Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Ride in darkness, outer space

"Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space, speaks to 50 campers from SciGirls, the Maryland Science Center's camp for girls ages 11-13."

Every assignment has at the very least one challenge. If you ask any photographer what their biggest challenge is on a normal basis, it's always going to be the same - Light.

Since photography is the art of writing with light, or as I say capturing light, or any number of other definitions, I really got put to the test Monday afternoon.

On my way back from Washington, D.C., I was called to shoot Sally Ride. The name sounded familiar, but to be honest, it took me a moment to realize who she was.

The standalone art featured Senator Barbara Mikulski hosting Dr. Ride, yes, America’s first female astronaut to launch into space, at an event with 50 campers at the Maryland Science Center’s camp for girls ages 11-13, designed and taught by young women.

Having a small hidden interest in the outer, untraveled regions of the universe known as space, I was pretty amped to, at the very least, get to hear Dr. Ride speak on her experiences. I mean who wouldn't want to go to outer space?

Anyways, I knew I would be challenged as it was a standalone and we were hoping she would be interacting with children rather than stand behind a lectern.

No such luck and my challenge didn't end there.

Since media needed to be in place at 2:00 p.m., they stuffed us in a fairly nice lit part of the Baltimore Science Center where there were tons of astronaut props and cool pictures, videos. They would have made for a logical connecting graphic if Dr. Ride planned to interact with others in this room.

Notice "would have" in that last sentence. So again, no such luck. The action would be taking place in the room next to it.

I started think, "OK, what else could go wrong?" Then I walked into the room - total darkness. I am talking ISO 6400 1/80 @ f/2.8, if that.

There were two tiny lights on the lectern, a glowing, spinning globe in the center of the room and an overhead projector spilling a little bit of light on the children in the front row.

Lucky for me, I had two friends. My camera and the television cameraman.

My D3 was up to the task. Quick focusing in dark conditions, somewhat nice looking images, even at 6400 ISO, and overall a nice camera to work with in the outer space called the Science Center.

The television camera guy at one point used his on-camera light to shine on Dr. Ride's face, giving me my small (read: less than 30 seconds) window of time to make my only below 3200 ISO tight portrait.

Once I snagged the tight image of Dr. Ride, as per usual, I opted to go for the less literal image.

I made my way behind everyone, and got a rare glimpse of what Dr. Ride may have seen from the space craft. Darkness, home, which we call Earth and stars.

Darkness worked, but I cannot say I was happy with it the entire time. I loved the effect I got from the lights on the ceiling and cameraman's recording light, which could resemble plants and stars. Just one way to approach an assignment differently.

In unrelated news, this past weekend I got great photo play in the Saturday and Sunday editions of The Sun. Last week I had great assignments and they all finally ran, so I'll be posting a couple of them this week.

And I am sorry if I keep bringing up The Sun, but I am having a blast and everyone here is awesome.


Blogger Phil Romans said...

Friend of mine was there yesterday. They are starting the program at Catholic High with her.
Even talked with Don Thomas, TU's astronaut, and he said TU has a Sally Ride program each May for science and math camp. They have a female astronaut come and talk at that program.

Very cool stuff.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008 8:21:00 AM  

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