I’ve never claimed to be a professional photographer.
I consider myself a pro-am of sorts. Kind of in the middle. I’ve done a lot of “pro” work, for newspapers, magazines and websites. I’ve also done weddings and the such. But, for the most part, my photography is for fun. I love sports, people, nature and other things. I take photos of things that I’ll like.
But there’s always someone out there that just knows too much.
I encountered one of them Saturday.
A road rally was held locally Saturday, so I wandered down to watch for a bit and take some photos. Last year when I went, the one spot was awesome for spectators. The course was different this year and getting to this spectator spot was easy enough. Alas, it wasn’t the best for people to watch. I should have maneuvered around a little, but I didn’t feel like standing in the snow. I ended up doing that for a little while anyway.
When the test-run drivers went through, I pulled out my camera. A fella next to me was also shooting some images. Cool deal.
Then one of the pros — you know, the ones with the press credentials (I really do miss working for a paper during times like this), went walking by with his camera on a monopod.
Now, do I think the monopod was necessary? No. But some people like to use them. It’s steadying, especially for the bigger, bulkier professional cameras. The fella shooting next to me apparently didn’t think so.
He noted that, too, saying how the ones “who buy the press credentials always do stuff they don’t need to do.”
Said the guy with the two pro-sumer cameras and a zoom lens just like mine — solid, but mid-pack.
Another one of those people “who buy press credentials,” had a flash and was also setting up a couple of off-camera flashes to use was nearby and our fella mentioned how the flash wasn’t needed — “You really need that to stop the action.”
Actually, the off-camera flashes are good. See, some of the cars were coming through shadows, big guy, and the flashes offset that. Seriously, try it… it works!
He then mentions to me how those pro guys just don’t get it. I assured him — as someone who obtained press credentials for this event in the past — that one doesn’t pay for credentials and they aren’t hard to obtain.
Turns out this guy shoots — so he said — for some magazine.I overheard him later telling his posse that he didn’t think it was worth going through the hassle for the press pass (he commented earlier that he had been chased away from a spot at another viewing area. Gee, no press pass and you wonder why? He mentioned how they need to start promoting the sport, not chasing people away).
My press credential was approved last year with one e-mail. I sent it to the organizer, said who I was and what I was doing. He e-mailed me back telling me what I needed to do. Pretty tough stuff there, eh?
The first of two sets going through there was canned because of ice on the road and the drivers had to change to their snow tires. So the crowd filtered to their cars to get warm (I should have done the same), but instead I stuck around and moved off the snow to get a better hopeful shot of when the drivers came at us.
This apparently didn’t sit well with our pal. See, he started mentioning how he’d be telling the magazine (this was a trial run, you see) that it probably wasn’t going to be worth covering down the line. Unprofessional. Would have to track down drivers. Send a writer. Blah blah blah.
So, I inquire… what does a magazine like this pay for a story?
He brushes me off with some per-word price that he dug out of nowhere (if they paid what he said, a short 500-word story would land a writer nearly 200 bucks. Where do I sign up? Then he said one would have to make it all make sense etc. I assured him I could write. Of course, he brushed that off. So I went to staring down the road. I can only take so much big-timing in a day.
His posse showed up and he was telling one guy that this probably wouldn’t be worth covering. He complained a bit more about the lack of professionalism with this group putting on the show. And again he made sure to talk about the pros and how they are clueless and that it wasn’t worth the hassle of getting the press credentials.
Working with any sort of media has advantages — press credentials being one of them. It’s not hard to get credentials to fringe sports, especially considering this is an under-the-radar racing circuit that would probably love some ink. The big part of it is that you just have to sign a waiver, basically saying if you get run over or killed, they can’t be sued.
But it’s too much of a hassle.
Hey, this fella could have been one hell of a photographer. And maybe he’s in with some magazine etc. But man, I can only take so much of it — especially when it’s 20 degrees and windy out. Needless to say, I watched one run through and I called it a day. I then went and played Risk with Marc, Leap and James in a warm house.
On a different note, a few guys behind me during the race had some excellent one-liners. But the best of the day, I thought, was when a driver went extremely slow into a corner on the course. One of the guys noted: “Hey, turn on your blinker!”
At the time, it was laugh-out-loud funny.
Oh, and for the record, if I had been getting paid for this blog post for what that one fella noted I could get paid by the magazine, I’d be looking at more than 350 bucks! And I’m pretty sure this all made sense. Oh well, I guess it must remain free. For now!
Allow me to leave you with another photo I took Saturday… I had to get the Volkswagen in!