Monday, May 10, 2010

Another View

Looking Under the Eiffel Tower’s Skirt, 2006

A friend asked me to take pictures last week at a gathering of civic leaders from across our region. The governor was going to be present and there would be a need for many “official” pictures. It was your typical business-like gathering. Namely, a convention center with 500 or so people seated at round tables across a vast ballroom floor.

If you’ve paid any attention to my pictures at Fotolog, Flickr, Facebook or here at What I Saw, you know that I don’t usually do “events.” (I shot one wedding back in 1971 and did a good job. But that was enough to convince me that I’d never want to do that kind of event again, either.) But I’m also not one to deny a friend’s request for help if there’s something I can do that will help.

Fortunately, I wasn’t the only person my friend asked to take pictures. A more experienced event photographer with equipment better suited to the occasion than mine was also on site. There was at least one other capable photographer from the organization sponsoring the event. No fewer than three different professionals were videotaping.

Given the presence of people capable of providing all the usual people and speaker shots, I decided to go for something different. Nothing radical, mind you. But at least something photographically interesting and more akin to the color commentary in sports broadcasting.

I started by bringing two cameras and four lenses. I didn’t know what the lay of the land would be before I got there. So I didn’t really know what I’d need. I knew the speakers would require longer lenses. But as soon as I saw the more professional photographer covering those shots, I knew I could stop worrying about them. I’d also brought a fast 50mm lens that I knew could do a good job in a possibly low light situation. But the event organizers had made sure to provide TV quality lighting for the two focal points in the room. So I could put that one away, too. I ended up with the 18-70mm zoom lens on one camera and a 10.5mm fisheye lens on the other.

The fisheye’s an admittedly unusual choice for such an occasion. It involves a certain amount of purposeful distortion that’s fun if, as in the photo above, you’re looking for a different view of the Eiffel Tower. But it would probably irritate the heck out of any serious photojournalist. I figured, though, that everyone else’s shots would be so straightforward that mine could bear stretching things a bit. The event was groundbreaking in several important ways. But so far as photographs go, I mean, really, haven’t we all seen enough traditional shots of ballrooms full of people sitting at round tables?

Between the two cameras I took about 75 photographs. I can’t say I came away with anything that blows anyone away. But I’ll bet there aren’t as many curves in anyone else’s pictures from the day.

Regional Day, 2010

Regional Day Blogger, 2010

1 comment:

  1. I bet those will stand out! They look interesting, which is more than you can say for most shots of scenes like this. Love the Eiffel Tower shot, too!