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Monday, June 22, 2009

Capturing the moment

Rafting in the street (4)
© 2009 Simon Hucko

This past weekend I was in Pittsburgh, PA. I got invited to come and sing with my college a cappella group (the Carnegie Mellon Originals) for their performance during the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's pops concert at Heinz Hall. Definitely an awesome, once in a lifetime experience.

While we were hanging out on Wednesday night, one of the biggest and baddest rain storms I've ever been a part of rolled through Pittsburgh. All of a sudden, someone looked out the window and said "Whoa, the road is flooded! It's like a river out there." Within a few minutes, someone else got the brilliant idea to grab an air mattress and go rafting in the street. The little alarm in my brain went off saying "Go get your camera, you're going to want to document this."

A quick look outside told me that the point n shoot just wasn't going to cut it. I needed the DSLR with my 50mm f1.8 (fastest lens I own) attached. I ran upstairs, pulled the camera out of the bag, swapped lenses, grabbed an umbrella and rain coat, and ran back down just as they were heading out:

Rafting in the street (1)
© 2009 Simon Hucko

I went down to the sidewalk and spent a good 10-15 minutes shooting (and worrying about soaking my camera, but fortunately everything stayed dry). Most of the cars passing by were amused rather than annoyed, and a few even honked and waved, resulting in my favorite shot from the set:

Rafting in the street (10)
© 2009 Simon Hucko

Despite all of the environmental craziness and being forced to shoot one handed because of the umbrella, I was able to capture this incredible event. I credit my success to what I've talked about recently - practice with and without my camera. Operating the camera was effortless, even one handed, and I could focus on the action. I recognized moments developing (like the waving above) and timed my shots rather than just spraying away. I was in the zone, and it was a surprisingly organic experience - probably one of the first times that I truly felt like a photographer, and not just a guy with a nice camera.

Check out the full set here. As always, comments, questions and constructive criticism are encouraged.


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