High School Graduation Ceremony

My daughter graduated from high school! This involved several days of joyous events with relatives and parties. It also presented me with a bit of a photography quandary.

I initially set about planning how I was going to photograph this occasion from my seat up in the audience of an arena. I have a 70-200mm f/2.8 Sigma lens that I have used for multiple school events but I didn’t think that it would have good enough reach from where I would be seated. So, I looked at what I could rent at a camera store.

A camera store in Austin has a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II Lens for rental. I would be able to rent this for about $80 for the day. With this lens attached to a D750 I would probably be able to get some really good photos from up in the seats. Below is a photo of the lens. It is spec’d at 14.4 in. (365 mm) in length and weighs 118.5 oz. (3360 g); a 7 and a half pound lens, longer than my forearm hanging off of my camera.


I began to stress over this quite a bit. How am I going to get it into the arena? Cameras were allowed, but no tripods, so I would have to hand-hold this by the lens at high-ISO. Also, they only allow clear bags so I would have to find a clear bag to haul this thing into the arena. I was worried that it would be difficult to get a good photo and I spent a lot of time thinking about this and how I would handle the situation.

Finally, the day before graduation came and I headed for the camera shop. They showed me the lens and let me experiment with it. The lens is huge and comes with its own backpack. It’s also very heavy and I hand-held a few photos in the camera store that turned out well enough. So, it seemed like it might work.

But then I began to get emotional. My daughter was graduating from high school and I was going to spend the entire time futzing around with a monster lens instead of watching and experiencing her graduation. I almost teared up thinking about this and I backed out. I handed the lens back and cancelled the rental. And I drove home feeling relieved by my decision.

The next morning I attended graduation, stood when my daughter walked across the stage, and lived the experience.

I then ordered the pictures of the graduation from photographers working the event and have no regrets. Below are my daughter’s graduation photos from the event that I purchased with the copyrights. It cost me about twice what renting the lens would have cost and I have no regrets, just happiness.



I really don’t know why I worried myself with this to begin with. I love having a camera and hiking around with it attempting to take nice photos, but sometimes I have to stop myself from letting it get in the way of enjoying life. I have on several occasions left the camera at home and enjoyed a school event with my own eyes and not worried about getting those photos. I am glad that I made that decision here as well.


Thanks for reading. Now I really need to get out shooting again.

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