First, why not talk about some technicals about this image. I was really excited that this came out almost exactly how I wanted it to. I decided that I wanted to get the luminaries that lined the track in the shot and the field was sufficiently large that it wouldn’t have made all that interesting of a shot. So I came up with the idea of getting an image of the HOPE luminaries in the stand composed between two of the luminaries that lined the track.
Immediately I b-lined to the back of warning track (it was at Elfstrum Stadium, where the Kane CountCougars play, more on that later) and decided I needed to get on the ground. Using my wallet to prop up my lens, I set my camera to ISO 200, f13 and about 13 seconds. Focused on the luminaries close to me and then proceeded to lay in the dirt. Thankfully it was the end of the night :-). I’m really happy with the way this came out, only that that would have been better would be if it was really dark out, but alas I had a deadline!
And then on to another topic…
This image was taken during the Relay for Life of Kane County at Elfstrom Stadium on Friday night. It had been a little bit of a long day, I had already been outside for a few hours at Geneva’s Swedish Days Festival and even the week itself had brought itself a lot of stress. My photo supervisor also mentioned that this assignment should make for some great shots. So right out the gate the bar was high.
So I get there, have to park pretty far away. I walk in during the opening ceremonies, make my way onto the field and get my bearings. It was at that point that the most simplist of realities hit me. The Relay for Life is a fundraiser for cancer, well for a cure for cancer; we all know that cancer has enough money (The Office reference, anyone?!). I have often heard about Relay for Life, but have never really thought about it.
Not very many of you readers (well, there may not be that many readers to begin with..) know that cancer is somthing that really has taken a hold in my life the last few years, most especially in the past few weeks. My grandma battled (and is in remission) breast cancer a few years ago, but that never really troubled me because it all seemed like everything was okay and never had to worry.
But then a few weeks ago my mom found out that she has brain cancer. And not just any brain cancer (is there regular brain cancer?) its a rare type of brain cancer that might actually be a more rare form of brain cancer. Who knows, its all a waiting game right now. She is also only 41, which is even crazier. I have had a pretty tough time processing how I am supposed to react to this, still don’t.
Anyway, back to the Relay. I remember getting onto the field, stay close to the 1st base side wall and took a look around. There was a section of people on the field wearing purple shirts, all of whom had battled and survived cancer. There were kids as young as 3-4 and many much older. And then I thought about the luminaries. Each of those luminaries represents the life of someone lost to cancer. There were just short of 3,000 luminaries around Elfstrom Stadium. It was that that really struck me. There are so many people that have survived, but even more that have lost. Of course that is kind of the way that life shakes out, but still.
I can’t even truly and adequately describe what it was that I felt in those moments. But I do know that really there are millions of people that strugle with cancer. More encouraging though are the tens of millions of friends and family that are bend each of the people struggling with cancer. That is really the crux of the Relay for Life. Its not to show how many people have lost, but to encourage those caring for and fighting the disease. Truly remarkable the work that Relay for Life does and the money they raise for research.
At this point, I barely know what I am saying and feel as though I am circling my point.. So while “hope” is the buzz word of the past year plus, I think that at times its nearly all we have; its the last thing to cling to and the last remaining item in Pandor’s Box.
Thanks for reading,