With spring weather in the Wenatchee Valley, photographer Mike Bonnicksen and I have more opportunities to find interesting people - and things - in our wanderings. Here's how the first part of this week worked out for me.
03/31/2014 World photo/Don Seabrook
On Monday, I was early to a golf tournament in Malaga and that gave me time to ask around about a bunch of plastic pink flamingos I had seen for many months in an empty field north of Malaga. I found and talked to property owner Bill Meyer of the Singing Springs Ranch who said the figures showed up about a year ago. "They just appeared one morning," he said. the news angle was that the area is generally wet with seepage from a mill pond across West Malaga Road from the pasture but with the Columbia River drawdown the mill pond water level is much lower so the pasture has dried up. He let me go out amongst the birds to photograph them. A wide angle lens showed the cracked mud and I waited for cars to go by the highway in the distance to give the photograph a sense of place. The early morning light helped increase the contrast.
At the golf tournament, I had a bit of a problem. My son, Eastmont's Aaron Seabrook, is a pretty good golfer and had a chance to have one of the top local scores. Mike Bonnicksen had the day off so I couldn't get out of covering the tournament and that meant I had to photograph Aaron for part of the time. He ended up being the low score and the team took home second place so I had our sports editor help decide what to use as the lead photo - which was this one. We try to keep away from conflicts of interest as best we can but with limited staff that becomes difficult sometimes.
On Tuesday morning, I was told we were doing a story on the opening of the trail system that day in the foothills of Wenatchee. I headed up as soon as I could, trying to use the early morning light and catch the first people on the trail. It happened that I ended up following a caravan of four other cars up the winding dirt road to the Sage Hills trail. At the trailhead, I found out that the people in the cars were staff of the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and they were there to open up the trail. I was happy to get this moment as the cable wraps around
Hanne Beener's head, framing it it perfectly.
And on Wednesday, I headed to Walla Walla Point Park, also in the early morning, to find signs of spring. First thing I saw was some PUD workers setting out fencing for the baseball fields. Then, along the trail, two small birds sat in a leafing tree, letting me get pretty close. At the office I looked up the kind of bird they were and found out they do migrate and show up in the area sometime in March. The information was verified by a few contacts we have to local birders.
Also on Wendesday afternoon, I was looking for a photograph to fill Friday's paper, knowing that both Mike Bonnicksen and I would be busy on Thursday working on longer term projects. I saw the Busjahn family playing on a spit of beach that has been exposed due to the Columbia River drawdown. After waiting, camera ready, Josh Busjahn buried the legs of his son, Rylan, 1, Wenatchee, in the sand and I knew I had something fun.
It's nice to have spring come back to the valley.