Mama, look at me now!

I took hundreds of pictures in four days, about eight hundred in all. I had no idea what to expect as volunteered photographer for a women’s conference.  My reveries were shaken when I was handed a long  list of required photos. All of a sudden it sounded like a mightily dull task I was headed for, for five days straight.

Picture of the President. Picture of the Executive Director. Picture of clubs receiving awards. Picture of the Resolution Chair (and what on earth was that?).  The Parliamentarian.  And on and on.  I started to think “Ho, Hum, snore!”.

The arrivals desk was dressed in a sassy lime green. Two familiar club members were already in place, lazily gossiping as they awaited the first attendees to register, whilst fixing up signs and directions, attending to last minute details.

I joined in the chatter and was rather delighted at the reception I got. People had seen my photographs before and were expecting great things from me. I was impressed that they were impressed before even seeing anything.  I chattered so much I missed the first set of photos I was supposed to take, and I simply could not line up the folks for a second chance. The attendees had left for tours throughout the city and I’d lost the moment.

I made up for it later, taking away more pictures than were required. I love taking pictures, fixing in time the people watching that I do. There was a real mix of dress code with some in very casual wear and some dressed as if for an important day in the office. The President of the organization came with a new outfit for every session and I was happy to capture that because she was a slight, perky red headed woman, reminding much of one of my business friends who had the same energy and charisma.  She was beautiful and wore her clothes well.

I did as requested and took all the required photos but the light levels were poor and I was hampered by daylight blasting through gaps in the curtains and by pot lighting that I discovered afterwards had made halos or tiaras on top of a person’s head. I used my Adobe Photoshop skills to diminish the effects of these afterwards. There’s a miracle in that programing!

As a result of those conditions , I was careful to take portraits afterwards of people in their best outfits and I managed to get some beatific smiles. Really, the plainest person is beautiful when she lights up a radiant smile. All the character comes out and shines.

There was some light relief with the receptions and the banquet. On Friday, there was a salmon barbeque. One of the decorations was a fabulous crisp ice sculpture that melted as the evening wore away getting less and less precise as time went on to a rounded edged version of the same. It was simply enough done that I could photograph the distant city and the mountains through it. That was fun!

At the banquet on Saturday night, I found myself at the head table, all but next to the National President and facing the banquet sponsor and the Conference Chairperson. I was rather surprised at the honour but realized that it was very practical for me to be right at the front to be able to get up and photograph as important events went by. I could have been at the next table at the front and done as well, but I certainly wasn’t going to complain.

I had a smile in the back of my mind and maybe one on my face too. Mother set such store by honours and dignitaries. If only she could  see me now,  would  she ever be  proud.

I must have been daydreaming because I all of a sudden heard “the toast to the Queen”. With a startled haste, I flipped on the power switch of the camera and as it booted up, I missed the occasion. I didn’t even get a photograph of the woman who had had the honour of proposing the toast.  I asked her to go through the motion again, but she, a stickler for protocol, told me that you have to be so careful in toasting the Queen that you must adhere to it precisely. Sorry, but the moment  was lost.

Mama would have been proud, but I can just imagine her vicarious embarrassment that  I had missed the most important photo of the evening.

If you were watching, Mama, that was Win one, Lose one.


One Response to “Mama, look at me now!”

  1. suburbanlife Says:

    Great reportage – LFB. I have only had the experience of being photographer at several high school graduations, with a film SLR and my rather uneven skills as a photographer, no photoshop. The darn part of what was so frustrating then was not having any idea of how the pictures would turn out, and hoping I didn’t screw up in developing the film and thereby lose all the shots of the occasions.
    I can well imagine your frustration with missing what others may have construed as “important moments”. Were you not given a program of presentations at the banquets to follow along and thus be prepared for what was to come? I am going to go out on a limb and say that missing a shot of the toast to the queen is not a biggie. Your photos will be trotted out at some future occasions, and the absent HRH toast picture will probably not get noticed, nor commented on in any lasting negative fashion. If Nonie is watching, she is probably wincing uncomfortably and most likely understands what happened during the festivities to so distract you. I can almost hear her now saying “Oh well, Kay was so excited with the honour of sitting at the head table that…”. G

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