Deadlines hone the mind

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March 18, 2007|By Jed Kirschbaum | Jed Kirschbaum,Sun Staff

Photographers are almost always portrayed in movies and on television as that frenetic mob chasing this person or that as they make dramatic entrances or exits. And, indeed, that gaggle stereotype is all too often true at major news events. But most of what we do is far more low-key.

Around 2 p.m. on a rainy Wednesday, our assignment editor sent me to the Babe Ruth Museum and Birthplace to get photos to accompany a story about the museum's fiscal problem, and hopefully get a new portrait of the head of the museum, Mike Gibbons.

The story was daily, which meant I had less than two hours to get to the museum, photograph, edit, prepare images on the computer and have them transmitted. When I arrived at the museum there was no media horde. The only thing frenetic about the situation on this quiet rainy day was my thought process on deadline.

Even after years of shooting, deadlines have a way of wrenching one's stomach. The advantage is that the tension usually makes your senses sharper. As a photographer you know that the paper needs something. No matter how good or pedestrian your images, something will be used. Better that it be something you're proud to have your name under.

I had taken several pictures around the museum and was about to leave when Gibbons arrived, bat in hand, from a lecture on the Eastern Shore, obviously with a lot on his mind. He wanted time to put things down. I told him no. He had to just freeze where he was standing.

The picture wasn't used with the story, but several editors thought our readers should see it.

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