Portrait Anyone?

The S.O.A.R. event on St. Patrick’s Day went wonderfully.  Over 200 people came and I think the event exceeded their expectations.  Watching children hold birds was especially a treat–how many people get to hold a bird of prey on their arm before they’re even a ‘tween?

As far as my venture in trying to get people to donate in exchange for photos, well, it turned out to be quite the challenge.

I did a few things right:

  • I practiced with my new lighting as much as possible beforehand.
  • I worked out a workflow ahead of time.
  • I setup my camera to shoot in JPEGs since there would be no time for post processing.
  • I took all my equipment out to the site the night before and did lots of testing to pick a good location to set up.
  • I tested my 100mm f/2.8 lens in the space I had to work in and prepared to shoot with my 17-55mm f/2.8 lens based on the results.
  • I did a lot of test shooting with my strobes at home with the 17-55mm lens.
  • I brought Pat along so he could help solve some of my more difficult problems.

I also did a few things wrong:

  • I should not have tried to use recently purchased lighting equipment at an event given my lack of experience with artificial lighting in general–it created extra stress
  • I didn’t set a custom white balance, which I really needed because of no post processing.
  • I forgot my CF card reader, which blew away my workflow until Pat went to Wal-Mart.
  • My extension cord crossed a major traffic area; Pat and a roll of duct tape to the rescue!
  • I didn’t test the process for burning CDs beforehand.  Having not burned a CD in about 10 years, this wasn’t wise.  My workflow resulted in drive failures, ruining several CDs.  I found a work around, but it wasn’t easy.
  • Finally, and most humiliatingly, a weird shadow suddenly appeared in my photos and I couldn’t figure out why.  After rearranging lighting about 1000 times, Pat came along and asked, “Are you sure it’s not the thing on your lens?”  Apparently, I bumped my lens hood and the wide part was in the wrong position, causing the shadow in the frame.  I can only explain the failure to recognize the problem immediately as a brain malfunction given this is something I’ve seen in the distant past.  Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that screams, “SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE’S DOING!” to your potential customers.  <sigh>

While these mishaps didn’t negatively affect my fund raising in the end, they did negatively affect my confidence.

As you can see from the gallery, I did not exactly produce stellar images.  While the circumstances were challenging, I have to face the fact that I didn’t have the skills for the challenge–yet.  So many things to work on!

On the up side, my black and white Prairie Falcon portrait sold in the silent auction.