Day: August 12, 2007

Capturing the moment

At a recent conference on photojournalism, a photography student asked: "What, in your opinion, makes a good photograph?"

My answer was that my opinion didn’t count. What counts is the opinion of the reader.

It’s a matter of perspective.

As a journalist, my goal with a photograph is to tell the story — as simply and as directly as possible.  The photograph should capture the moment.

More often that not, that moment is fleeting and capturing it is more luck than skill.  Sometimes a moment comes not from an assignment but from happenstance.

The photograph above is a good example. On Sept. 15, 2001, four days after the 9/11 attacks, we were still living in Northern Virginia and I dropped Amy off at her doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Falls Church. I noticed the flag hanging from the marquee of the State Theater. So I parked our car, grabbed my Nikon D1 and headed up the street to capture the image. As I approached, I heard the unmistakable sound of Harleys coming up the street. I had just enough time to raise the camera and fire off three frames as this biker roared by with his tattered flag on the back of the bike.

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Ranger redeux

J. Todd Foster, managing editor of The Bristol Herald-Courier, weighs in on the abuse of power by the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Criminal Interdiction Team (CIT) during FloydFest.

Writes Foster:

Perhaps these national park rangers should be spending more time hunting for black bear and ginseng poachers than hassling spectators at a music festival.

But for the second year in a row, FloydFest – our region’s own little, family-oriented version of Woodstock – has been mired by heavy-handed law enforcement.

Meanwhile, I’ve been digging around in the federal budget and find that part of CIT’s funding comes from The Department of Homeland Security, the "big brother agency created after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

No wonder they threw the Patriot Act in my face during my encounter with their gestapo-like tactics.

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Java jive

On Monday we will kick off a new section of Muse: Java Jive.

No, it’s not a testimonial area to Ben Oakland and Milton Drake’s famous song (although we "borrowed" the title).  Nor is it a roundup of area coffee houses (and we have several in a small town).

Nah. It’s a place to discuss what people are discussing over coffee in and around Floyd at any given time because morning coffee at Blue Ridge, Cafe del Sol, Express Mart, West End Market, Jim’s or any other place where folks gather for breakfast is where one finds news and topics that concern the area.

It’s what folks are jiving about over coffee.

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