[13/100 Strangers]: Eva


[13/100 Strangers]: Eva

The iris specimen that was awarded the Best of Show at the Early Iris Flower Show is pictured here with its proud grower, Eva. It was most suitable for her to be my lucky 13/100 in my 100 Strangers project.

After having photographed other gardening friends from the Albuquerque Aril and Iris Society, Eva was last but not least to be included.

She asked me to explain how the photography project worked. I used her flower show as a metaphor: members of the group bring their specimens (photographs) to the table (the image pool) and then the Society (the 100 Strangers Group) has a chance to view, consider, judge and award (comment/fave) on those items on exhibit. Etc.  It made sense to her, and she was supportive of my endeavor.

Immediately, she went to retrieve her best of show specimen so I could include it in her portrait. It really was stunning. How could I deny her the wish?

After we finished the photographs, Eva turned on her ambassadorship for iris cultivation. She generously spent several minutes of her time explaining to one of my children about the enjoyment and botanical science behind hybridizing irises. The exchange of his questions and her answers made me think that she had experience as an educator. I didn’t have an opening to inquire on her background. She was selling the idea of growing irises to my son, and closing in hard.

I could have only been more pleased if my attempt at filming her with her giant purple award ribbon were in focus.  Unfortunately, the low light situation in the gallery made this image my sharpest of her, and thus, my entry into the pool.

My hope is that future portraits taken in similarly dim interiors will be better aided by use of faster glass.

Using my current walk around lens (18-135 mm) I pushed up the ISO to 800, a speed that is higher than I ordinarily prefer to make portraits. The grainy result is obvious. I didn’t have my tripod. This was hand-held photo making. I didn’t use my external flash because I didn’t have a soft box/diffuser and wanted to maintain the softness of the natural light in the gallery. It was an artistic choice over technical perfection.

Originally, I had set out with my children to visit a Flower Show on display in another part of the Botanic Garden. We were surprised to discover this beautiful exhibit close to the park entrance.

Following our curiosity, we entered the gallery. Immediately, the fragrance of all the irises mixed in the air was intoxicating. One of my children said to me, “Mom, if you were to wear a perfume that smelled like this, I’d be cuddling with you all the time.”

I never expected to have a chance to make stranger portraits during our afternoon.

It reminds me that we must be as open to the unexpected photo opportunity as the subjects we ask to capture out of the blue. Moreover, my subjects from the Early Iris Flower Show and I were made aware of each other’s hobbies and had a mutually memorable encounter.  I wish her peace and contentment in the garden, doing what she loves.

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