Last week, my granddaughter attended an annual acting camp for children that is organized and run by the local community theater. The theater director asked me to take photos during the week at camp. Now, I’d like to tell you I did this “pro bono” but since I’m not a professional pnotographer, I’ll have to tell the truth: it was a volunteer gig.
Soooo – the night before camp started, I decided to get my gear ready. While changing the lens on my Canon EOS 6D, the camera slipped and my finger touched the mirror. You guessed it – nothing. Nada. No focus. No shutter button response. Nothing. Heartbreak! In spades.
I did have two fortunate things going for me, though. One was my backup camera, my trusty Canon EOS 60D, which was my primary camera for about four years before upgrading. The second thing is that when I bought my 6D last December, they were running a free deal on their CarePAK Plus, no questions asked repair or replacement contract. Thank goodness I had the foresight to enroll! With my heart in my throat, I took my baby, very carefully wrapped, to the post office to send Express Next Day service. With a bit of luck, she should be home in about a week’s time.
But in the meantime, I had a camp event to shoot.
This wasn’t just any old acting camp. An Irish performing arts group, “Uplift”, from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, (which is the sister city to my home town) was visiting. They were here two years ago and are back this year to give our children and grandchildren an extraordinary experience in performing arts. Here’s the thing about their shows: they.move.quickly.
With that in mind, I made a radical decision: I was going to use my “action” mode to shoot the camp. I knew that as fast as the “action” was, I did not need to be fiddling with shutter speed, ISO, and the knobs on my camera or constantly looking at my LCD screen. I needed to be mentally and emotionally tuned into the “action” around me. Okay. I was convinced and I swallowed my pride to use an automatic camera setting.
It was the right choice. The theater, of course was dark. Theater lighting for a show like this is a photographer’s nightmare (I learned a lot about Lightroom last week as well!), so I just didn’t need to be bogged down playing with the widgets and gidgets on my camera.
Which brings me to the two points of today’s post.
One: If you are able to get some sort of maintenance package for your camera and lenses, do it. This episode will cost me only the price of the postage. While considerable, as postage goes, it’s a whale of a lot less than a camera repair bill. And if you can, keep a camera for backup. You just never know. I’m as careful as they come when handling my camera and never thought it would happen to me.
Second: If the situation warrants, don’t be too proud to use automatic mode for the shooting you may need to do.
It was a fun week, filled with learning opportunities for me. It was a joy to watch my granddaughter participate in this unique event. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Now – if only someone would invite me to Carrickfergus for a shoot …