Yesterday evening about 16 people from my church were going to be baptized. The people being baptized ranged in age from 7 to 60-something.
It sounded like something fun to watch, so I bundled up the kids and we headed out. It wasn’t until I got there that I found out that a bunch of my Soup Day friends and my kids’ friends were being baptized.
Huh? What’s up with the secrecy guys?
Anyway…remember how I told you I’m friends with a couple who remind me of Mary and Joseph from the bible? Last month I took their Christmas card pictures. Mary was sooooo happy with the pictures that she cried happy tears. Yes, I checked to be sure they were happy tears and not tears of bitter disappointment.
Here are their Christmas pictures:
Well, Mary and Joseph’s boys were going to be baptized. And when she saw me arrive last night, she said, “Oh, Jackie! Oh…do you think you could…?”
She wanted me to take pictures, but she was afraid to fully ask, because she didn’t want to impose. I mean, she’s just like Mary and Mary would never impose. But how could I say no to Mary?!
Fortunately, I’ve been given special permission as a Photo Club member to take photos of any church event that I want to, from anywhere I want to. I double checked that it would be ok and I made preparations to head up to the very front of the church for picture taking. The baptismal tub is built into the wall waaaay at the front of the church under a stained glass window. You wouldn’t even know it’s there if no one told you.
I got all my gear ready (two lenses, flash, batteries for the flash, batteries for the camera, and rag for cleaning lenses) and stuffed it all into my pockets.
The pockets of my bright red vest.
The pockets of my bright red vest that was over top of a bright white shirt.
Photographers at solemn spiritual events are not supposed to be wearing attention-getting bright red vests with blindingly white shirts underneath. Photographers at solemn spiritual events are supposed to be dressed in dark clothes. Like, maybe dark navy blue sweaters.
Do you remember back on Christmas day when I wrote about a dark navy blue sweater my mother bought for me for Christmas? I wrote, “Along with a very lovely sweater that I’m wearing right now and will probably wear every day for the next month because I love it so much (hey, I’ll change the shirt under it), my mother bought me…”
Well, just as I predicted, I’ve worn that sweater every single day since then (and am wearing it now) except for last night. I finally got tired of wearing it for 26 days in a row and threw on the white shirt and red vest.
So, instead of heading to the front of the church to take discrete pictures of a solemn spiritual ceremony in a subdued dark blue sweater, I just had to be the flashy photographer sauntering to the front in my glowing red vest and blindingly bright shirt.
I found this old picture of the front of the church that Michael gave to me. Ignore the fishy pictures on the sides. Look at the big black arrow. That’s where the baptismal tub is hidden under those flower arrangements. See the red woman? That’s me. I was standing on a shelf behind those chairs. Waaaay up front. Waaaay up high. Bright red.
Barbetta was working in the nursery and watching the baptisms beamed in on a tv screen. She said, “…and then I saw this blob of bright red move across the screen and thought, “Who is that?” Then I realized it was you. Jackie, you really should dress more subdued if you don’t want everyone staring at you when you’re taking pictures.”
Yes. Yes, I know, Barbetta. I know.
Anyway. I have to say I’m soooo glad I practiced with the flash on Saturday. The lighting was dark and the baptism shots would be action shots. I’d need a flash or they’d be a big grainy blur. I wanted to do right by Mary and Joseph.
And I figured that since I was already up there, I may as well take pictures of everyone. Half of them being baptized are my friends anyway.
So I did.
Here’s a sample:
As a final word, it turns out that a lack of expectations makes all the difference in photography. When no one expects pictures and you take them as a happy surprise, it’s kinda fun. I didn’t even care that I was in front of a crowd of 100 or so people in my bright red vest. I was the one with the very best view of each and every person being baptized. Very cool.
But I may take to leaving black shirts in my car, in case I ever need to do an emergency photography session at church ever again.