I guess the whole frat brother support thing was a bigger recurring thing than I thought. And there's still at least a couple more (spoiler alert) coming. Y'all might get sick of my bringing up Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. all the time pretty soon. Sorry...you're just going to have to deal with that one though. It's rather a difficult burden to bear being the best fraternity that ever graced this earth, but somebody has to do it.
Every year, our Zeta Kappa Lambda graduate chapter has a Black and Gold Scholarship Ball in the city of Des Moines. It's a black tie affair held every February to help raise money for minority scholarships as well as honor those students who have won them. To say it is a marquee event would be a major understatement. Folks look forward to the event annually. It's not often that you get see such a diverse mixture of individuals young and old getting together dressed to 'T' for a good cause.
For the past couple of years that I had been going to the Ball, I had gone as a guest. Those would have been the two years that XL-Images was in existence. So I still broke out the camera and got some shots while I was there. Mostly to get some another type of genre for the port. But also to help out the frat so they would have photos to display for the event. Although there was always a paid photographer there, he didn't have quite the same eye as someone like me. I made it a point to move around all the different parts of the Ball to get the full picture of formal to party. It was something a little different that I brought to the table.
Come this year, I had already moved to the DFW area. I could have went as a guest again, but I figured it was time to take a shot at being the lead photographer for the event. I knew that it meant I wouldn't be able to enjoy the event as a guest but I was fine with that. Besides, the enjoyment factor was still there. It was just a different aspect. All the grad brothers are working the event in some capacity. Although it is hard work, I doubt you'll find a single one who will tell you they don't have a good time.
I did something different with my role as the photog than we've done in previous years. There was no set up of a plain backdrop, strobes and drop cloth to serve as a makeshift setting for on-the-spot pics. I could have easily done that though. Gotten the printer and provided the photos right then and there with no editing at all. However, the churn-and-burn format was not my style. Never has been. Never will be. Instead, I provided higher quality photos and made them available online for order. Sure, folks couldn't get them the night of, but it was definitely worth the wait.
Every year, the chapter presents an Alpha Award of Merit. This is a prestigious award given to an individual who has an impressive history of being involved with the betterment of the local community. This year, it was Mary E. Dominguez Campos. I'm sure there are probably more than a few DMI folks reading this who are very familiar with her. I personally was not, but that was just further proof that I needed to do a better job of connecting with the elders in the community.
One thing I have always prided myself on was making sure that my portfolio includes a wide spectrum of all ages. Sure, it's definitely heavy towards the younger crowd. That just happens to be the group that enjoys taking photos more. But I will go out of my way to get some good photos of senior citizens. They always have such purposeful looks in their faces from just their everyday expressions. And if it means that the only time I'm able to get photos of those folks is at events such as this then so be it. It's still very much worth it.
This shot was captured just as she was going to the podium to accept her award. Initially, I was going to get just a random candid look of her walking there. However, as I got in position, she stopped and looked at me. There were no words said at all. She just flashed that distinguished smile at me. The instant I clicked, I knew that that photo was better than any candid moment that I could have captured of her. More than that, I instantly knew that it would be the best photo I would take all evening. Clearly one of the best of the year as evidenced by its appearance here.