Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weather Art

Back in the good old days, there would be days when done of the stories picked for the front pages had any art to go with them. This was when the photo editor would tell everyone sitting around the photo to go out and don't come back till you got a picture. 

Picture of what? Anything!

Any newspaper photog will tell you of great photos they lucked into finding and times when a couple of them ended up in the same park, looking for a picture.

At the Philadelphia Inquirer they laughed about how one of the staff photographers had a stuffed squirrel in his car, and photograph it in various backgrounds. Always coming back with an original photo that tied in with the day. Like the cold wintry day when construction and and dock workers found steel drums to fill with scraps and burn. Then huddle around them to warm-up. As they story goes, this photographer put his stuffed squirrel on the rim of the drum.

This was before I worked for the paper in the 70's, but the old-timers loved to tell how the squirrel fell into the fire and was burned. The photographer lost his easy weather picture.

Another Inky photog, Akira Suwa, thought it was a waste of time to guess where to find the found art. He felt he just had to keep his eyes open and he'd bump into something. Best thing was to just run some errands. Maybe go to the stereo store and look at the newest receiver or look at new Cd's. And he'd find a weird scene of someone doing something or some funny graffiti.

Finding the photo is what I like best. The hunt. The challenge to come back and make the deadline. Just keeping your eye open as you drive to an assignment, taking time to stop and capture the moment. Like covering a weird accident on Christmas Day for the San Francisco Examiner, I walked back to the car and was struck by the fog and light going over the mountains. Grabbed the shot and then printed in on the contrasty #6 Agfa paper. Ran the next day on page 12.

Or the time I was driving to work and saw an hot air balloon coming from the west and floating towards downtown Fort Worth. I took the first exit, turned left and drove till I could get downtown under the Energizer rabbit. Ended up as the main art for the metro section. 
Found weather art. No assignment and it makes the paper more interesting. 

But as everything goes online, things are going to motion and galleries.

As the skies darken and TV stations started telling everyone to stay indoors as radar tracked sever weather, I started recording the weather station announcements.  Then had to see it myself and took my Olympus Pen with normal lens and stereo mic. The skies were dark and sirens started sounding. Then the rain poured down as the storm quickly passed over. Blowing a trash can down the road and darkening the skies even caused the street lights to come on. It quickly passed, street lights went out and looking down the street there was a sunset. 

Weather art today.