How We Got The Picture: Reflection on graduation

  • Some of the 1,000 plus Stevenson High School seniors are reflected in a puddle from a rainshower as they enter the Now Arena for their graduation ceremony on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Hoffman Estates.

      Some of the 1,000 plus Stevenson High School seniors are reflected in a puddle from a rainshower as they enter the Now Arena for their graduation ceremony on Friday, May 27, 2022 in Hoffman Estates. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyherald.comPaul Valade - Daily Herald Deputy Director of Visual Journalism mug

    Gilbert R. Boucher II/gboucher@dailyherald.comPaul Valade - Daily Herald Deputy Director of Visual Journalism mug

 
 
Updated 7/10/2022 10:26 AM

This spring was very busy for the photo staff at the Daily Herald. Two years ago, most graduation ceremonies and state sports competitions were canceled due to COVID-19. In 2021, the spring sports season started late and the championship games were pushed back. This year, spring sports and graduation ceremonies were back to normal.

Most of May and early June was very busy. We covered what we could and asked schools to send us photos from their commencement ceremonies.

 

When covering graduations, I try to walk away with a couple solid photos, something that captures the excitement and pageantry of the day. I was assigned to multiple ceremonies at the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates. For safety reasons, the graduates lined up outside and passed through a metal detector.

I witnessed laughter, selfies being taken, hugging and encouraging words being shared. This was a great opportunity to take photos.

Stevenson High School's ceremony comes to mind. There were more than 1,000 graduates and the outdoor line was very long. A few puddles had collected in the parking lot after a recent rain and a reflection of the Now Arena sign and the graduates caught my eye.

I tried getting a good angle with my professional camera, but I couldn't get low enough to the ground. So I tried my iPhone, taking the photo upside down so the lens would be close to the water. I was very happy with the results.

To me, making this "solid" photo from a small puddle of "liquid" was very rewarding.

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