September & October Journeys Part 2

This is part two of a post because so much happened the two months of September and October, and they are connected with a common theme.

I know I said this last time, but again I’m late with a blog post. To say I’ve been busy, is well, a massive and colossal understatement. So again, here comes a major post to catch you up on my September and October to date.

October

Friday the 3rd

October 3rd proved to be one crazy day. I was attempting to turn in my 3-weeks notice at my engineering job at the time (that’s an insane story in itself) and still leave on time for John and Erin’s wedding. Long story-short, it’s really difficult to resign when none of your managers are in the building…. Alas, that situation worked out superbly and I actually got to the venue about an hour early. Whoo!

If you’re ever on paid assignment for a shoot, whether it be a wedding, portraits, sporting event, you name it - get there early. It makes a world of a difference in your shots because you’re not surprised and you can mentally prepare for what’s coming. Erin and John were getting married at Venue 92, an old gym retrofitted as a wedding venue. To say it was a challenging lighting situation is a massive understatement. I had to shoot outside on a partly overcast day for the wedding party and family portraits, under a giant awning in the failing light for the ceremony itself, and then inside an industrial, black ceiling-ed, concrete floored space with random brick pillars throughout for the reception. I pulled out all three of my flashes at times and still didn’t have enough light. Thank you 5D3 for the amazing ISO capabilities! Getting to the event early allowed me to plan and decide how I was going to light everything before it all happened. It didn’t go as perfectly as I wanted, but everyone came away loving the photos.

Erin and John were awesome to work with, as were their families and friends. I knew John from our days playing paintball together and knew from the outset that this would be a wild night. My intuitions were spot on. Not only were there many, many hilarious moments (such as pulling out a stethoscope, binoculars, flashlight, and finally a baby doll in that order, before pulling off the garter), but everyone was really great to hang out with. It’s always nice when the bride and groom ask if I’ve eaten yet and then practically order me to get food while I can. It was a great evening all around.

Saturday the 4th

I didn’t take any pictures this day, but it gets it’s own section because of the insanity that is flying. Now, I just got my gear back after the airline lost one of my bags the previous week, so I wasn’t thrilled to be hopping onto two flights from Atlanta to Toronto to Edmonton a week later. It was my first time flying internationally so I was a little nervous to begin with; add flying solo and I was a pretty anxious. Turns out, this would be the day from hell.

Got to the airport on Saturday morning, no problem. Arrived there early, checked in, got my bags on the belt and everything was great. Proceeded to my departure gate an hour before take-off and read my book. 5 minutes after we are supposed to board, we’re told our plane was delayed a few minutes. No big deal! Plane arrives 20 minutes later and we wait for the maintenance checks before we board. "Ladies and gentleman, we're sorry to inform you that we will have to place you on an alternate flight. Your scheduled aircraft is experiencing mechanical issues that cannot be immediately repaired. We will direct you to the terminal as soon as we can."

Wonderful. I have a connecting flight 1 hour and 45 minutes after my originally scheduled plane is supposed to land. Hmmm….

We finally get word of our new flight and rush over 5 gates for the new plane. Hop on, got seated and wait to taxi away from the terminal.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay but the push-arm for the car that helps back us out of the terminal is broken. We're working to fix this as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience."

………..You’ve got to be freaking kidding me.

30 minutes later, they fix the push-arm and we begin flying. Big thanks to the lady sitting next to me on the flight, I wouldn’t have been able to fill out the Customs form without you! As we were descending, I checked the time and realized I had about 30 minutes before my connecting flight. Crap. I politely asked the stewardess if she could make an announcement when we landed to allow the people with connecting flights to get off the plane first, and she responded, “Absolutely!”

Plane lands, announcement is made, and me and 2 other guys HAUL ASS off the plane. For the record, the walk from the terminal, to customs, to baggage claim is practically half a mile. Running that with a 35 lb backpack full of camera gear and a 15 lb laptop bag was not fun. I made it through customs with about 20 minutes to spare before I had to board my connecting flight. I then proceeded to wait at baggage claim for my bag.

……..

People from my flight got to the baggage belt and collected their bags BEFORE I DID! My bag eventually popped out with 5 minutes to spare. I'm screwed.

Wait in one line for 5 minutes, drop off my checked bag, and run to the most awful sight ever; Another Security Check. (I spewed a very long string of expletives under my breath as I got in line and watched the next 15 minutes go by).

So I finally make it through Security and sprinted the 500 ft to the terminal. Apparently the staff realized what just happened by my exasperated expression upon arrival because they said,"Oh no! I'm sorry, the plane literally JUST left the gate." 

Cue mental implosion.

The lovely ladies were nice enough to explain where I should go to find a new flight from Toronto to Edmonton, and the staff gate was excellent in getting me a new flight. I had two hours to kill and decided to grab dinner since it was 7PM at this point. I was really excited for my next flight because they told me I’d have the entire row to myself for those 4 hours. Sweet. Got on the plane at 9PM, and started spreading out to enjoy the space. The joy didn’t last long.

It should be a felony for people to bring infants onto a plane that has to fly 4 hours in the middle of the night. Those two little babies screamed for 3 hours and 37 minutes straight, putting professional opera singers to shame. Whatever, I had a whole 3-seat row to spread out and sleep. NOPE! Two very large, very smelly people decided they didn’t want to sit next to those kids. Where else do you think they were gonna sit?

FML.

I didn’t sleep a wink of that 4 hour flight.

I landed at 2:15AM Eastern time, 11:15PM local time. Now I had worked out carpooling with another attendee of the photo workshop I was planning to attend, and thank you Kim for staying up that late and making sure I got off the plane safely. She was a trooper and helped me realize we had somehow managed to book different hotels. Hers attached to the airport and mine 30 minutes away. Well, thank goodness both hotels were Renaissance owned, and bless the staff for moving my reservation over from the one location to the other. I may have broken down emotionally if I had to take a cab another 30 minutes away. My bed that evening was the most amazing thing on the face of the planet and I wanted to stay there forever after that day from hell. Ugh.

Sunday to Saturday the 5th to 11th

I am officially addicted to traveling. Yes, I just complained about the day of flying that took me through the 5th Circle of Dante’s Inferno, but it was worth it for the destination. Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada is gorgeous. There’s no other way of putting it. I still like Yellowstone National Park better, but Jasper is something special in and of itself. Go there if you have the chance; it’s just magical. I got some amazing photos, and learned a ton while on this workshop. The pictures speak for themselves about the amazing opportunities we received.

None of this would have been possible though without my Uncle, Charles Glatzer and his company Shoot The Light. Now, I may be biased because of the blood connection, but not only does his work speak for itself, his clients simply effuse compliments and appreciation for what he brings to the table. Chas, or as I call him, Uncle Charlie, is an incredible teacher and he shares his knowledge, experience, patience, and passion with all of his workshops. At this point in his career, Chas enjoys seeing the light bulb of his participants/students turn on more than getting images for himself. Now having said that, that cheeky old-fart somehow manages to tell other people how to take good pictures, will sit and watch us fire off 30 frames a piece, then fire off 3 himself and get an image 10 times better than everyone else. Realize, the entire group is usually standing in a line, all equidistant to the subject, with the exact same settings, and relative heights on our tripods. It’s unfair and makes me try that much harder to become a better photographer. Chas is truly the master of his craft and it’s a joy to work with him. He’s also a great Uncle to boot. Thanks and Love, UC!

This was an amazing trip and I hope to repeat it sometime in the future!

For the record, my flights back home were infinitely less eventful. Thank goodness.

Friday & Saturday the 17th and 18th

Ah… Something simple! Two weddings in two days. Yes, I really did just say simple. The reason? I got to second shoot with Jamie Howell, and those days are almost always good ones. Nice and simple, and Jamie is great to work for/with.

The best part of these weddings may have been the Friday evening venue. The top of 999 Peachtree St, Empire State South, had a freaking amazing view. I did the following panorama handheld, as a compilation of 9 images. For some reason, my landscape images get an incredible amount of praise compared to my other images. I'll take it!

Sunday the 19th

Not 2 days after the last day at my old engineering job, I’m doing family photos for one of my old coworkers. How does that compute? Anyways, for Ryan’s family photos we ended up at a park that was really nice but already swarming with photographers. All the good shaded spots were taken, and I didn’t feel like making everyone wait, especially while their daughter, Grace, wasn’t being super cooperative that morning. So I decided to find a good spot with bad lighting and make the lighting work. Bring on the flash! 

Shooting with flash in broad day-light is a challenge, but I think I pulled it off relatively well. It was my first time doing so and I’m pleased with the results, as are the Dickinson’s!

Friday the 24th

Ah, headshots. Simple, easy, quick, and fun. Especially when it’s with one of your good buddies! Not much to this tale, other than Ty and I had a great time shooting around Midtown and catching up with coffee afterwards.

Sunday the 26th

After I did headshots for DramaTech’s production of Evolve in early September, I was invited to do the next series of headshots and publicity photos for their One Act performances. Both performances had themes of Enchanted Stories, with the first being a mash-up and twist of the Brother’s Grimm stories and the second being a brand new show, making it’s world premiere at DramaTech, called The Boy Whose Eye Wandered. Both performances turned out to be absolutely fantastic and ran the gauntlet of human emotions. The shows were as different as can be, with the Grimm’s tales being humorous and light hearted, while The Boy was much darker and dramatic. It forced me to really cover the spectrum of lighting and composition on the day to capture both shows well. My favorite images came from the The Boy Whose Eye Wandered. The director really wanted to follow a Hunger Games type of look and mood, and my roommate did an incredible job translating that in the costumes. The overall look just came together really well in the shots.

November

GO AWAY!

Nah, I’m just kidding. I’ve knocked out a few more family photo sessions with old co-workers and done some promotional work for another small group, Glass Slipper Entertainment. But otherwise, it’s been a relatively quiet month. Kind of boring, actually. 

I’m going to stuff myself with some turkey and maybe get out a gear post on the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS Sport I used while at Jasper. That lens is fan-flipping-tastic.

Enjoy your holiday everyone!


Mike Glatzer

Mike Glatzer Photography, Marietta St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318, United States