Memorial Day Weekend, Graduations and a Camera

As a photographer some of the best jobs are of the unplanned variety. Recently over the Memorial Day weekend I did a lot of travelling for graduations. Two flights, two states, two graduations, and had a blast making great memories and eating great food. As always, I brought my camera with me and was able to capture some great moments.

First up was Texas. This was just a great, great occasion. Okay I’m biased because my nephew, Khalil, was graduating high school so I just had to be there. After finding a flight I was able to pack ONE bag and I was off to the airport. Why mention one bag? Well besides the obvious bag fees if you are someone who knows me then you know I am notorious for over packing. One bag for me is great.

So I’m off to Hartsfield (I live in the Metro Atlanta area) flying to Austin and picking up a rental to drive north from there. After driving like I should be pulled over so I could get there on time I had some time to chill out in everyone’s favorite security check in line. I’m looking at the sign pointing out what you cannot have. I see gun, knife, firecrackers

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Who brings a bat through security?

(hmm okay), aerosol can, hammer and a bat. Wait a bat? Who is bringing a bat through security?!!! But I learned a long time ago if they have a sign pointing it out that means someone must have done it. Cleared security, checked in and boarded my flight. After learning how to play Texas Hold ‘Em and 967 miles later I was in Austin, TX and ready to pick up my rental.

The first thing that greeted me as I walked through the door of the plane was the HEAT. It was over 90 degrees. I used to live in Texas so this was a welcome back moment for me. I became very used to this kind of heat so it didn’t bother me that much. I got my rental and headed north to check into the hotel and get ready for the graduation the next day.

Khalil's 2017 Graduation
Khalil’s 2017 Graduation

Everything went great for Khalil’s graduation day. Friends and family were there in support and big smiles were in order all around. Before the ceremony started, I informed his mom and dad I brought my camera. This was to no surprise for them. I think the response was “of course you did” I was told to snap away. I was able to take some great pics (again I know I’m biased) from my seat and captured some wonderful family shots after the ceremony.

Khalil's 2017 Graduation
Khalil’s 2017 Graduation
Khalil's 2017 Graduation
Khalil’s 2017 Graduation

Afterwards we had a catered graduation meal that felt like a large family dinner. Was so comfortable I didn’t feel like leaving but I had to. I scheduled a flight for the next morning at 5:40 am. What was I thinking? I had to drive back to Austin first to catch the flight. WHY oh WHY did I do this?!!!

The next morning I had to be up by 2 am and on the road by 2:40 am. I’m here to tell you there isn’t enough coffee to properly have you up and ready to go at this time. You just have to push through it. I didn’t have to drive crazy. It was a leisurely drive. I made it with no issues and was on the flight and heading back to Georgia. Once I landed I picked up my car and drove home. The bonus of me coming back so early on Memorial Day was there was virtually NO traffic.  Believe me this is unheard of in Metro-Atlanta. But I was not complaining. I was home in no time and able to rest before gearing up for the next graduation the following day.

The graduation the following day was a celebration for Surya. This young man is my dojo brother (martial arts-another passion of mine) and his family has become part of our extended family. Now travelling to this graduation would not take as much time as me heading to Texas. But considering I had not had much sleep was still travel sleepy and the aforementioned Atlanta traffic was back in full effect it was still a drain. It took me 1hr 45 minutes to travel 17 miles. Yes you read that right. Nevertheless, I fought through it with excitement to support Surya and his family.

Surya's 2017 Graduation
Surya’s 2017 Graduation

Again I brought my camera just in case. Nothing official, but when I took my seat and informed his mom and uncle I brought my camera with me they were all smiles and I was told to take as many as I like. So, like a little kid I just snapped away. The cool thing was because I had just taken graduation pictures I did not have to change ANY of my settings. They were already dialed in so it felt like I could just point and shoot. From my seat I captured great pictures (there I go with my biased account again) along with family shots after the ceremony. I was so happy to be able to support Surya and his family for the graduation ceremony.

Surya's 2017 Graduation
Surya’s 2017 Graduation
Surya's 2017 Graduation
Surya’s 2017 Graduation

After presenting the photos for each ceremony to the families they were pleased will the work. There was a lot of travel involved and none of this was “official” work but at the end of the day this is why I love photography. I was able to capture moments for two families and provide a lifetime of smiles for them to experience. When you love something you never work a day in your life. What brought me joy were the smiles on everyone’s faces. The Memorial Day weekend was not work for me. It was just a great time with family and friends where I just happened to bring my camera along.

 

Check out a few of my other blog posts!

 

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