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.


5 responses to “Portrait Anyone?

    • Awesome is a good word for them, too! (Responding to comments out of order.) People who have no interest in birds are just blown away when they get to hold one. It’s really cool to watch.

    • Ah yes. Learning is what it’s all about. Plus, I got to hang out with a bunch of great people and all those fantastic birds (you are right–fantastic is the right word for them).

  1. Pingback: Models and Dogs | nomadicmainstream

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