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Picture This: Stay the Course

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 4:16 p.m. CDT
(Monica Maschak - )
Dylan Rasmussen switches to the back stroke in the 200-yard individual medley event Jan. 30 against Elgin.

This week, I wanted to share a cool frame shot at a swim meet a couple of weeks ago, and reflect on something I learned after graduating college.

In college, professors would use their best photographs as examples when teaching lessons. After a while, those examples gave the illusion that they were incapable of taking a bad photo. That, in turn, made my peers and I feel we were unworthy of the photojournalist title.

I was very hard on myself at my first newspaper job and was disappointed each time I didn’t get the perfect photograph.

Later I called my former professor and asked him if it was normal to not get “the” photo every time. It may sound obvious to all of you, but I just needed reassurance that I didn’t need to develop superpowers to do my job.

In short, he said perfect photos happen few and far between.

A lot of what goes into great journalistic photographs is luck.

This photo is an example of hard work with a little bit of luck. When covering swimming, the only thing a photographer can really predict is composition and hope that the rest falls in place.

The truth is, hands-on experience is the ultimate teaching tool.

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