Sunday, March 27, 2011

A fun Bar Mitzvah in Walnut Creek, CA (on a rainy day)

On Saturday I made the drive to Walnut Creek, CA to photograph Michael's Bar Mitzvah. For those of you who are not in Northern California, you should know that we have been inundated with rain for the last couple of weeks. For us photographers, a cloudy sky is perfect for outside shots (creating a perfect softbox in the sky), but when it is pouring rain, all shots need to be moved inside. Bummer!
I started by shooting images at the front of the Temple and noticed this awesome flower arrangement. I said something to Michael about the cool flowers, and he replied with "You know, that is what my father does, he owns a flower shop." So I asked Michael to sit down in front of the bouquet so that we could include them in our portrait shots.

And then we had his mother join in on the fun. For these shots, I was using my flash and pointing it off to my left to bounce the light off of the Temple walls. You will notice how the right side of their faces have more light than their left. This creates more dimension than a straight flash shot.

An interesting thing happened to me yesterday. I had photographed at this Temple before and was able to do so during the service. But, it appears that now, they do not allow still photographers to shoot images during the service. I was really disappointed, because I feel that shooting images of the service is where I capture the true emotions of the day. But, of course, I had to honor the wishes of the Rabbi and Cantor, so I scooted out of the synagogue at the start of the service.

But then I noticed that they had glass windows at the back of the synagogue, at either side of the entry doors. I asked one of the Temple employees if I could stay outside the synagogue and shoot through the glass. They told me that nobody had ever asked that before, but that it should be OK. So I held my camera, with a 100-400mm lens, as steady as I could and made sure that the lens was very close to the glass (to avoid reflections) and shot away. The image above was one of those shots. This turned out to be an awesome solution to a tough problem. No clicking sounds, no distractions from me. Perfect!

Since I was standing by the doors, I also became the doorman. When a father and his twin 5 year old daughters came outside for a break, I noticed that it was an interesting "double exposure look" if I pulled away from the glass and captured their reflections, and I took this shot. 

Again...looking for something different. I saw a woman taking pictures of Michael, under his name in balloons, and caught this shot (focusing on the LCD of the camera and not the true background).

This was a funny moment during the party where everyone's attention was on the Bar Mitzvah boy. 

Another first for me. I wanted to shoot an image of a large group of family and friends from the ground. So...I was on the ground looking up (with a 16-35mm lens and diffused flash), to get this shot, and someone fell and landed on me and my camera. Pow! The camera smashed right into my nose. Ouch! But, hey, at least I got this shot. :)

As Michael did his candle lighting ceremony, I thought that it would be interesting to tilt the camera and get a different perspective.

After the party was over (at approximately 4pm), the rain had all but stopped and I asked Michael if he would go outside with me for a couple more portrait shots. He was still wearing his party hat, so we decided to play with that. This is one of my favorites.

Congratulations to Michael and his amazing family.


Gina Ibarra said...

Great job foofing! Hope your nose is okay! :)

Dj Boy said...

About the "on the floor" pic

I love your work man.

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