— Dane Creek

Assignment and Editorial 4: The Picture Package

Lighting made my images for this assignment successful: this was the only assignment where the weather was sunny and clear. Every other week, for every other assignment, the weather was cloudy, rainy, and generally awful. Honestly that was a good thing though as editorial photographers rarely get to pick when they shoot. The practice capturing good images in bad weather was worth it.

Assignment 4 was pretty straightforward: shoot a picture package for a magazine. Pick a topic and submit a set of 10-15 photos. The key thing to do is ensure the photos have variety. The idea is to give the photo editor of the magazine lots of options to work with. Matthew’s one word of advice was to pick something easy to shoot on multiple occasions. Those were wise words!

As luck would have it my daily commute takes me past the Lake Washington Rowing Club. In another stroke of luck the sun rises right around 7:45am in early February and bathes the club in beautiful morning light. On top of all that my commute takes me past the club just before 7:45am, and the rowers like to be out on the water around then.

Yeah, it was my lucky week.

I made five separate stops at the rowing club (one of which was in the early evening for a different look) and came up with 15 solid photos to submit. With the light working my favour every time I stopped by the images were easy to come by! Here are a few my favourites:

Shell stands and oars lie outside in the morning sun at the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Founded in 1957, the not-for-profit club offers a range of classes from introductory lessons to member-specific programs. (Photo/Neil Enns)
Shell stands and oars lie outside in the morning sun at the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012. Founded in 1957, the not-for-profit club offers a range of classes from introductory lessons to member-specific programs. (Photo/Neil Enns)

Did I mention the lighting was good? *grin*

Oars hang inside the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. Founded in 1957, the not-for-profit club offers a range of classes from introductory lessons to member-specific programs. (Photo/Neil Enns)
Oars hang inside the Lake Washington Rowing Club in Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. Founded in 1957, the not-for-profit club offers a range of classes from introductory lessons to member-specific programs. (Photo/Neil Enns)

The above photo is my second attempt at the image. I saw the light on the oars on my first trip to the rowing club and took a photo, but when I reviewed it later that day I really didn’t like the composition. Thankfully I had easy access to go back for a second try.

Returning from a trip, Coxswain Rebecca Cheung (rear) guides a mixed sweep team back into the dock in Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. A coxswain since 2004, Cheung says the best part of leading a rowing team is seeing the gradual improvement over a season and knowing she played a key role in it. (Photo/Neil Enns)
Returning from a trip, Coxswain Rebecca Cheung (rear) guides a mixed sweep team back into the dock in Seattle on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. A coxswain since 2004, Cheung says the best part of leading a rowing team is seeing the gradual improvement over a season and knowing she played a key role in it. (Photo/Neil Enns)

One challenging part of this shoot was finding ways to show people rowing in compositions other than “lone rower on the water”. Towards the end of one morning a big shell returned to the dock and gave me the opportunity to get something different. It was just dumb luck that Rebecca was leaning out like that when I pressed the shutter, but I’ll take it!

A group of rowers head towards Lake Washington in Seattle on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. (Photo/Neil Enns)
A group of rowers head towards Lake Washington in Seattle on Monday, Feb. 6, 2012. (Photo/Neil Enns)

Despite four trips to the rowing club I still didn’t have an image that worked as a strong “closer” for the set. On Monday morning I had my gear with me and planned to stop at the club one last time to see if I could get something that would work. I never made it to the club 🙂 As I was driving over the Montlake Bridge I saw a few rowers paddling below me. I found the nearest parking garage to the bridge, jammed my car into a spot, grabbed my gear, and ran to the bridge for some photos. I got my “closer”!

I learned a couple of things this assignment:

  1. If you see something, get the heck out of your car and go take the damn picture! I’d almost convinced myself that it wasn’t worth the hassle of trying to park. If I hadn’t stopped I would have missed the best shot of the set.
  2. Pay close attention to the mix of photos you’re taking. I wound up with good detail images, good single-person images, but not many “people together” images. It wound up making the final set feel like rowing is a solitary sport, and missed out on showing the great camaraderie I saw at the club.

Overall it was a success and I really enjoyed the project. The Lake Washington Rowing Club members welcomed me warmly and made the photos a pleasure to take.