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A numbers game

As we move into the tenth month of activity on the website, my experiences make me think about the numbers.

There are a whole host of numbers involved in my work. From the basic calculations of ISO, shutter speed and f-stop to how do I cover two events that both start at 7 p.m.?

Other numbers rest on my brain as well. For example, how many photos do we need from this event and what size gallery do I make? Then there is a matter of equity. If I get eight images of the girls’ game do I then need eight images of the boys’ game? How mad will the girls get if I have 12 photos of the boys? 

Then there is the conundrum I had recently at the state cross country meet. With so many area athletes competing do I need to get a photo of every kid? And for that matter is it physically possible to do that? And if I do or don’t will anyone really care? 

While it hasn’t happened since I started with this venture, someday somewhere someone will be upset that I didn’t catch an image of their son Johnny or niece Jenny. Understand it isn’t ever done purposely. In fact, talking about the races on the drive home I felt bad when Dave Vilhauer talked about an area athlete who ran well that I thought I had missed. But lucky for me a few hours later when I was editing I found I did get a frame of him.

In full disclosure, I come from a history of doing all I can to be fair and equitable everywhere I go with my work. In fact, when I first started at the newspaper years ago I had a sports editor who would lay out the page so that the two local schools got equal treatment of stories with same sized images, down to the last pica.

While I won’t always stay up all night doing my work, I do feel I owe it to do my best for the athletes when I cover a state event. They are out there giving everything they have and I feel I should do the same. It makes it all worthwhile when I am able to capture photos like the one above of the moment of exhaustion and relief on the faces of Ipswich’s Gracyn Kadlec, Madisyn Gellhaus and Ashlinn Hartwell.

There was another sports editor later in my career who would write columns full of numbers. In his honor I will leave you with these statistics from the state cross country meet. I archived more than 70 images that I culled from more than 2,000 frames taken at the six races featuring three classes of boys and girls from around the area and across the state.

There is a part of me that thinks that was way too many images to take and keep. Another part of me thinks I should have done more. I also know, I don’t think I will ever know what the right answer is.

I have never really been that good at math.

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