Receptions and Recitals

February 25, 2007

When I was growing up my father occasionally served as photographer for weddings. I remember him saying that it was the worst possible situation for a photographer. As he put it, "It is the only day that those people are all there, dressed like that. One mistake and everything is ruined."

This past weekend I served as photographer and video grip for a piano concerto competition. I am fairly handy with an automatic digital camera and wasn't too worried about my ability to take good pictures of the performers and the awards ceremony afterwards. I've never (well only once about 12 years ago) used a video camera. The one I borrowed for this event was totally new to me. With ten minutes to go before the performance was too start I still hadn't figured out how to put the tape in it for recording. (Turns out the access is through the bottom of the camera, you know, the bit screwed to the tripod.)

As the first performers were playing their concertos and I was dutifully starting and stopping the camera I couldn't help by wonder if I was actually recording anything, or if the sound was working. Like a wedding and its attendant reception, there would be no second chance to take this footage. Eventually I convinced myself that that camera was designed to just work, and that I'd have to actively try to screw up the basic function of "put tape in and press record." A preliminary glance at the recording through the camera today revealed that my hunch was correct. It seems that the video portion of my efforts worked perfectly.

Disaster averted. Hopefully, lesson learned.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.