Monday, May 19, 2008

Getting That Great Shot!

My friend, Linda, from Second Cup of Coffee asked me this question concerning the "hat shot" from Kay's graduation:

"I am so happy for all of you, and yet you know how much I empathize with the challenges all of this brings. It's a bittersweet time, isn't it. You both look lovely, and I'm like everyone else who also loves the hat shot. Did you take that? Even the angle is interesting. "

Well, I thought that was a really good question. It was a great shot, something I'm proud that I took. Sometimes, however, those great kinds of shots take a bit of planning and work. For all you camera buffs who might be attending a graduation in the near future, here is how I captured that once in a lifetime moment.

First off, fight your way through the honking big crowd until you can find a patch of ground you can plant your feet on. Then change your mind and keep moving, all the while, knowing they might be taking the shot at any second.

Don't feel panicked when you cannot, in any way, find your own child in the midst of the 274 blue gowns and caps. Resolve within yourself that you won't get a close up anyway. It'll just have to be a group shot.

Now climb up and balance yourself on an 18" - 24" high garden barrier that you've located and have found an open spot on. Now be careful because it is a curved barrier and where you got a spot is actually starting to curve away from the action.

Now stand there and wait for a few minutes, while the "real" professional photographer organizes himself up front. Check your settings making sure the camera is ready to go so you don't get caught with it turned off or on a 2 second shutter delay. (Lesson learned from the convocation part of the ceremony). Balance yourself. Don't fall off on the baby and carriage someone parked right beside you! Take a test shot and notice there is a guy with a great big white cowboy hat taking up most of your frame.

Shuffle back a bit on the barrier without falling and without knocking anyone else off. You don't want to cause a scene and embarrass your grad in front of all these classmates and people. That would not be a good thing!

Now when they start the countdown for the hat toss get your camera arm up and ready with your finger on the button! Now very quickly and carefully, lean as far as you dare to your right, because a person has jumped on the barrier in front of you and has gotten their arm squarely into your viewfinder, all the while trying to stay on your precarious perch, not giving in to gravity and falling on the baby and carriage.

Point the camera slightly higher to get above the heads and arms upraised on the ground. Work quickly, as this is all happening within a count of three! Ignore the nagging pressure of knowing you have one chance at getting a picture. Now take the picture as soon as you see blue hats flying above the crowd.

Voila.



Great pic with an interesting angle.

Simple, really!

21 comments:

ellen b. said...

Hysterical, really!! LOL...

Barbie@ Mamaology said...

Oh you are so funny:) The crazy things we do for our kids:) But oh so worth it!

And yes it was a great shot!

Faith said...

WOW...like barbie said "the things we do for our kids!' it really is an awesome shot!

Barb said...

Yep. That's exactly the same technique I used to take that same shot at Krissy's college graduation. LOL

And get this. I had no idea where she was but I got lucky and she actually ended up in the shot I took!

Tori said...

How funny, but a great shot!

Org Junkie said...

Now if only someone had gotten a picture of you taking the shot...LOL.

You done good :)

Cyndi said...

Okay, this was cracking me up. SO funny.

It was a great shot, though. And well worth it. I think you should email it to the guy in the hat. (Who I wish would've turned around and gotten a picture of YOU! LOL)

Barbara H. said...

LOL! I don't think I would have had that kind of balance!! It is indeed a great shot.

Donnetta (momrn2) said...

After all that... I'm glad you got the shot! You are GOOD!

When my children are ready to graduate, I'll be sure to invite you because I'm sure I won't be that talented in getting such a great shot! LOL :-)

annie said...

Great job!

FlipFlop Mom said...

Gosh GIRL!!! this was great.. LOL LOL... I LOVE THE SHOT TOO!!! How AWESOME!!!!!!
Congrats on your graduate!!!

Kelsey Smith said...

HAHA Love it

GiBee said...

Oh, girl -- you crack me up! I think I would have fallen over and broken a hip or something like that!

Chappyswife said...

Whew! Sounds like a lot of work to be a pro. :0) Good job, Susanne!

Lisa writes... said...

Great "pointers!" Alas, I have been relieved of all picture taking duties as it appears I shake resulting in fuzzy pictures, which will not do for Mr. Lisa writes...

:-)

Congratulations to your girl! She is gorgeous!

Tammy said...

Love the step by step tutorial, Susanne...you made it all seem so...um....simple! Really! :)

Linda said...

You crack me up. The whole time I'm reading this narrative I'm thinking about THE HAND. What if you had fallen and re-injured THE HAND.

Rochelle said...

LOL!! You are funny! And I agree with Barbie!

Melanie said...

Great shot. I missed it the first time. Catching up on my reading.

gail@more than a song said...

LOL! I love your technique and explanation, and glad you weren't hurt! Good picture.

Bev said...

Cute, cute - I have this shot for all three of our kids and wouldnt have missed it for anything.