Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly


I had a photography gig last night that went very well. It was a wedding reception for a young couple who had wed recently down in Mexico, and since most of their friends had not been able to attend, the parents threw quite the party for their kids' friends, as well as their own country-club friends at their beautiful sprawling ranch here in the valley.

It was probably the most lavish party I've ever seen, and no small affair. They were prepared for three hundred guests. Huge white tents and canopies housed the hors d'ourves tables and conversation areas, the bar, the buffet spread and the dining area, complete with little white twinkle lights. The ultra-exclusive local country club catered the event and provided a staff of nearly twenty people to prepare and serve food, as well as keep everyone's wine glasses full at all times and clean everything up behind everyone as quickly as the sweepers at Disneyland.

The parking attendants were on horseback. The new barn was finished just in time for the professional band to play for the after dinner dance. The chocolate cake was so dense and rich I could barely finish my small slice.

It was an amazing event. I cannot imagine how much the evening must have cost.

Anyway, I was the official photographer for the evening and had a really good time doing it. I got some great photos and may get more residual business from the event.

The Bad:

My camera--my beautiful new camera that I've had for less than a year--is not working properly. The dial that allows me to adjust my manual settings is not functioning at all. So, the camera works fine on automatic and on some of the programmed settings, but I can't make it do what it is that separates it from any other point-and-shoot.

Shooting an indoor and outdoor evening event without my manual settings was challenging, to say the least. I felt a little like a painter that is expected to still create a masterpiece, even though he is limited to the one little brush that comes in the plastic box of children's watercolors. I had to play all sorts of tricks on the camera to fool it into making the automatic settings change to what I needed for difficult lighting situations.

The problem might be repairable, but I couldn't get it taken care of in time for last night's event. I will have to check into the repair now, before the BIG wedding I am to shoot in late September. I really hope it can be fixed.

The Ugly:

The smoke from the forest fires surrounding our valley is really wearing me down. I think I am more sensitive to it than most people. On the better days, I only feel a little sluggish and slow. On the worst days, like today, I have a constant headache, my eyes and nasal passages burn, and I feel like I couldn't breathe deeply even if I wanted to. Every day, I just want to hide indoors and do nothing. I am feeling caged and stir-crazy, yet lethargic at the same time.

The smoke has been our constant companion for the entire month of August so far. Temperatures have cooled off considerably, but the winds have also been kicking up strongly this weekend and we are still waiting for rain. The forecast predicts rain tonight and again tomorrow night, but so often the rain storms dissipate in the mountains or are diverted around our valley and we don't get any of the moisture that looks on the weather maps like it is headed straight for us.

Today, I actually came to the point of earnestly praying for rain. Blah.


alison said...

I hope the rain that is falling on us is falling on you too. This morning, waking to its sound outside our open window, I thought how much more appreciative I am of the rain this time of the year when I'm living in a parched land. But it's not parched like you know parched.

Take it easy today.

Sherry C said...

The smoke is not bad this morning. We did get some rain overnight and there are dark, menacing storm clouds hanging over the mountains.

The fact that we can see the mountains at all is wonderful, as they have been missing from view for most of the month, even though they are only a few miles away. The fact that we can see the mountains AND storm clouds at the same time is truly thrilling to the heart of every Bitterrooter this morning.

Did you ever read Pearl S. Buck's The Good Earth? It's like that. Ok, maybe not quite that dramatic, but close.

Sherry C said...

Case in point:

When my son woke up and stumbled out to the kitchen where I was making breakfast, I asked him if he had looked outside yet and pointed him to a west-facing window.

His first resoponse was a stunned, "Whoa."

"Nice, huh?"


"Remember those?" I asked.


He is a man of few words in the morning, but he communicated well, nonetheless.

He asked if he could go wake up his sister to show her, and it was about time anyway, so I consented.

She stood at the window and gawked for a long time. All she could think to say was, "Wow."

Her brother pointed out the heavy rain clouds hanging over the peaks and they actually embraced one another with happiness.

It's a big deal.

alison said...

I am decidedly back having just post my fourth (count it!) post for the day.

I'll see you tomorrow.

No pressure.