Sunday, December 11, 2005

Plan for weather changes

Lamar University art majors Kyle Baxley (left) and Michelle Cate (right) have coffee indoors at Rao's Bakery & Coffee Cafe on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005. A cold front blew into Southeast Texas and moved many outdoor activities indoors.

Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

PJs often plan for weather changes. We often consider all options and fill our cars or trucks with gear for ourselves and our equipment. However, this doesn't put an image into the system. It only allows us to be able to make images to put into the system.

To get the images, we must also plan for what we'll shoot when the weather changes. Depending on the size of the city we cover, it might take additional planning and coordination long before the wind blows, the clouds gather or the thermometer gets near 100.

Weather is often the biggest news in some towns. PJs must find a way to document a sudden change in the weather - even after nightfall. In large metro areas, it isn't hard to find folks outdoors on any night in any condition. It becomes more difficult in cities with smaller populations.

When nobody is outdoors in the darkness, cold and rain except PJs, PJs better think fast. When this happens on deadline, coffee shops are a quick fix.

However, we need to find local coffee shops because most of the chain stores want corporate approval before allowing PJs in the shop. Since the corporate offices are usually closed at night, these shops often aren't an option for PJs.

In other words, it's good to line up a few local, media-friendly shops around town for emergencies like this. It's also nice to find any biz or family with a fireplace or pool who would be willing to let PJs arrive at a moment's notice.

I was lucky for this assignment. Rao's owner happened to be in the shop and let me shoot without a problem. But, it's a reminder for me to line up some more shops in town for other emergency situations.

Likewise, I need to line up other locations for any weather condition. It's better to have them picked out and not need them than to need them and not know where to go.

Enough for now,


BressonF8 said...

Everything shuts down here in lower Delaware when it snows. Everything. Coffee shops, schools, roads. Which makes it extra hard to find images of people interacting with the snow. Luckily, I work at a weekly, so the morning after the big snow is a lot easier. I think that one of my favorite things is cruising for an image after a big snowfall.
If the schools are open the next day, it's a good place to find kids playing in the snow, plus you know what time and where they will be.


Mark M. Hancock said...

OK. Try to find a very large family that invites friends over during each snow. Let them know you want to come over during the next big snow. Since you know plenty of people are there (hopefully in front of a fire), then go there and document a family snow day.
The search is before the need. Then, you have a good shoot lined up when everything else shuts down.

BressonF8 said...

oh that's nice. I will have to start looking for a family. Maybe a story about how any family, maybe a single mother with a few kids, has to deal with kids not in school on a snow day...


Mark M. Hancock said...

Good idea. Make sure the family is large enough to give you plenty of activity to shoot. Also remember that once you commit to a family, you must be there and deliver. It's your word.

Marie said...

Around here there are snow day programs at one or two local schools...always a photo cash cow.
At night, there are always members of the DOT that work hard to keep the roads clear. This can become a cliche shot if a pj is not careful.
And Mark, I ditto your suggestion of finding local pj friendly places ahead of time...besides, local folks like the 'free' advertising of a nice photo.

Mark M. Hancock said...

If it's good enough for Marie, you must do it. No arguments allowed. ;-)