Last Wednesday, I went to the weekly photo department meeting for The Ball State Daily News. During the meeting they announced that Beneficence, a statue on campus that was sculpted by Daniel Chester French, would be turning 75 this year! For you history geeks, that name is familiar because the artist also sculpted the Abraham Lincoln statue in the Abraham Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. Pretty cool! The Daily News needed a photo for the story and told the photo staff that they would have a department wide contest. The person that won would get to be featured in the paper with the story. I was really inspired by this. When I got outside to discover bright pink clouds, I decided to do my portrait immediately.
It was about twenty minutes before sunset and I thought about shooting Benny from the ground with the clouds behind her. Impossible. It took me about half an hour to grab my camera, talk my friend Dani into coming with me and run across campus. By the time I was standing in front of Benny, panting with camera in hand, the sun had already set. The clouds had turned gray, but the sky was a really pretty blue color. I noticed that the two lights that shine on Benny had been turned on so she wasn’t in complete darkness. I had missed the sunset, but that wasn’t going to keep me from shooting. I’ve always loved the blue of the sky just after sunset and was really excited to get to use it. In order to get the correct exposure, I really had to drag out my shutter speed. I thought I’d be shooting in day light, so I didn’t bring my tripod with me. Instead of using a tripod, I did what any sane photographer would do and took my shoes off. Yep. Threw them on the ground, rested my camera on them and shot that way. I realized that I was a little too low to get the composition I was looking for so I ended up raising my ISO and choosing a shutter speed I could use while holding the camera in my hands.
It got really dark outside after a little while and Dani and I still had to walk all the way across campus to the dorm. When I got back I went through each photo and found my favorite. I decided I really liked composure and color in one specific photo. I toned it and sent it to the photo department, fingers crossed. Mind you, this was last week so I’ve sort of been on pins and needles about the whole contest thing. I really wanted to win.
Last night, I went to another all staff meeting for the paper and asked my editor who won the contest. He told me that the contest was cancelled because they were taking the story in an entirely different direction. Fortunately for me, he was wrong or playfully lying. I still haven’t decided which.
This morning, I absentmindedly picked up a paper not even realizing that the Benny story would be running today. In a sleepy haze I glanced down at the page and noticed my favorite blue color. BENNY! It turns out my photo was chosen to be on the cover. Needless to say, my walk to my room was a combination of giggling, skipping and having a huge smile on my face. First front page photo! Of any publication! I couldn’t be happier. I’ve worked so hard for this, and I think it’s really a milestone for me at this point. I wanted to share the photo with you and express my excitement. It’s going to be a great year at the Ball State Daily News and I’m just getting started.