Thursday, May 9, 2024

UCSF Hospital Prom - Getting back to Pre-pandemic festivities

Last week was the annual UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Prom, and once again I was thrilled to be a volunteer at this amazing event. If you have been following the blog for the last 10 years, you will likely have seen my post from this event in April of each year. Well...the pandemic changed that over the last 3 years, as they moved to online prom and other activities.  As you can imagine, these kids are more susceptible to infection and diseases, so protecting them from COVID was even more critical than for the average person.  But, the in-person prom is back once again!

This year was the first in-person prom since 2019, and it was still scaled back a little, as a cautious restart. Normally they would have many of the San Francisco 49ers show up to party with the kids, and that did not happen this year. But the dancing and festivities were back and the kids were thrilled to be there.

Now I will share some of my favorite photos from the prom.

Before the kids arrived, I checked out the decorations and met some of the other volunteers. They had a roving magician, so I had him play with his cards in front of the decor, for fun and to determine the best exposure settings for this area.

ABC was there to interview some of the kids. I caught some of that in camera. You can see the ABC piece HERE. And yes, you can spot me a couple of times in the background.

It is always inspirational to see these kids who are battling so much, let loose and have fun for a night.

I even got to hang out with Johnnie the therapy dog. 

There were definitely less people on the dance floor (and less boys) this year, but everyone had a ton of fun.

The caricaturists were a big hit with the kids.

And I think the caricaturists were having as much fun as the their subjects.  

For this shot, I got down low and put the one young lady in between one of the ring lights.

Many of the attendees got their outfits and makeup done by volunteers. 

And yes, it would not be a prom without selfies.

They raffled off a bunch of cool prizes, including Apple AirPods, a Nintendo Switch, cool headphones and gift cards. 

I love the smiles.

For the whole night, the roving magician was working his magic (pun intended). 😀

It was fun capturing the reactions of the kids.

The prom always includes in-patient and former patients, this year was more of the former patients.

You will see one of my remote lights in the background. I used three flashes for this prom. Two of them were on light stands and one was diffused (with a MagMod Sphere) on my cameras. 

Here is the camera equipment I used for the night:

As I have done every year in the past, I waited for all the kids to return to their hospital rooms or be picked up by their parents, and I took a photo of the hospital volunteers. I then rushed off to get home to recharge all my equipment for my full day shoot on Saturday. As tired as I was, I knew that this was nothing compared to what these kids go through on a daily basis.

I hope that you are as inspired by these youngsters as I am.


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