Wednesday, June 11, 2008

SUU - Old Main

"...We younger fellows were loitering around and wondering what they might say or do that could make us face that deep snow and cold again, rather sure that they couldn't put it over. One and another of us drifted in and out, listening, arguing among ourselves. Who said it, when or how it was said I couldn't say, but something stirred us to a determination to go back, get to work and see the thing through.”

- Rob Will Bulloch, quoted in SUU: The First Hundred Years

The tremendous efforts of the citizens of Cedar City brought about the timely completion of the first building on campus, and it is loving dubbed "Old Main." It stands as a testament to a community that pulled together and sacrificed to complete a task that seemed impossible. They did it because they wanted better opportunities, and better lives for generations that would come. Most of them knew that they would not personally benefit from the school, but they took the opportunity to help others stand on their shoulders.

It makes me stop and think for minute to myself. What roads am I walking today that others may walk in the future? What am I doing so that others may stand on my shoulders? What am I doing to make better opportunities for those that may follow me? And in short, what difference am I making?

I have to add some creation data for this picture, because it was so nice the way it worked out. I was down at SUU for a late evening shoot and it was getting dark fast. I was shooting film. In shots like this where you are trying to balance artificial light with fading natural light, quite often my light meter is wrong and the shot requires overexposure. Long exposures also require exposure compensation when you are using film. This shot was about 20-30 seconds.

At the time, I really didn't know any of this. I had no clue how magical it can be to balance artificial and fading natural light. But I accidentally left my camera in a compensation mode so it was overexposing everything about two stops as I recall. I realized it later on that night as I was packing things up. I figured the shots would be wasted. Picture this: It's like 9:30 at night, the grass is wet so I don't want to kneel down. I'm doing 30 second exposures, which entails waiting patiently. I'm tired and I have to drive back to Salt Lake that night. And then my camera was set wrong. I just chucked everything in the truck and drove back to Salt Lake. A couple of days later when I got the film back from the lab, I was ecstatic with the results. So what I thought was a complete loss ended up teaching me new techniques that I used throughout the rest of the project and still use now. Interesting.

The next amazing thing about this photo is that I was back down at SUU the following weekend and they had set up construction barriers all around this building because they had started an extensive renovation project that lasted about two years. If I had not taken this shot and the others that I took the same weekend, I never would have gotten a good shot of Old Main for the Sharsmith Project. Sort of amazing really. If my camera hadn't been set wrong? Who knows...

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