Over the course of a year, I get phone calls, letters, and e-mail from members of four-wheel-drive clubs around the country, inviting me to come cover one of their events. There are literally thousands of official trail rides conducted from coast to coast by local clubs, and I would love it if I could cover even half of them. After all, trail coverage is at the very heart of this magazine. It gives us ideas about new areas to explore, and it gives us a glimpse at how other four-wheelers are building their rigs. But the honest truth is that there is simply neither enough time (I only have a two-man staff) nor enough money in my budget (it's small) to cover as many of these events as I would like.
So I've decided to take the unprecedented step of inviting four-wheel-drive clubs across the country to help me bridge the gap by contributing to the magazine. Here's what I have in mind: If your club is holding a trail-ride event that we can't cover, appoint a handful of club members to shoot photographs of the trail ride. Then get together later, go through all the photos, and send me the 20 best shots along with the name and address of your club, the name of the event, how many people attended, and details about what your club does.
Now, is this a guarantee that I will run a story? No. I have certain expectations that have to be met first. So let me outline them for you:* Don't send me prints. They'll go in the trash.* Don't send me dark, blurry, unfocused pictures.* Send 35mm slides or digital images on a CD.* Digital images must be at least 300 dpi at 4x4 inches.* Caption every image and include the names of the people in each.
To increase your chances of successfully getting your club into the magazine, let me give you a quick primer on what to do to get a good photo.* Try to keep the sun at your back.* Do most of your shooting in the early morning or late afternoon. The light is better, and the shadows aren't as hard.* Don't be afraid to move around. Kneel, stand on rocks, shoot vertically as well as horizontally.* Shoot as many different vehicles as you can.
I am determine to see more coverage of club trail rides in Sport Utility every month. And if you will work with me to accomplish this, it will be great for the magazine, great for the clubs, and will produce the kind of editorial that four-wheelers everywhere will enjoy seeing.