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Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Today was a wonderful day indeed!

Today my good friend R. (The blues musician) graduated from SFU (Simon Fraser University) with his Bachelor of Arts Degree/History Major. He actually graduated in December last year, but his convocation ceremony was today.

I was his official grad photographer.

Today I was reminded why it's important to be prepared, because if anything can go wrong, it will--and at the worst possible moment. I managed to slide into a nice, high spot to take photos of the grads coming down the stairs at SFU, just prior to when they take their seats at the beginning of the ceremonys. It was tricky, because there were many other eager photographers running around trying to find jus thte right spot. Mine was prime property at the time, up high and near the center and I was staying there no matter what.

So I shot off a few test shots (I was shooting film today mostly, with a 70-200 f2.8L Canon zoom lens) and double checked my exposure settings. Everything was functioning as it is supposed to. Then it happed. The battery in my film camera died. Instantly. Disaster, because my shutter was now stuck in the open position. I nearly freaked, but I knew I'd brought aother battery along in my equipment back. The problem was, my equipment bag was about 200 meters away with my friend R.'s sister. She was watching it for me from the seats back in the ceremony hall.

I had to think fast! Do I run back and quickly swap the battery? No, that would have been impossible with all the hundres of people moving about in every direction. So here I was standing there in a prime spot, with $4000.00 worth of camera gear in my hands that had been rendered completely useless by the failure of a $12.00 battery. And when I looked up, R. was just coming down the stairs. Luckily, I had my digital camera hanging around my neck. I ended up using that instead. It worked and the pictures were pretty good--acceptable enough for that particular shot anyway.

Then I rushed back to my equipment bag and changed the battery in the film camera. Fwew! Back in business! The new battery was nice and fresh and it gave me no trouble so it was all smooth sailing after that.

As the ceremonies proceded, I found another good location to shoot from near the front. I was waiting for my friend R. to walk onto the stage and accept his graduation certificate and my camera was in the ready position to capture the moment. Then a gentleman approached me and asked me if I would take some photos of his son for him. He didn't have a camera and so I agreed to do it for him, and he gave me his mailing address.

Then another man approached me and he was more desparate than the other man. He wanted photos of his son as well, but his own camera was broken. I agreed to do it for him. After I'd taken a few pictures of his son, I turned to him to get his contact information and he was crying. This nearly broke my heart because I wasn't expecting it. I somtimes forget how proud parents are of their kids when they succeed like this. I would be proud too.

I got a few more photos of my friend R. at the campus, and then we headed over to a nice, nearby park for a picnic dinner. We went to Burnaby Mountain Park. It's a beautiful park high up on a mountain overlooking Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean. My friend R.'s dad came all the way from Winnipeg Manitoba. He made some really great lasagna the night before and we had that. It was excellent! I'm not supposed to eat cheese, but I coudn't resist. It was yummy.

After dinner we played Bachi Ball and took some more photos of the family. I think everyone had a great time.

Tomorrow I'm going to take the film to the processing lab. I hope it comes out nicely. I'm also going for breakfast at IHOP with my best friend L. We both love IHOP.

So that was my day.


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