Tag Archives: Thoughts

Dust Birds

Editing of some photographs, and as I’m deleting dust, I realize they are birds…

I’ve been doing long exposure for too long…

- Andrew
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Photographing your Reunion

This past weekend, June 8-10, I had a chance to go back to my 30th Reunion at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown DE, and just like the past five reunions, it was great to see all my old classmates, their families and catch-up on life.

But that is not the purpose of this blog post, but to look at some of the things that a photographer might encounter when going back to a reunion where they are personally involved.

Equipment

When ever I am in a group, I am all was asked about what camera and gear do I use or recommend, and a reunion is no different, and the biggest surprise people find out about me, is how lightly equipped I am, and I tell them, it’s not the most expensive equipment, but how you use it, which seems to be forever lost.

I carry one camera body, and in the case of the reunion, I carried one lens and used my camera’s built-in flash (more on that later).

Shooting

At my first reunion, I did not bring a camera, and I had to rely on someone else to record the memories, and thankfully that person captured some of those moments in the early years to record a history.

During the next 20+ years, cameras were still film based, and people would still click and hope when taking pictures, and wait for days for the pictures to return from the developing labs.

Since then, computers are now main stream, and everyone with a phone, now has a basic camera, and as a photographer, what are you suppose to do when everyone around you is clicking away.

Your not on assignment, and you are not getting paid, so…

So relax and just enjoy it!

I know, it is easier said that done…

Built-In Flash

Normally, I use an exterior flash that I mount on top of my camera, but being a weekend that I’m supposed to be relaxing and enjoying, I decided to use the built-in flash, instead of lugging around the additional weight.

I had some concerns leaving my room without the external, and as the daylight faded away, and the various classes coalesced into small groups, it became more difficult to capture the candid moments.

I found it extremely difficult to shoot true candids as the light of red-eye reduction flicker announced my intention of taking a photograph. The subjects would look up, causing the moment to be lost, and awkward expressions.

In the future, based on this experience, I may just have to suck it up and deal with carry an extra set of batteries and use my external flash.

Auto-Focus

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with auto-focus, and I truly miss the days of split screen focus that were prevalent on film based cameras, but in this case, as the night wore on and the drinks began to settle in, I was glad to have the extra little help especially in the wee hours of the morning.

Editing

This was probably the most difficult aspect of doing this type of personal photography.

Of course the various “posed” shots would make it through to the final stages of editing, but there is always that hidden desire to capture the mood of an intimate moment between old friends.

I have known these people for over 30 years, I had no desire to present them in an unflattering manner, but as mentioned above with the built-in flash, there were many expressions and looks that would not live past my first round of editing.

Then there is also the issue, of how one perceives them 30 years ago, versus what they have become in the time since, the transformation of a dweeb/geek to a Doctor or a President of a major company.

It would be too easy to release outtakes and doing damage upon many levels, but that is also an issue whenever you are shooting.

Posting

Oddly, this turned out to be one of the most difficult tasks of the entire event!

During my 7+ years on the Alumni Council Board (ACB), there were many discussions about how to reach out to the various Alumni, and it was generally understood, that the older Alumni preferred more traditional means, while the younger Alumni were generally fully digitally enabled. My class fell somewhere in between.

During the Sunday brunch, I chatted with some of my classmates on where to post all our images from the weekend, and this discussion continued online on Facebook as well as several e-mails that were sent the following day.

It became rather apparent, that some of our class was very comfortable working with Facebook, but at the same time an equal number had not spent any time on any social network.

Several alternatives were suggested, such as Flickr, Google plus and some others, but a common theme was the security of the images, and not requiring the sign up for some new account.

Eventually, images were posted to several sites for all to enjoy.

Conclusion

I have definitely struggled trying to reach some conclusion in this type of shooting situation.

One is very torn between doing a professional job and just being a classmate, enjoying the weekend together.

One is also confronted with your classmates seeing your professional work and expecting that same type of professionalism after the weekend has ended.

Then one is also faced with all the images from everyone else, whether it be a camera phone, a simple point-and-shoot, or the schools photographer covering the event.

I have since seen the wonderful images from the school photographer as they covered the daytime events, but they cannot be everywhere shooting everything, and that’s where the camera phones and point-and-shoot cameras come into more prominence for the individual classes, especially as the night wears on into the early morning.

In five years, I’ll have a chance to do this again, and the biggest change that I will do next time, is to use an external flash.

As I learned many years ago, photography is about capturing the moment, or put another way film is cheap but the moment is not.

– Andrew
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Dalai Lama on Man

I just found this on the internet today…

‘Somebody once asked the Dalai Lama what surprises him most. This was his response:’

Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.

– Dalai Lama

Need to remember…