I spent most of Saturday helping out at The Light Factory’s annual Shoot Out. It was the 20th such event and is a Big Deal. A number of professional photographers donate their time to do portrait sessions for individuals and families, and the customers range from singles, to singles with kids, singles with pets, to full-blown family shoots. There was even an “After Dark” Shoot Out that I’m sure had some interesting subject matter.
I had a blast assisting Nanine Hartzenbusch, one of my ‘buds” and a veteran photographer with roots in photojournalism who is making a go at being a kids and families shooter. Nanine is not used to working with an assistant and I’ve not done much (any?) assisting so neither of us had any expectations or preconceptions. We were a perfect pairing! I helped set up lights, move them around, help get the kids posed and – probably the most important job of all – got to use an assortment of squeeky toys and other gimmicks to help get the attention of cranky toddlers and with any luck help to turn a “reject” into a “keeper.” At least I hope so! It was hard work! The Saturday session only lasted a half day, but when I got home I was whooped!
Anyway, the experience underscored for me the importance of learning new things in order to grow as a photographer, as an artist and as a person. It is a rewarding experience to help make special memories for families, especially when it also helps support a local organization that does a lot of good in the community. I like the idea of being an assistant, and think I may make a go at trying to do some more of that work for other photographers. Eventually I might even get good enough to get paid for it, but in the mean time I’m thrilled to have a chance to gain some knowledge and experience doing something I really enjoy. Even if I don’t pick up a camera I think the exercise of looking and seeing other photographers in action will help me grow my own vision.
The photo is another one from the archives. From June 2005, the image was taken just after sunset from the parking area of the Craggy Gardens visitor center along the Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Asheville. The various peaks around Craggy Gardens are usually the best places to be, but the parking lot is a pretty decent sunset spot during the summer months. This image underscores the importance of sticking around well after the sun has set, especially when there are clouds around. Sunset itself was pretty nice, but these high whispy clouds lit up big time just after sunset.