Graduation day... a big day for these 130 or so SFSU undergrads! I am so far removed from graduation and academia that I had a strange deja vu feeling, when I wandered the crowd pre-ceremony, taking in all the giddy excitement. I recalled way back when, I realized that my outfit would not be visible beneath that hulking cloak and thus Shoes really mattered. It seemed that much attention had been given to shoes on this day. Somethings don't change.
I'd photographed a graduation for this department in the past, and so had some idea of what I was getting into. Something like a wedding, in that I get one chance to get that Shake Hands With the Dept Dean photo - except, x130 instead of that just one wedding kiss. Similar in that I get no choice about lighting. I rented an upgrade on my flash - one that cycles faster than my own (ie, after one flash is ready to flash again faster), and a power pack so I wouldn't have to worry about draining and swapping out batteries.
While the auditorium was still empty, I recruited a friendly person to stand on the stage while I tweaked my camera settings to optimize for my flash and poor stage lighting.
There were speeches and award presentations prior to the Dean Hand Shake. I hovered in the wings taking photos... and then my battery pack simply died. !!! I had just rented it, and it was supposed to be fully charged. I scooted down the aisle and found an outlet, relying on my back up AA batteries for now. The thing never worked again. Fortunately, my AA batteries held up - though I worked conservatively and took only one pic per grad Hand Shake instead of the 2 in quick succession that I had planned, to have a choice of 2 in case of blinks. In the end, 2 out of the 130 contained blinks. I've offered those students a photoshopping service, but have not heard back. Post ceremony, I cruised the crowds, taking grad's family photos. I posted everything on a online kodak album for people to buy prints. There are ways to link a shopping cart to my website, mark up print prices and get a % return for prints ordered etc etc but eh, I just want grads to have their pics.
Hehe I'm pretty sure it did not occur to that professor that wore red shoes that they would be featured in every single grad's Hand Shake photo.
I was very surprised to hear from one grad via email. "Your professional photos are amazing and they are really clear even though the theatre lighting was dim. You add a quality touch to every photo that brings out the additional joy of our graduation ceremony!" How nice is that?