In the course of a photography hobby or career, one is bound to have some pretty awkward, disappointing, or appalling experiences. I figured, just to keep myself honest (since I've accomplished so much already, obviously), I'd detail a few of my own here.

Over the summer my mom had a dinner soiree for her foundation, and I volunteered to photograph the evening. Though the ballroom at the Hilton was lovely, the speakers podium was set up against floor-to-ceiling windows giving a view of downtown. There was no way to photograph the speakers without them being seriously backlit or shown at an angle that obscured their face. Then, I failed to utilize a fast enough shutter speed (still lots of learning left to do at that point, folks...) so most of the photographs of people had motion blur. It was NOT the collection of photos I was hoping it would be. I'm still trying to get over it.

When I was scoping out Spanish Lake park for photographic opportunities, I drove around for a tiny bit to get a feel of the size of the place, and then headed back to find a parking spot. I took a side road that I thought would lead me to a parking lot entrance, but it didn't. So, I continued driving thinking surely it would let me out somewhere rational at some point. Then I started noticing all the old people walking, the bikers, the mothers with strollers. Yup. I had inadvertently driven onto a trail. Mortified, I just kept driving, thinking surely it had to end soon, but it didn't. Then I got stuck behind a biker going 5 mph who couldn't hear me behind him because of his headphones. Eventually I came to a bridge that I knew I couldn't cross lest I wanted to end up on the news, so I turned around and drove slowly all the way back. Humiliation is a strong word, but the mistake alone was bad enough; the way the people on the trail were looking at me was worse. I didn't go back for a week, paranoid that someone would recognize my face or my car.

This spring I was out capturing pictures of the spring blossoms, and I wanted to find this crazy tree I had passed many times during the course of my work at a former job. I think it was one of those trees the parks department implores people not to prune or clip because they don't know what they're doing and the tree ends up looking apocalyptic. So, I parked across the street and up just a bit, and got out to snap literally two pictures. Immediately this lady who was eavesdropping on her porch down the way yelled, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" I assumed, for my own sake, that she was talking to some boys that were standing on the corner. Snap, snap. As I got back in the car, the owner of the mangled tree emerged from her house, phone in hand, and stood and stared at me. I peeled off. Seriously, I thought the cops were going to show up at my apartment. I will never photograph in a neighborhood again.

Even though I mentioned returning to the Cathedral Basilica to take more photographs, I never posted any new ones, frankly because all of the joy was sucked out of the day. How? Well, after taking tons of photos and sitting down on a pew to take a creative break, I realized that by opting to leave my purse in the car--in the trunk, actually--I had forgotten to put my keys in my camera bag. That's a horrible feeling. I had no job and no money, and it was going to cost a LOT to call a locksmith. So I ended up calling my dad, and he had to drive a good twenty miles to come get me, take me twenty miles back to my apartment to get my spare car key, go BACK to the cathedral, and then drive home. He was a really good sport about it. I. Was. Pissed. (But thanks, Dad!)

There was that time I went to a concert and didn't realize there was a much better setting on my camera I should have been using until, oh, the encore. And the time I drove way out of my way to photograph some ducks only to find out that ducks don't like people, so it was pretty pointless without a telephoto lens. Or the time I begged my mom to let me photograph the riverfront fireworks on the Fourth from one of the big windows in her office building, only to realize that my sad little point and shoot was not up to the task. Disappointing times, those were.

Well. We all have stories. Some of us more than others...seriously, be glad the Spanish Lake debacle didn't happen to you.

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