July 4, 2013 in Odessa, Mo.

I spent Independence Day with a camera around my neck, which I’ve done for one reason or another for several years now. This year, it was to fill up the second front page with photos this week.

The day started with the Odessa Outreach duckrace, which is an annual event. Outreach is an organization that functions like United Way, in that it raises money and gives it to organizations that need it. It’s a little tedious to take pictures of plastic ducks every year, but this is one of the biggest fundraising events in town. It also doesn’t help that the woman who came up with the idea happens to be my mother.

I tried a few new angles this year to try to change the photos up a little this year, and the results were about 50/50. The water-level photo of the ducks waiting at the finish line (above) became the main art for the page. The photos from water level of the ducks racing from the slide didn’t make the cut at all. Have I mentioned that my camera is definitely not waterproof?

The sunset picture was fun to take, because it shows off the new status of Lake Venita. Years ago, the dam broke, and we’ve had a mud puddle instead ever since. It’s been fixed and the water’s up again, which is pretty big cause for celebration in Odessa since the lake is visible from I-70.

Fireworks photos are difficult, but I love them all the same. I own a bridge camera, not a DSLR, and I don’t have a tripod. But years have trying have taught me how to fiddle the settings around and cradle the camera just right (without breathing) to get good firework pictures. I had the added bonus this year of being able to get really beautiful plays of light against the hill into the photo as well.

Again, these are the pictures that made the second front page, which I’ve uploaded to view. I designed the page, which was akin to staging a coup in our office since at Mizzou I was taught to design an open layout. My dad, who rules over production at the Odessan with an iron iMac, is of the “everything as close together as humanly possible” school of design. He even went as far as to cram down the text art and the photos above the fold after I’d left work for the day. I still think they would have looked better more evenly spaced, but you win some, you lose some.

In doing the page, I colorized a free font and added the art as well as placing the pictures. I wasn’t happy with the placement of the fireworks caption, but it was the best solution out of several placements. Everyone but my dad agreed we only needed one caption for fireworks, but having photos without captions was almost as much of a sin to him as the white space.

I also got a chance to use the cutline “Yankee Ducky Dandy” for one of my favorite kids in town, so I’m pretty pleased.

I’m a little disappointed with the printing since it turned my bright blues to blue violet and muted the color of that pretty cyan duck in the foreground of the main art (I’d like to know how, exactly, a CMYK printer messes up cyan). It also doesn’t show the nuances of the fireworks, but I knew that was going to happen.

I’m still pleased with how it all turned out.