Sunday, September 23, 2007

We Spent - But It Was Worth It!

My scuba buddy from my certification class just got promoted to Chief. Scott is a corpsman here, and their lovely family invited me to the pinning ceremony on Friday at 11am. Friday it was raining. No - that's truly an understatement. It was like a monsoon. And I wasn't really too jazzed about running from the car to the Camp Foster movie theater with my brand new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens.

But as I sat in the car at 10:40, contemplating my course of action, and really upset about the weather because I REALLY wanted to play with the new lens, the rain let up. Just enough for me to dash inside with the camera bag. The room was full of people - families, men & women in uniform, and lots of those people had cameras. Point and shoot cameras, flashes flickering, and I thought to myself how disappointed they'd all be when they saw their dark shots at home.

I unsheathed my beast of a lens in a seat about halfway back in the theater, behind a railing I could lean on to use as a bit of stability if I needed to.

The Camp Foster movie theater is very dimly lit by ugly fluorescent lights, possibly only out-uglied by the dark mustard-colored curtain. I used my Expo Disc to establish the proper white balance in that - did I mention dimly lit and ugly room? - and snapped a shot or two at 1600 ISO and 2.8f. I looked at them in my viewfinder (which on that 40D is now HUGE compared to the last one) and almost yelled out loud! WOW! What a difference a lens makes!

IT was my first pinning ceremony, and it was very interesting. First a lovely Chief sang the National Anthem. Then a man came up to the podium and started to speak after a brief prayer from the Chaplain. A few minutes in, the Chief who sang came on stage and whispered to the man - who subsequently told us we could take our seats (yes, we were still standing!). Picture # 12 in the album shows the moment following the realization that we could sit down!

34 people were promoted to Chief that day, and they had family and close friends and mentors pin them and put on their new covers. I found myself tearing up watching the first few people who did it - and I didn't know them from Adam. Scott's last name is Cyr, so because they pinned people in alphabetical order by last name, he was pretty early on. Before his turn, I hopped out of my seat and furtively (or not so furtively thanks to heels and a really big lens) dashed up front to capture the moment. It wasn't easy - and I had no idea if the ideas I had were going to turn out well when I got home to look, but it felt great to be up there. And Scott's wife, Michelle, was so appreciative.

Anyway - thanks so much, Michelle and Scott, for inviting me and letting me share in the big day - and thank you for giving me permission to share your pictures with my friends & family and whoever else might stop by my blog. Even though you don't know them, this is a good example of how far I've come with my photography. I'm really proud of these shots.
Oh - the kids' names are Austin (the son, 11 years old) and Tyler (the daughter, 13). I edited the shots, and when Michelle saw them her response was:

All those shots are amazing! I immediately shared the link with our family and friends. Everyone is raving over your talent. Laura is cursing you were not around back in the day when her husband was pinned, and Linda wants you to take their pics." She also lamented that every shot she took was dark, so she was so happy to have these. You're so welcome, Michelle - it was my pleasure!

At the ceremony, one of the men who was pinned came up and the man calling the names said he was with 7th Communications Battalion - that's Craig's unit! I called him when I got home, still yelling and gasping about the quality of the pictures, and he said, "Yeah - that's Chief (so and so), I barbecued with him at the family picnic this summer. Super nice guy."

When he got home, Craig told me that another guy from his unit was the one who came to put on his cover for him during the ceremony - and Craig said that I was taking pictures for our friend there. Apparently, the guy said, "Curly-haired brunette with a really BIG tan and black lens? Yeah - I saw her." Inconspicuous it ain't - but that's ok. I was never the wallflower type anyway.

1 comment:

Edith said...

These are awesome pictures! Aren't Chief pinning ceremonies awesome..I've seen one in the rain before on a flight was super cool. They all look so tough!