My best friend, Gayle, works with a group of honors students at our alma mater - Ball State University, in Muncie, Indiana. As it 'tis the season for commencement, the first group of students graduating from their honors program had a special celebration this past Friday night. Gayle asked me and one of the undergraduate students to handle photography for the event, as university photographers were booked solid with the numerous events happening around campus.
I've come to know many of these kids over the four years they've been at Ball State so I was very happy to take part in the event with them. A few of them have joined us for dinner at my place when they've been in Indy having fun or on internships, and I've gotten to play a bit of a mentoring role to one and done airport taxi duty for them a couple of times for study abroad.
It's amazing to think of what this group has accomplished in four short years. Numerous study abroad trips, high profile internships, completion of a thesis, and a cumulative GPA of 3.67. None to shabby. My best memory from the evening...we had planned to have the kids line of for the group shot right at the conclusion of the program. As they lined up, we tried to adjust to make sure you could see everyone. Nicole (the other photographer) and I, grabbed our shots and started to dismiss the kids to change out of their caps and gowns for a shot in their "street clothes" when I got a loud "no, no, no wait!" from the huge assemblage of parents behind us who wanted to grab the same shot. It was, to say the least, just a little scary. Sort of like graduation paparazzi.
The event was a lot of fun, but leaves me even more nervous for the upcoming wedding I'm helping my friend Diana photograph. I've done one other wedding - my aunts several years ago when I literally had no idea what I was doing with a camera. Now, I feel as though I know about 10% of what I need to know to handle events like these - and I still struggle with basics of good composition and getting folks situated right in posed shots (as you can see from a couple of the blocked faces above). No matter though - as any time I get to spend time with my camera is time well spent.