Nailing the shot

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Commonwealth's attorney's office victim/witness unit staged a moving memorial ceremony Tuesday afternoon for crime victims as part of National Crime Victim's week or day or whatever it was.

I attended the event to get some photos for the paper. Normally when I do that I'm in and out in a matter of minutes. Last night's event was different, however.

When I went into the courthouse (The event was moved indoors because of rain) the first person I saw was John Sheally. John's the talented photographer for the Norfolk newspaper, commonly referred to (at least by me, anyway) as the Evil Empire.

Email newsletter signup

I've been trying to shoot events before where Sheally was present and was embarrassed by the difference in the photos we came up with. I convinced myself the problem was that he had better equipment. Of course there's no way I could be that bad. So I invested in a couple lenses and Tuesday's event was my first face to face showdown with Sheally.

So, despite my desire to get home and get on my treadmill before South Park came on,

instead of darting in and out, I stayed. I didn't want something to happen that I would miss. I stayed for the entire event. I'm glad I did. As I mentioned, it was a moving ceremony.

Plus, I nailed the shot for a change. I happened to be standing in a great location when Betty Britt, the mother of Terrence Britt who was recently slain, came forward to place a flower on the memorial wreath. I knew Sheally wouldn't get it because where he was standing, he couldn't get it without getting me as well.

He nonetheless came up with a great shot of participants holding hands in prayer. (I could've gotten that one, too, but I was too busy praying.)

This is all in jest, of course. I wouldn't presume to compare myself with someone of Sheally's skills.

Back when we used film, it was all I could do to get something that could even be mistaken for being in focus. Now, with everything digital and autofocus, even someone like me can get a decent shot, provided they have the proper equipment, despite a complete lack of artistic talent.

I never thought about it before, but I bet that's a sore spot for professional photographers. I noticed on the morning news show Wednesday all the great photos tourists took with of Pope John Paul II's funeral n with their cell phones, for crying out loud.

Incidentally, if you happen to come across a good photo of an event in Suffolk n a car wreck, fire, or other spectacular or even mudane event and want to send it to us to publish, please do. With our small staff we can't possibly get everything covered and often depend on reader submissions. It couldn't be any worse than some of the crap I've shot.