Two employees of Rockingham, N. H. Raceway slump in sadness after the horseracing facility was badly burned in a fire (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).
Even if you’re far away when a newsworthy moment occurs, you can often arrive in time for a great photo. When I discovered that the famous Rockingham, N. H. racetrack was on fire, I was 30 minutes away, but still headed there immediately. I might not get there in time for a dramatic news photo of the fire raging, but it was a big enough story that I needed to go and at least photograph the aftermath. When I arrived, the fire had been put out, but the grandstand had been badly burned and was now a deformed mass of twisted metal. The shock had not worn off, and many employees were still stunned because the racetrack would be closed for the foreseeable future. I spotted two jockeys leaning on the rail, heads downcast, clearly crushed by what had happened and probably wondering how they would now earn their living. I photographed the two jockeys in the foreground with the burnt grandstand behind them. It wasn’t a spectacular shot, but did sum up the event quite well, especially since I had arrived so long after the actual fire occurred. I was surprised I had gotten such a good shot after being so late to the scene. What was most rewarding was receiving a letter from the President of Rockingham praising my photo for telling the full story, including the emotional impact, so effectively. I learned that the human side of a news event can still be told very powerfully after the spot news drama is over, so it’s better to go late and shoot than not go at all.
1) Even if you are a bit far away from the scene of a newsworthy event, you can still capture a great photo.
2) Many times the actual event occurring may not provide the best picture.3) When you are late to the scene, look for outstanding photos of people’s reactions