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National Book Festival - Library of Congress, 2010

Last month I had the privilege to shoot photos at the National Book Festival for the organizers, Catalyst ETC, via a family connection.  Here are a few photos from that gallery (head over to the Gallery links for more)...  All images taken by Ken Rimple, and cannot be reproduced without permission.

Lift Shot

Yep, I got to go up on a crane, right in front of the Houses of Congress...  It was around 2PM, so a number of people were seeking shade, but this is a compressed view shot of tents - the actual area spanned two of the mall blocks so the flattening done by the zoom lens is deceiving.

Elizabeth Alexander

One of the authors at the event, Elizabeth Alexander.

Anchee Min

Once I'm done writing Spring Roo in Action, I really have to read her biography.  Anchee Min was used as a propaganda subject in China during the reign of Madame Mao - and somehow managed to emigrate to the US.  Her speech was riveting...

Jonathan Franzen

If I didn't battle backlighting in bright light, I battled hand-holding -vs- shutter speed.  Here was a relatively good shot of Jonathan Franzen:

How about a former First Lady?

Ok, you're always a First Lady, even when your husband is out of office.  First Lady Laura Bush.  This was a fun one - I almost didn't get the shot, but was able to re-position myself behind the tripods and media area to get this shot.

 Another Lift Shot

Here is a wider shot from the crane.  I wanted to get the National Monument in the scene but couldn't get a good crop without losing the depth of the crowds.

 All in all, it was a great day for me.  I'd love to do more event photography, and I definitely could improve my technique.  I did learn a few things along the way:

  • Over-prepare - never assume you know enough about the event to know who is where, and at what time.
  • Bring a tripod - I wish I would have done so for some of the people shots.
  • Hydrate - by lunchtime I was feeling it - sun beating on my head.  By the way, wear a hat!
  • Take too many photos and delete a lot of junk later - it is always true that the best photos I get are from a series, sometimes the fourth or fifth.
  • Have a backup camera.  You never know what will fail.


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