River Road Rally isn’t necessarily Hiking, I’ll give you that. Still, over the last two days there was certainly a lot of walking involved- but there was a catch!
One of my little known Artistic Exploits, I’ve been doing Photography since I was about 13 or 14 years old. It’s always sort of been a second hand hobby of mine, but I’ve never been able to afford a great camera so I’ve never gone anywhere with it. Thus it’s a hobby that I don’t get to participate in very often- much to my dismay. Thankfully my Adopted Father tends to keep my need satiated by lending me Cameras whenever I need them.
At the beginning of the year I asked to borrow one of those Cameras in order to take some shots for a Limited Edition release of my Poetry Book, Devotional Bones. The goal was to merge Devotional Photography with Devotional Poetry- though with the switch to Irish Polytheism and several problems with Publishers, that may just have been a pipe dream. I am not sure what I will end up doing with it at this point, but the Camera certainly served its purpose well.
I fact, I loved the Camera so much that I asked if I could buy it off him shortly afterwards. He said no, of course; I’ve never known my Adopted Father to part with his cameras. He did, however, make me a pretty good deal in the end: Instead of selling me the camera, he asked me to work for him (Sim Mah Nahskits Photography) on an as-needed basis. Specifically, he asked me to help him out with Event Photography for an upcoming Biker Rally. In exchange I would be allowed to borrow the FujiFilm FinePix S4400 in perpetuity.
I said yes, of course… Bur I had my reserves and anxiety about it for a long time. The biggest reserves focused around the event itself.
Firstly, it would be my very first event ever; not only was it my first event, there was also a lot hinging on me- including making my Adopted Father’s company look good… And while I am certainly a Hobby Photographer, I am not a professional by any means. I didn’t know if I would be skillful enough to pull it off, especially when I was informed that I’d be using the Nikon D3000 for the event.
Secondly, I have also never actually been to a Bike Rally or interacted with a whole lot of Bikers… In fact, my knowledge of “all things Biker” pretty much starts and ends with an amalgamation of Sons of Anarchy (I know, I know) and 12 to 14 year old me working Community Outreach for B.A.C.A. something like 10 years ago. I had absolutely no idea what I was honestly getting myself into.
Spoiler Alert: I was pleasantly surprised.
Thankfully my Adopted Father dropped off the D3000 several weeks in advance. That took care of a portion of the problem since it gave me plenty of time to get to know the Camera that I would be using- and learn how to use a DSLR in the first place, as i had never used one before. Additionally, he and my Husband armed me with some knowledge and rules prior to the Rally. When we got there my good looks did the rest (normally I would say that the last bit is a joke, but I honestly don’t think it is this time).
As a result, I count my first major Event as a success… That isn’t to say the weekend went off without a hitch, however; while the problems were few and far between, there were still some issues that I had.
Despite the fact that I was given the Nikon D3000 in advance I still had trouble with the settings. This was mostly in terms of shooting moving subjects, but it had a significant impact on the overall body of my work; I didn’t get quite the number of quality images that I was hoping to. On the second day I also managed to lose all of my RAW files- a big “uh oh” in terms of post processing ease and quality.
It also took a lot of time and effort- and I got a wicked sunburn in the process.
Note to self: If you ever do another outdoor event, make sure to remember to bring your Sunscreen next time!
Despite the mishaps, though, I am happy that I did it for a number of reasons.
The least of those reasons is that I now get to borrow a Camera for as long as I want it- and who can honestly be disappointed with that? But better is the fact that I had a lot of fun at my first Rally; I got to witness a beautiful wedding, saw a lot of really nice Bikes, met a lot of truly great people, and saw a pretty neat band perform. On top of it, even though the final picture count is lower than I’d like, what quality shots I did get were pretty amazing– at least by my own standards.
More important to me personally, though, is that I also came away from it with a much better understanding of just exactly why my Husband loves these powerful little machines (the Bikes, not the Cameras) so damned much.