Erratic new schedule. Plane hopping to various parts of the country each weekend. Long days. Lack of sleep. Hefty learning curve.
SO. MUCH. FUN!
These are the things I experience each weekend photographing competitive cheer and dance competitions around the country. If you could even call it that yet... I've covered 3 locations so far.
The first, close to home - a venue on the Northern Illinois University campus in DeKalb, IL. Mother Nature was NOT on our side that weekend. It was the weekend of 8+ inches of snow in our area (oddly, the only significant snow we've had all season to date). This event had 3 others flying in from lands far away, and much warmer - 2 from Texas, and 1 from Florida. Everyone was delayed and/or diverted, and did not arrive on schedule. So instead of setting up the night before, we were all up stupid-early to set up the morning of the event. This seemed to be the weekend of 'anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.' But we all pulled together and made it work. This was a great example, for me, of how to work under fire... and I witnessed how to troubleshoot many things. A bonus, I would find out later.
As much as I was concerned with not being invited back to shoot again after the DeKalb chaos and Nature's wrath, a couple days later I was invited to shoot a 2-day event in Minneapolis with the company owner and his wife. While set-up and other things that were problematic during my first event went smoothly in Minneapolis, a different skillset was learned and I felt rather fortunate to be working with the bossman this time around. It was a window into his head - to see they types of images he was looking for, insight as to what sells and what doesn't, quick tips, and so much more.
Last weekend, I was in San Antonio for a 1-day event. While not as smooth as the weekend in Minnesota, this event was still far better than DeKalb (I have a feeling it will take a LOT of bad circumstances to meet the craziness of that first event). Some of those items I had to troubleshoot in DeKalb came back into play in Texas, and I was extremely glad I learned them ahead of time. As it turns out, the veteran photographer in Texas with me had issues that I was able to help with, and things were overall pretty easy for me. I'm sure my time is coming eventually... :)
Now I have a break in the action for the holidays before I'm off to Charlotte, NC and who knows where else next month. I've got some new and valuable tools in my pack - everything from photography tricks to computer networking. And the energy from competing teams is infectious... no matter how stressful or how tired I end up when I get home, overall I've still had a great time!
Scenes from San Antonio: