SFSU College of Health & Human Services, Dept of Health Education Graduation / Ceremony for both Bachelors and Masters students. In the last few days I'd become a bit stressed out thinking about photographing this, as it is indoors, and I would need to use flash continuously. And, there would be no room for flash error! The students would be called one after another to receive their scroll, an be photographed. I already know my Canon 430EX drinks batteries and can take up to 10 seconds to recycle (ie, be ready to flash again); longer when batteries are not fresh.
I asked my favorite camera rental equipment about battery packs. I'd seen these before, flash with a coiled phone cord-like cord, plugged into a rectangular box about the size and weight of my 2 TB external HD. See one of these set ups and one thinks, now that's a pro! They recommended the Quantum Turbo 2x2 Battery, which unfortunately is incompatible with 430EX. Thus, I rented both the 2x2 and Canon 580EX (massive flash upgrade). $35 for both, for a day at Procamera Rental.
TOTALLY worth it and COMPLETELY necessary. Almost 70 students, bang bang bang received scrolls and posed for 3 seconds with the dept chair. Student turn over time of 10 seconds or less. For each I took 2 photos in rapid succession, and the flash was ready for the next. The concentration of stress per minute was far higher than any wedding. Two chances in 3 seconds to capture arguably the First Major Accomplishment in these people's lives.
Enough equipment talk. The woman above, Maya, was selected by her peers to give an Address to the Graduating Class. A very dynamic, passionate speaker, she spoke of the historical social foundations that our city stands on (LGBT movement, Harvey Milk; first openly gay man elected to public office), yet the challenges we still face (the CA ban of same-sex marriage, the Arizona anti-immigration law), and how as health education grads they have responsibility and power to make progress and -
What does this have to do with graduation? An accented man's voice called out from the otherwise rapt audience. And then something along the lines of: Why don't you get on with it? Not all of us believe the same beliefs as you do.
Stunned silence. The rudeness of it, the ignorance, the impatience, the utter lack of respect for a woman the students and faculty obviously held in high regard. He might have added more comments, but I was too shocked to listen; all I heard were some other students yelling at the man to Sit Down! Maya handled the situation admirably, thanking him for sharing but pointing out that it was her time to speak.
During the reception after the ceremony, I chatted with Maya's partner. We realized, that the outspoken man had accomplished exactly what he didn't want to do, which was to make Maya's words even More Powerful, cause More Discussion and Thought about her words, to make her speech all the More Memorable. One couldn't have planted a better interrupter! How ironic.
And who was this man? A relative or father of a student, I'm assuming. Should I bother to tell you his ethnicity, or likely religious belief? Does it make it a different story if you did know? Hmm.