Photographing this event brought two firsts for me. The first, first was to volunteer my photography services to a charity event. The second was to represent f8 Consortium in an official capacity as a staff photographer. The Abilities Foundation held its 21st annual silent auction charity event right on the field at Tropicana Field. f8 Consortium was a sponsor of this event with some members donating framed prints, others photography services, or both.
Many local restaurants had tables serving out tiny samples of presumably their best cuisine. The only thing I ate all night was a brownie sample. It was not bad, but not good enough to be called gourmet or whichever adjective their marketing people bestowed upon it. The most impressive thing related to food was the very functional trays handed out that took away the challenge of trying to have to balance a glass upon it.
There were a number of silent auction items that I would have liked to have myself, including the above autographed photo of one of my favorite football players, Adrian PETERson. In the background is an autographed Mike Vick helmet that the announcer was really stressing she wanted to be bought before the end of the night since no one bid on it last year. I checked, the minimum bid of $100 was met.
As the night went on and I saw that most items did not even have one bid on them, I commented to someone behind a table that it does not look like many of these items were going to move. He said that a silent auction is just like e-Bay, no one bids until the end when there is a flurry.
On the technical side of things, the photography, as usual, was in challenging settings. They did not turn on the lights on the field, and once the sun set and no more natural light permeated through the dome, it was really dark. Obviously no ceiling to bounce a flash off of and few backdrops of any kind. In the beginning I was actually using off camera flash to photograph some of the items. Once the guests starting filing in, I went with my usual event settings of f/5.6 and ISO 800, but still wasn't getting the results I wanted so I went up to f/4. Maybe some day I will have a chance to photograph an outdoor daylight event!