Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lesson Learned: The Value of Being Prepared

Before heading down to the oceanfront this past weekend to photograph the East Coast Surfing Championships, I went through the usual ritual of checking my equipment and ensuring that I had everything that I needed. On a previous venture, I got burned when I got down to the beach and realized that I left all of my memory cards at home. There wasn't even one in the camera! I ended up making a quick trip to the nearest Office Depot and shelled out $100 for a 4 gb card. To say that I triple check everything now is an understatement.

With all of the contestants, their families, locals, and the regular tourists in town; beach parking was at a premium. Anyone who knows Virginia Beach knows that finding reasonable parking during the tourist season is a bit tough but I have Buster. Yes my beach cruiser's name is Buster. :-) It is even painted on the side. I'm not making this up. I guess the crew at Haro thought it was a personal touch to individually name the bikes they built. Better yet, it has a note painted on it that I am a Zimzala, someone that is happiest with their toes in the sand. How they knew that I have no clue! Anyway, I added a basket to the back of Buster that is perfect for carrying my camera bag, enabling me to grab a parking space at the Convention Center on 19th and bike down to the beach thus avoiding the bumper to bumper traffic.

What I didn't count on is that the new Bigma lens mounted on the Nikon D300 was too large to fit in my current camera bag. I made the hasty decision to leave my bag behind and just take the camera and a pouch of CF cards. It was a minimalist approach but really all I needed for day, or so I thought. The first lesson hit me when a proud father came up and said that he would purchase every photo of his son surfing the Quicksilver grom competition that I shot. I reached into my pocket for my business card only to realize that I had packed them in my camera bag. I seriously doubt that he remembered my website name so I left a fairly large sale on the sand that morning.

The second lesson came from an incredibly nice woman that ordered a couple photos of her husband surfing the open event. After she placed the order, she emailed me inquiring on whether or not I had any photos of him on the award stand. It was definitely a proud moment and having the image to keep the moment alive forever would have been a great thing. While shooting on Sunday, I briefly considered shooting a couple photos of each of the award presentations but not being the "official photographer" of the event, I figured I was better off catching the ongoing action shoots while the rest of the photographers were distracted with the podium. Another opportunity buried in sand and saltwater that day.

So the point is that being prepared doesn't stop with ensuring that your equipment is ready and your gear is packed. It is being able to foresee the potential opportunities and ensuring that you are ready to make the most of the opportunity. For the lack of a $.10 business card and 5 minutes every hour shooting trophy presentations, I probably cost myself a couple hundred dollars. I've added it to my lessons learned for the next upcoming event. You can be sure that there will photos of trophies as well as the action!

No comments: