annual spectacle of Thanksgiving Day shoppers in Yakima and Union Gap. I’ve done this before (I’ve lost count how many times) – shoppers waiting in line, shoppers shopping, etc.
But this year had a twist to it and I hoped that would give me a different angle on the day. Shopko and Kmart were opening at 6 a.m. Thursday morning, much earlier than in years past and well in advance of the customary openings later that day.
There’s a Shopko not far from my house so I figured it would a relatively low time commitment on my part. Get up at 5 a.m., toss back a cup of coffee or two, shoot the photo around 5:45, send the photo to our web guy for posting on YakimaHerald.com, tweet the photo as well and be home by 6:30 a.m.
The result was much better than I had hoped for:
The photo has a couple of good things going for it. It tells the story of shoppers’ enthusiasm, willing to start holiday shopping before dawn on Thanksgiving morning. Also, the lighting’s very interesting.
Technically, the photo was a little tough – I wanted to include both the waiting shoppers and the storefront in the background (to give a sense of place to the shoppers). The dome lights in the car provided little illumination on the waiting shoppers while the store lighting in the background was much brighter. I figured that shooting in RAW format would give me enough wiggle room on the exposure to make it all happen.
For the tech geeks, the exposure was shot at 6400 ASA, 1/60th second, f2.8.
The photo did not make it into print was used only on our website, Facebook page and Twitter feed to kick off our Gray Thursday/Black Friday coverage.
I’ve got to give a lot of credit our web guy Mark Morey who rallied early on a holiday morning to get my photo up on the website.