Well things around our communities are in full swing for the holiday season. I wanted to talk a little bit about the annual Christmas celebrations that have happened around here. Being the late shift photographer around here (and the new guy in town), I was assigned to all of the local tree lighting celebrations in Solano County including Vacaville, Fairfield and Suisun City. All were a great time and as one would expect, all had many different things going on for each event. When any of the photographers here at the paper go out to events like this often times we return to the office with hundreds of different shots to choose from. So what determines our decisions for choosing the right photo for the story? More often than not, there are many different aspects to an event that would work to convey the story. But unfortunately there is only so much room for play in our daily newspaper. So I wanted to show some of the other sides of celebrations in addition to the ones I chose for publication. I'll start with Vacaville.
So the first two here were the photos that ran in the paper. The rest were in my final edit but didn't quite make the cut. I was wandering throughout the crowd trying to find the right moment of people having fun but also were dressed in Christmas apparel. As the time got closer to the tree lighting, it became so congested that it was hard to move around. So I opted for a higher view and got permission to get on a nearby roof. I went with the choir singing crowd shot because as you can tell, when the tree was lit, the flood lights on the stage were turned off and therefore killed my light on the crowd. I was really hoping for the tree to be lit with the existing light of the stage lights but it didn't come together in the end. Also when Santa walked out I felt that there was too much empty space between him and the tree. You may also notice The Reporter's photographer Joel Rosenbaum in his bright tan coat on stage. You can be sure I gave him grief about his choice of bright light reflecting wardrobe. In the end I went with the first frame and was pleased with what I got.
Next was Fairfield's turn.
I arrived to find out that their big thing is to have Santa Claus ride down the street on top of a big fire engine to the tree lighting location. This provided a unique opportunity for a different point of view. Some friends in the fire department allowed me to ride on top with Santa and shoot down onto the massive crowd that had gathered around the tree. The end shot was lucky. Almost the entire ride which was short to begin with, Santa and Mrs Claus had their backs to me. It's cool to see the crowd all around the man of the hour but if don't get his face, I think you only get a photo that is so so. I was lucky because the pair turned my way to wave at some kids yelling behind me. It made all the difference and made it an easy choice for selection to be the front page lead.
And last but not least Suisun City.
Suisun City's Christmas on the Waterfront was a really awesome display but my decision to not show the boat aspect in the paper was a mistake in the end. At the time of publication, I realized I had yet to show any lit tree in my coverage. I went with the first photo here because of the excitement of the woman's face and the direction throughout the photo of people pointing to the sky and the tree. It had the crowd, the tree, Santa, and a moment. My reasons for not choosing a boat one was because even though my intent was to I show the crowds in addition to the boats, I wasn't pleased with the pictures that I came back with with those elements. I felt like there were a bunch of "almost" shots. It will be something to think about when I cover it next year.
Overall, I had a lot of fun this holiday season shooting all the festivities. I hope everyone has a great holiday and happy new year. Best, -Mike Greener