The frame: flagging down the picture

Sometimes you walk away from an assignment with a good picture that doesn’t really have much to do with the story. I flagged this image down yesterday while covering the grand opening of an office building. It was definitely the strongest image of the day, but did little to advance readers’ understanding of the issue at hand: the new building and its controversial location.

To help celebrate, the crowd was herded outside (including the governor) to see an honor guard raise the flag. In reality, it had already been up. I watched through the window 20 minutes earlier as they took it down. A freezing wind whipped off the nearby airport runway and it took a couple of them, holding onto the corners, to keep the flag still while another hitched it up.

The wind billowed the fabric like a sail and the low winter sun shone through the scant trees at the far end of the parking lot, casting a backlit shadow on the stars and stripes. I used a long lens and some cropping to isolate the colors and the shadow.

And there you have it. A rather striking image that will, no doubt, be trotted out as a file photo on patriotic holidays, but didn’t have a whole lot to do with the day’s story.


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