I was sitting behind a big wall tent in a parking lot at the Anacortes, WA harbor facility. The tent belonged to the Shell Relay for Life team and I was borrowing the back of the tent to use as a backdrop for some semi-formal portraits of cancer survivors. Dianne and I had been pretty busy taking photographs and we took the first lull in the stream of survivors to get a bite to eat. I got a burger from one of the local teams that was selling food and settled in at a small table provided by the Wrestlers for Life team as Dianne ran over the Safeway to find some vegetarian food. I noticed a lady with a knee brace holding a plate full of food and looking for somewhere to sit. I invited her over to join me at the table. She informed me that there were others in her group and, sure enough, her husband, daughter and two grandkids appeared. I was nearly done with my meal so I gave up my seat so they could sit. We started to talk and I grabbed my Pelican case of flash equipment and made myself comfortable by the table. We talked about the survivor pictures that we were taking and the ideas we have for making them into something useful to the cause. We discovered that Grandpa and I both spent time in our youths in Boulder, CO. We covered a lot of ground in a short time and it felt natural to sit with these fine folks.
I admit that I was very taken by the two youngsters sitting at the table. Nice kids. Well behaved. Nice manners. And cuter than cute. I lost count of the freckles on the boy’s face at about 200. Grandpa told me that they really are angel kisses and not freckles. Oooops. Hope I didn’t do any damage with my reference to freckles. I joked around with the two kids and finally asked if they would mind it if I took a picture or two of them. I can’t honestly say that they jumped at the chance but they agreed with a little help from Mom. I am a real sucker for photographs of young kids against a white background. We didn’t have real tight control on the light but the white tent went mostly pure white with two flash units blasting into the area behind the kids. I normally don’t use an on-camera flash to provide the key light but this all I could do for the situation we found ourselves in. The kids took turns on the bench and I shot a few frames.
While I think there are many other nice images from our time at the Relay I think that these images will always find a way to the top of the pile. What Dianne says is true… if you smile and talk friendly people will react similarly. I think it’s remarkable that in the space of about 20-30 minutes I got to meet a wonderful family, learn a bit about them and walked away with some images of two really great kids. And the night was just getting going. More to come.