Being There

Finally, after much anticipation, the big event–my nephew’s graduation day.  Of course, it wouldn’t be my family if we didn’t have a debate as to the necessity of celebrating high school graduation by going to a ceremony.  My family doesn’t require a reason for a debate.  If there’s a question to be asked, someone asks it.  If Hamlet were my relative, he wouldn’t have asked “to be or not to be.” He would have asked, “I am.  But why?  And is it really all that important?”

In any case, we had a pleasant surprise when Sam and Ellie appeared at the house at about 2PM in the afternoon (they were supposed to be at school).  This afforded us the opportunity to take some more pictures!

We gathered in the front yard and I set up my umbrella stand.  This is when I learned about why photographers own sand bags.  Having been a huge fan of Mary Poppins, I was only disappointed that it wasn’t strong enough to carry me away.

Fortunately, with 8 people standing around, it was much easier to find an assistant than a sand bag.

I went through the standard combinations:  Grad with his girlfriend.  Grad with his grandparents.  Grad with his parents.  Grad with his brother.   I’ve really got to start paying attention to group photos to figure out some better poses–I really am horrible at directing people on where and how to stand.

After finishing up pictures, the grads went on their way and we started getting ready to meet them at graduation.  We had a grand plan with three of us going an hour earlier than the rest to get good seats.  However, I got confused on what time we were leaving and we were 15 minutes late.  Then, we stopped to grab food on the way.  When we got there, the best seats left were up behind the stage.  We had a good view of Sam’s seat, but not of the stage since we were behind it.

Having shot my older nephew at the same place 2 years ago, I decided to try to improve on my shots by adding a teleconverter to my 100-400mm lens to try to get tighter on Sam than I was able to on his brother.  This was a fatal mistake.

I have tried to remind myself when choosing lenses to ask whether light or length was more important.  In this case, both were.  However, the loss of light caused by adding the teleconverter was critical.  Few of the shots taken with it on worked–I had too much motion blur because of too slow a shutter speed.

I was very sad about my failure at getting tighter shots, but I did take the teleconverter off just in time for Ellie’s walk across the stage.

After the ceremony, as we searched for the parked car, the sky was so cool, I had to stop and take a shot while everyone else looked for the car.