So, the job to photograph a beautiful church pipe organ for a magazine cover was another perfect part of the adventure! An organ, I thought . . . it won't run away, I won't have to worry about blinking or about one of the kids looking the wrong way or skin tones or outfit changes. This would be fun. I would enjoy considering the lighting needs, the different artistic angles, deciding on the way to 'paint the picture' of this majestic instrument for the people who would see the images.
And it was enjoyable. I spent a couple of hours in the church with the organ company's artistic designer, and got hundreds of shots. It turned out that lighting was our biggest problem. Natural light was a must, as any flash or spotlights made a mess of the beautiful pipes. We were happy with all of the angles except one, and I needed to go back to get this one last picture before the magazine layout was completed. It was clear what needed to be done. I knew exactly what I had to do. It would be easy, really, just took a bit of planning with the folks at the church. I set it up through the secretary, blocked out two hours for my work, checked and rechecked the day and got there ready to check off this last part of the list. I was ready.
Here is the shot I needed:
Easy, right? Yeah, easy.
Here is what I saw when I arrived, gear over my shoulder, at the church:
Sorry you cannot see the little man in the top of the cherry picker.
I needed one set of dim lights on, all over the space.
All of the lights were disconnected for servicing.
I needed the space stripped of everything; clean and clear.
There was trash all over, scaffolding set up and this large monstrosity balanced in the center aisle.
There was one place where I could stand for the shot I needed.
The monstrosity was in the one spot.
I need to be relaxed to do my best work.
I was not relaxed.
Am I successfully painting this picture?
Two people, with two different missions, had talked to the secretary.
Two people, with two different missions, had secured the time on the church calendar.
Two people were serious about their missions.
Two people were very frustrated.
The little man on the top of the cherry picker and I did not start off well. Our friendship was not built on a happy first impression. The little man and I were mad.
We both began explaining why we each belonged there. We each attempted to tell the other the reason our work was the most important. We got stern and made our voices serious to make our points. We began to try to figure out 'whose fault' this whole thing was.
While we did these things, the lights of that beautiful space did not get cleaned and fixed.
While we did these things, the photograph to highlight this organ was not taken.
We spent a few minutes in that space. Somehow then a little miracle happened. I honestly don't know who spoke to stop the craziness. Somehow we tried something different. We dropped trying to figure out whose fault it was. We decided not to go to the church office to 'figure out' what happened. We started devising a plan. That's when we became friends. That's when things started looking up, when we got to what we were both there to do.
In our new space, the light man started thinking about how he could do the center area first and then get his assistant to help him move his massive climbing structure.
In this new place, I began to assemble my equipment and readying everything to get the photos quickly when I could.
Mr. Light Guy decided that he could re-activate electric power for just a few minutes while he moved his equipment.
I decided I could get the photos quickly because I would be ready.
He finished what he needed to do. I got ready to do what I needed to do. He moved the equipment and returned the room to light. I quickly moved to the spot and began taking the needed photos. We asked each other some casual questions about what we each did. We laughed about the whole mix-up. It got almost fun to try to figure out how to make it all work, to work together to accomplish two goals. I got more relaxed.
It all worked and it didn't take long. I left the church long before the light fixer-uppers, but they seemed to be working along just like they needed to. I met a nice guy, a guy who works on lighting for all sorts of different places and spaces. I learned about all of the places he has 'done the lights.'
Mr. Light Guy learned about what I do and why I do it.
It all worked out.
I entered that beautiful space with a tight chest, frustrated about the entire situation, assuming I wouldn't be able to get the shot I had only one day to get.
I left that beautiful space with a smile. I did what I needed to do and met another guy doing what he needed to do.
I hate to think about how it would have (not) worked out if we had stayed where we were in those initial moments. What if we had stayed in that place where we were spending our energy on whose fault it was? What if we had stayed angry?
Whew, it makes me wonder about other times I might stay in that place. Makes me think about how much more creative and effective I can be when I'm not worrying about what everyone else is doing or how what they do is 'messing me up.' This whole thing has me thinking about how good things are when we stop blaming and start working. It's all got me wondering.
I'm actually thankful that I saw this:
when I wanted to see this:
Had any similar experiences? Makes us think, huh.