Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rough night, early start

"Diana Morris, Director of Open Society Institute, and the rest of OSI-Baltimore mark their 10-year anniversary in 2008. Over the past 10 years, the multifaceted nonprofit has tackled subjects such as inadequate drug addiction treatment, poorly performing schools and unacceptably high rates of incarceration."

Last week there was nothing more I wanted than a good dinner out on the town. I got that meal, it was delicious, but during the early morning, warning signs told me my meal was not very good after all.

In the wee-hours of the morning I was awaken by a grumbling stomach and a rash fever. Roughly 20 seconds later I was in the bathroom saying hello to my dinner. Food poisoning was the verdict, so I expect.

It was a long night. I'll leave it at that.

Since classes were over at that point, I had originally planned to wake up early, check my e-mail for assignments and either go shoot or go back to bed. However, having been up all morning ill, I never quite made it up at 7 a.m. like I had planned.

Around 9 a.m., I got a text saying, "If you're up, check your e-mail." I grabbed my phone, checked my e-mail and saw I had a 10:30 a.m. downtown.

Still feeling slightly ill, I gave my editor a call and said I still could get to the assignment and I was leaving my house in 30 minutes.

I downed some water, hopped in and out of the shower, got dressed, grabbed my gear bag, and was out the door.

At 10:15 a.m. I was in downtown Baltimore and had easily found a parking spot, which was surprising. I was still rushing though. I was still feeling tempered, too.

With a smile on, I took the elevator up to the 13th floor where my subject was not waiting for me.

The assignment had said 10:30 a.m., but she was running about 10 minutes late her assistant told me. "Feel free to scope out a place to shoot and setup," he said.

This was actually an advantage, because I wasn't feeling too well at this point, and while I do like meeting new people and making small talk, I was actually happy that I wasn't going to get much face time with her. No offense to her, but I was just feeling sick.

I searched around and found a cool board meeting room. Since the assistant told me they do a good amount of work helping children, I knew the moral would be a good, eye-catching graphic as a background. But I had forgotten something. My umbrella.

Typically I use an umbrella to get a nice soft, large light source when shooting corporate type people. But rushing and not thinking clearly, I had forgotten it in my trunk. I didn't want to risk leaving, so I used a something from my bag-o-tricks.

I fired my Nikon SB-800 (read:flash) against a white wall to soften the light. I killed all the tungsten lighting and let only the ambient daylight spill into the room.

I shot my first test frame at 10:26 a.m. and then waited around for her.

Normally, I get business people out of their office, out from behind their desk and take them outside. But since my time was becoming limited by the minute, I had to stick to their office space.

My first frame of her was at 10:53 a.m. I was really pushing my shooting window, as the assignment said this was the only time she could sit for a portrait and her phone interview was at 11 a.m.

Some feel uncomfortable when they are only allotted a small amount of time to shoot, or feel demanding when they tell people what to do during a portrait. I actually don't mind being bossy if I have to, and small amount of time to shoot is always a good challenge.

Luckily, she did exactly what I asked her with no hesitations. A couple tweaks to my original camera and flash settings, and about three minutes later, I had my three variations of her by 10:56 a.m.

This left me enough time to check the back of my camera to make sure the images would work for the story. It also allowed her enough time to get back to her desk and take the phone call interview from the reporter.

In addition, it also allowed me to get back to my car, move the images and go back home to get some rest.


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