əm-ˈbre-lə ˈbich: The individual responsible for holding a weather protection device over another more skilled photographer while he or she composes the perfect shot while out on a shoot in non-favorable conditions. This also includes all packing and hauling in/out of equipment. Sometimes referred to as a flunkie, lackey or assistant.
I should probably give some background to this. There are times when Linda and I are out in the wild taking some snaps with the trusty Nikons. Unfortunately, there are times when the weather doesn’t exactly cooperate as planned and we find ourselves in need of shelter. Of course, we always claim this makes for better lighting and mood in our products, but generally that is just a convenient excuse to justify why two grown people are standing out in pouring rain taking pictures of god knows what. We were actually out in Maine recently (Acadia to be specific) when this exact situation came up. It was raining off and on most of the time there so we broke down and headed out with all our equipment in tow. We found a pretty cool rock beach and decided to see what we could capture. Sure enough, it started raining meaning one of us has to stand over and protect the camera, tripod, photographer etc. with a large umbrella. This allows the other person to compose the shots and capture the interesting landscapes while remaining relatively dry. Like the Bass to Guitar, the Half-back to the Full-back and all other Blues-Rock Bands to the Stones, the less skilled has to give way to the more talented. With Linda the somewhat better photographer (wait for it) the umbrella role has traditionally fallen to you know who …yep.. ME. So there I stood on a rocky Maine beach in the pouring down rain while my lovely wife took her own sweet damn time taking what is sure to be fantastic pictures. After at least 3 hours she decided every inch of the beach had been sufficiently captured at least twice and it was time to go. At this point in time, she put the cap on the glass and informed her Umbrella B*tch it was time to pack up. This I dutifully performed with optimistic hopes of one day having my own flunky… I mean assistant.
Well now, let’s just jump forward to say… I don’t know… hmmm.. okay, a month ago. Setting the stage, imagine that Linda and I have entered pictures in the local county fair photography competition. We have been doing this for a number of years now and really more of just a fun thing to do in order to get free passes to the fair. I say that mainly to because we have NEVER ever ever ever actually earned a ribbon at any of these events, but pretty cool to see your work on display for everyone to admire. Already resigned to another shut out, we walked into the display building to check out all the other efforts. It is really a learning activity as well since you can experience the creativity of others and find interesting perspectives on angles, lighting, coloring etc. you may not have considered in your own works. After a few minutes we looked over to the winner’s wall and were both shocked. Turns out one of MY photos was on the wall with a ribbon attached to it. Did I mention it was “MY” photo… as in a picture “I” took. A quick scan of the rest of the wall confirmed that this was the only winning picture from our submitted set. Now I am not one to gloat (who am I kidding, I love to gloat), but it appears there is a changing of the guard so to speak. Or maybe more accurately, a passing of the torch where in the torch is actually the handle of the UMBRELLA. I think this might actually turn out to be one great year especially with all the rain we have been having lately and what is sure to become my favorite weekend activity. Hey, honey, it looks like it’s going to storm, what do you say we go get some lightning pictures? This is going to be fun (at least until fair time comes around again, but that is a long long long way off).
I should probably make a quick, but funny admission. The picture that actually won (embedded in the umbrella graphic above) was actually a last minute decision. We had it hanging on the wall for a year or two and had actually planned to submit another photo instead. I can’t remember if I ended up not liking the other picture or we miscounted on our tags, but we ended up taking it off the wall and entering it. Oh well, a win is a win in my book (even if it is only an Honorable Mention which Linda keeps reminding me).