A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about my upcoming portrait and my whirlwind trip to Boston for the photo shoot at Harvard. Now, as I’m getting ready to start painting the portrait I realized that I never really filled you all in on how it all went. I posted a quick, “it all went well on Facebook” but I thought you all might be interested in hearing more of the story.
Upon reflecting back I find myself remembering the long day (up at 4:30 am, 6:30 am flight to Boston, met my client at 2:00 pm, Harvard photo shoot 3:30 pm, flight home arriving in Newport News, VA at 10:30 pm, home at 11:30 pm) as a positive, productive, adventure filled work day. The flight was on time, I carried on my camera equipment and nothing was lost, I had a good lunch at Legal Seafood, my client was on time and looked radiant for the photo shoot. Her niece was on time, her red dress a perfect choice. I got the digital shots I needed, took the subway back to Logan Airport, my plane left on time and next thing I knew I was home and it was all behind me. It was a good day!
That’s one way of looking at it all but it just doesn’t do the day justice. Here is the rest of the story!
Having the alarm set at 4:30 am I woke up early not wanting to sleep through the alarm. I’m not a good flyer (a few too many close calls). I decided to go through security and subject myself to radiation instead of the strip search pat down. I thought the titanium rods and screws in my back might set off the metal detector and that with my luck I’d be getting the radiation and the strip search! Well sure enough the alarm goes off, I start to sweat, feeling like people are looking at me and thinking I’m a terrorist (mustache, scary looking). I had to go through again, doubling the radiation. Turns out it was my watch! Fortunately no strip search but my picture is out there somewhere in cyberspace.
My wife booked the tickets online and requested an aisle seat. I board the plane, eyeing my boarding pass and seat number. I get to the last row, where there are three seats on the left and two seats on the right of the plane. Sure enough I’m in the middle of three seats in the last row of the plane, next to the bathroom and there is no little window to look out! The plane is totally packed, the girl next to me is sniveling and coughing telling her friend across the way that she is barely hanging in there! The guy to my left is huge, leaving no room to move. I’m starting to get claustrophobic now and thinking germs. “Where is my Purell?’ I’m truly in the cattle car. Gone are the days of flying the corporate jet to photograph a subject.
I landed safely in Boston, grabbed a Dunkin Donut coffee roll at the airport and I’m feeling better. I have a lot of time to kill so I head to Copley Plaza to wander around the Mall and have lunch before meeting my client at 2 pm. I wandered the halls of the Copley Marriott for a while admiring the large original oil paintings that the hotel has collected. I wandered the shops, tried to catch a few winks in a comfy hotel chair etc… Meanwhile my client had left a very thoughtful message on my wife’s cell phone that I was welcome to hang out in her luxury high rise suite at the Marriott since she was going to be out and about. I don’t know how to check for messages on the cell phone nor did I even know I had a message! I could have been lounging in the lap of luxury but instead I found myself sleeping in a hotel lobby. Bummer!
2 o’clock came. My client graciously allows me to enjoy the Boston skyline from the luxury suite while she gets ready for the photo shoot. She reappears in a few minutes all dolled up, looking like a million dollars. She had had a massage in the morning though and informed me that she was worried her hair might go flat. Now down in the lobby, her elegance and high heels were turning heads. It was amazing how quickly the doorman opened the door for us. Next thing I knew we had a cab and the door was opening. I was taking in all the chivalry when I realized I followed her in the same side of the cab. This made her have to scoot across the crammed back seat of the Taxi. “What kind of gentleman am I” I said to myself!
We start heading to Cambridge and Harvard. The taxi cab driver barely spoke English and was all bundled up in a winter coat. The heater in the taxi was on full blast and it was unbearable. It was in the high 50’s outside and sunny. My client's hair starts to go limp, beads of sweat are on my forehead as she asked the driver to please turn the heat down. He recommends opening a back window. She was taken back by the driver’s rudeness and replied “I’d rather not as it will ruin my hair”.
He drives right by our destination having not listened well to our directions. The meter kept running as he ineptly tried to figure out how to circle back. No tip for him!
My client’s niece meets us and takes us to the Harvard room for the photo shoot. I see all of the large windows, it’s still sunny and the lighting looks good at that moment. As they go and the niece changes I start setting up my tripod, rearranging furniture, test the lighting etc… The time is passing, it’s getting later in the day, the room is getting darker. I didn’t want to have to use a flash. I wanted natural lighting. Where are they?
Well the tall heavy lamp that I dragged across the room only had a 60 watt light bulb in it. The niece and I go running around Harvard trying to find a 100 watt light bulb. The building maintenance guy gives us a 60 watt curly, environmentally friendly light bulb and informs us that that is all the school has in order to save energy. All my plans for natural light with some ambient light (the lamp) are quickly disappearing.
I ended up for the most part holding the camera and shooting quickly with a flash, like you would imagine in a super-model photo shoot. It wasn’t what all my prep work had prepared me for but it was working.
The subway ride back to the airport from Harvard should have been easy. But now that AirTran was bought out by Southwest Airlines the airport gate drop off wasn’t quite clear. I ran back and forth across the busy arriving and departing traffic from terminal to terminal, asking people where AirTran is and got multiple answers. Again the sweat beads up on my forehead. Back on the subway-bus I go, hoping to get to the right gate. I had flashbacks of OJ running through the airport in the old Hertz commercials.
Anyway, I arrived at AirTran in time for my departing flight, went through security making sure that I took my watch off, and arrived home on time. It was an amazing day and that is the rest of the story!