The best picture I’ve ever taken

Photography isn’t a difficult thing to wrap your head around: you point the camera, press the button, and magic happens. I’ve never been particularly enamored with photography (except for this one time in 7th grade where I spent a couple hundred bucks on a camera instead of a drum set. Stellar choice, Young-Me! Really: aces!), so the fact that it’s a part of my job now is just another example of the cosmic irony that pervades my life.


I have, on occasion, taken a picture or two that I thought were of exceptional quality. Photos that I was proud of, that looked good, got the point across, and that I figured would pretty much earn me a Pulitzer.

I have thus far been mistaken on all counts. People don’t even mention those photos. And when people DO talk about any of the pics I’ve taken, it’s the ones that I didn’t think about because it was for a fluff piece. For example:

My Best Known Work

That. Look at that. It’s… a man in a taco suit. When I took that picture, I was pretty much on autopilot. I wasn’t thinking about anything but the free food I was getting (it was the grand opening of this Taco Bell and they were giving away value meals), so I was just pointing and clicking to fulfill my obligation: take the pictures, get some facts and food, and go home.

People raved about that picture. My grandma loved it so much it’s STILL, over a year later, hanging on her fridge.

Hey, man, I’ll take it. Like anyone who accidentally did something that other people figure is pretty cool, I’ll accept the 15 minutes and get on with my life. I still don’t get it, but I love my grandma and it makes her smile to look at the pic so I’m proud of it.

But the picture that this blog post is about does not contain Taco Man. It’s a picture that probably won’t be put in the paper when the article runs on Thursday, for multiple reasons that I understand and accept… but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an amazing photograph that must be shared. Here it is:

In all it’s glory

Over the weekend, several dozen volunteers got together to help clean up a trail that will eventually go from one end of the county to the other. There’s plenty of terrain to clean up, so the more volunteers they get, the better. I went and took pitchas.

In case you don’t automatically understand WHY that picture is so amazing, I’ll lay it out for you plain:

1. It’s busy. There’s a fore-, middle- and back-ground with different things going on, and it engages the eye.

2. It isn’t blurry. Our cameras are hardly “top-o’-the-line”, so when the fates convene and decide to make a picture work, it is a glorious occasion.

3. These guys:

Look at them. I’m serious, scroll back up and give them a good, hard look.

That’s a look of determination, and a walk with a purpose. Two men, kitted out with a goal in mind, and they will let NOTHING stop them from achieving their task. Their footgear, clothing, safety glasses all scream “We’re here to do a job”, and if there was any doubt as to what that job was, the presence of a chainsaw and branch cutter lay those doubts to rest. And what’s that? There’s even gas to keep the chainsaw going in case the job proves so demanding that they need to refuel!

No tree could withstand these two men, who are about to do their level best to tame the encroaching wild.

My favorite part, though? This:

God Bless America

He’s got a stogie. HE’S GOT A STOGIE. He’s not even smoking it! It’s just there to be there, like the it’s another tool for the job. “Gloves? Glasses? Chainsaw? Check, check and check. Stogie?”

Big ol’ check

It’s just… I don’t know this guy’s name, and that’s kind of necessary for it to be in the paper. No one but me would appreciate this picture if I didn’t have an outlet like this from which to share.

Thank you for being a part of this.

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