Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The Argus Observes: Looking back over 1952

By Don Lynch
From the Jan. 5, 1953 issue of The Argus-Observer

Last night Hugh Gale and I looked back over the picture news of 1952. There were some big stories. The Owyhee flood was colorful and we pictured it in considerable detail. We recalled how we rented a plane on an impulse late Wednesday afternoon. The light was just strong enough for us to take aerial photos.

I ran the camera. Hugh handled the film holders and Joe Driscoll flew the plane. It was quite a thrill for me, the one and only time I have ever done any aerial photography, although Gales has been up with cameras twice since then.

The picture of the washout at the railroad bridge at the mouth of the Owyhee River was the best picture of destruction that we got.

The biggest thrill came when we shot the dam. I had no idea of the camera setting needed. It was getting late and I knew that the light in the canyon would be poor. So I opened the aperture on the Speed Graphic clear open to 4.5 and slowed the shutter speed as much as I thought it would stand. Joe flew the plan up along the right side of the canyon, cut back across the face of the dam and turned it up into a vertical position.

We hung suspended there for just a split second with the camera aimed over the edge of the cockpit and pointed almost straight down at the dam. I tripped the shutter at that instant. The result was surprisingly good, an excellent picture when we had hardly hoped to get one at all.

We rushed back to the shop, souped film and printed pictures until almost midnight. I got up early and rushed to the engravers at Nampa Thursday morning and returned before noon in time to get the engravings into the paper. We were proud of the results. The Idaho Statesman, situated just as well for taking pictures and with many times as much news covering strength, didn’t do nearly as well.

We did an extensive job on the new high school which was a top story easily photographed. There were other important stories that produced good pictures: The Owyhee bridge cave-in that killed two workmen, the election, the polio epidemic, and the “Welcome to Oregon” centennial celebration. These events are all noted on today’s summary picture page along with some other human interest pictures.

As we selected pictures last night we recalled Gale’s first month here. I had warned him as he started that sometimes the news was sparse and it took hard digging to get out an interesting paper.

After a few weeks he asked what I meant by dullness in the news. The news seemed plenty active enough for him. In his first month we had the visit of the fabulous nut, Stanley Clement Green, a man burned to death in a trailer house fire, there was a Grad A public row over the failure of the school board to rehire two teachers, the Malheur River flooded and then the Owyhee really flooded all on top of an active situation in school district, city and county news --- plus the regular flow of news.

But in the dog days between the Fourth of July and the county fair Hugh found out what I had been talking about. He almost walked a hole in the tile of the office floor trying to dream up stories good enough for the top front page positions.

That’s the way it is in the news in a small town, in a big city oron an international wire service. It ebbs and flows. It is either feast or famine.

So if we newsmen seem a little crotchety at times, please forgive us and charge our temperament off to the vagaries in the news. We’re either having a terrible time trying to keep abreast of events or we’re tearing our hair out trying to find enough good stories to keep you reading the paper.

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