After returning from the birthday bash, I was thinking of how comfortable I was with marchers practically walking over me at the rally and how uncomfortable I was shooting the birthday bash for dad.
It was tiring. Every time I tried to get a bit to eat, something else was going on that I had to "cover." I couldn't eat the appetizers that were circulating because they were all greasy and I didn't want to start smearing the camera. I was the only one with an SLR there and was recognized as the "official" photographer. I don't like that.
Digital cameras were all over the place and the proud owners kept showing me how they could see exactly what they got and not have to wait for film to be developed.
I think the instant gratification factor is very big with these gizmos, but I'm not sure that that is such a great thing as I find it is often months or years before I know that a shot is good. I told that to a few digital people but they just looked bewildered by that idea.
Listening and shooting all the speeches, I felt sorry for those news photographers who sit on the floor, shooting people giving testimony before some committee. First of all, it was boring. Second, my knees were killing me. There were a couple of surprises: my sister ran up while my father was giving his speech to adjust his glasses -- and I got that. And there were little kids crawling around under the tables while the adults sat and listened.
The Emcee came by and whispered that they are going to do the hora (the Israeli circular dance and don't ask me how to spell it) -- and I asked him why he was telling me that. He said, he always tells the photographers when they are going to do the hora and they always thank him for it. So I thanked him. Once they began dancing, I realized why they thank him -- it's so they can find a chair to stand on and make sure they've got a wide angle lens on. But there was plenty of time to find an empty chair and put the wide angle on.
The ceiling was low and white, so I alternated between doing some bounce flash and straight on flash. And the lighting in the place was so flat that I wasn't exactly missing anything by using flash.
All in all -- I saw many people I haven't seen for ten years or more -- and of course seeing how people age is not a pretty sight. Some, that I remembered as so strong and filled with vigor had had strokes and shuffled in. I didn't do any dancing because a) I don't like to dance and b) the only type of dance I like is that slow dancing which no one does anymore where someone puts there head on your shoulder, the lights are turned down low, and you whisper to each other -- what time do you think we can leave?
Someone wrote a song about my father, but it had too many stanzas -- and just went on too long. He were becoming somewhat rowdy at the table and began clinking glasses and cups until I told people they were going to break something if they didn't stop. As the song came to an end -- I yelled out -- "One more time" and was kicked under the table by someone.
A few people told me they read my blog everyday. Are you going home to post these pictures?
Answer: No. No. No. I gave the rolls of film I shot to the hosts and told them to bring them to their favorite lab and have them done. There may have been one or two shots that I might like to see -- but not worth the price of having them processed, printed, and having to look at it all.
I was practically asked to leave the car that carried me home when about halfway home I began talking with a thick Southern accent about roasting pigs in the backyard. "Ah think whaad we awl hef to do is burn us a peeg re-al soon." Which my niece thought was funny and began repeating over and over. My Id started to run rampant. I think it may have had something to do with the feeling of having attended a ritual -- where the only thing that was missing was a sacrifice.
At any rate, my hangover, disappeared finally -- not that I had anything to drink -- and I'm starting to mix chemicals which is relaxing. And when I talked with my dad afterwards I said: I think I could be a good war correspondent, so long as there's no dancing. And he thought that was a good line to begin a poem with. Anway, from his point of view -- it was a good time was had by all -- and that's what counts.
[Editor: I think you can see from this why Mr. Beckerman never did become a wedding photographer and I think the world should be thankful for this.]