Shooting photos is every photojournalist's first love. It's what we got into the business to do. Sure, some of us end up as photo editors, which means we go to meetings, schedule assignments and make decisions about tomorrow's paper more than we shoot. That's our job as an editor and it's a lot of fun too, in a different way. I like knowing I get to make a difference in the kind of photos we run. I like training young photographers who just started learning. I take pride in my staffers and their work. I like to think that our photo department runs smoothly (as much as any newsroom can in reality, of course.) I try (key word: try) to always get them out on interesting, compelling assignments. I really love my job, but we may have a really busy period where I miss taking photos.

Once and a while, when I'm having a hard day or have spent countless hours in meetings, I am thrilled to run out into the open air with my camera and shoot anything, anywhere. I think "I get to take pictures today! hurrah!" and like a kid at a candy store, I skip towards my assignment with glee.

Last week when I was having a particularly challenging day, my assignment ended up being the MAA 'Rage in the Cage' event at the community center. The fighter we were covering, Mr. Rodriguez, was a very nice young man. I hung around him incessantly taking photos as he warmed up, got ready and generally prepared for the fight. He explained to me all about his training, how the fights work and how he got into it in the first place. I have never seen any type of cage fight before so it was completely new to me. I love covering stories that are out of my realm of experience. I feel like I get to see a different world than the one I spend my daily life in. Then I get to share that with others the next day in the paper.

So when I came back from that assignment, glowing with the experience of getting to take photos, everyone asked me if I had a good time and I said "YES!" so enthusiastically that they probably wanted to take a couple steps back, wondering if I was overcome with the violent excitement from the event. But the truth was, after a long week, it was just great to meet new and different people, learn about their lives and take photos.

Sometimes, when things are bit harder than average, that's all a journalist really needs. One assignment or person to remind us why we got into this business in the first place, we really do love what we do.