Commencement, ©2012 Dave Ortiz

It’s Commencement time again at the University where I work. This means lots of activity on the campus as workers setup tents and scaffolding for the big events that take place within a 5 day period – Commencement Week! I have been here for eight years, and every year they setup these really striking white tents right outside Butler Library and I always loved how they looked against the bright blue sky background. Every year I would try to make a photograph. Different cameras, film, time of day,  I was never able to  make a successful photograph. It was very frustrating because I knew there was a photo there but I couldn’t seem to find it. This year I decided not to even try.  Like lots of things in my life, I am now just trying to go with the flow, and stop fighting the rapids of life. Adjust what you can and accept the rest. So yesterday as I was leaving the library building where I work I had to make a detour as my usual route is blocked, a common occurrence this time of year. I dutifully hung a left and then a right at some steps when right before my eyes, a little above my eyes, the photograph I had been searching for is right in front of me. For a second I hesitate. I don’t want to reach in and unpack my Nikon. Then I think, idiot, if you don’t shoot it now you’ll never shoot it. It will never come your way again. The light, the clouds, the shadow. What kind of a photographer are you! Yeah, I was actually mad at myself for that moment of hesitation. I then pulled out my Nikon D700, brought it to my eye, moved a foot back and to the right and captured that alchemical angel. The pleasure I felt at that moment, knowing I caught something that had been eluding me for eight years was beyond words. Whenever I doubt my reasons for taking pictures I will almost certainly remember my feelings at that one magical moment.

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