Celebrating Independence Day for me normally involves covering 4th of July festivities for The Mercury. This year I photographed the first of the two day celebration in Pottstown shooting pictures of a group of hot air balloonists lifting off over Memorial Park, a country rock band and the big draw of the evening, THE BABY CONTEST.
The events at the park make for numerous photo possibilities for the paper and website. The weather this year was ideal, no rain, not too warm. Just a perfect evening for activities. But don't think for a minute I wasn't sweating the baby contest.
All the babies are winners in my book. The little girls and boys are smartly dressed for the occasion. But the mom's holding their children make me nervous. I'm kidding of course but it's hard to take a picture of each child and put them in the paper. But the looks I get at times seem to be asking me, "What about taking my baby's picture?" This year I had a father ask me laughingly, " How much money to take a picture for the paper?" I think he was serious.
I work quickly scanning the crowd for a child that would make a good front page photo. A child learning to walk for the first time. Another waving a flag. All the girls are pretty as a picture and the boys are snappy looking. I can't go wrong by whomever I photograph.
I keep my head down and try not to make eye contact with the moms. They look at me and then at their babies and then back at me. I'm intimidated. I have covered some of the toughest events for the paper for years but that baby contest has me back pedaling. So on this blog I'm including a number of the photos that may not have gotten covered in print but will make it onto the digital world for all to see.
It's not hard to get a really good photo from the event, but I wish I were invisible. And to be a judge is a thankless job. I was asked to judge a contest years ago at a Berks County event and gladly participated. Little did I know what I was in for. Everyone wants their baby crowned as the winner. I felt like a baseball umpire making a bad call during a game. When it was over I made a hasty retreat to my car.
But in the end, the parents do enjoy the day and maybe next year I will take pictures of their baby.