Women Build - Hammers and Heartstrings

As stated in the previous post, I have begun a project following a family through the Habitat for Humanity process. I am documenting this journey through the experiences of Pam Yauch and her family, the recipients of this year's "Women Build" home. So here we are at a fitting start to our journey. As you will learn later, Pam's journey started a long time ago, but this is a good time for me to begin the documentary process.

This past weekend, Pinellas Habitat for Humanity held the Hammers and Hearstrings Ball. This black-tie fundraiser included silent and live auctions to benefit the Women Build project. The money raised at this event will be used to fund next year's Women Build. Pam was a guest speaker.

Here is a wide shot of the event. This shot may look like a typical "scene-setting" shot from a wedding, but it serves a different purpose here. Habitat for Humanity conjures up images of sweaty volunteers hammering nails and painting walls, but there are a lot of "behind-the-scenes" things going on to make those build days possible. Mostly this entails paperwork sitting at a desk, but it also means black-tie galas to raise the necessary funds to keep the projects going. I wanted a shot that captured that "black-tie" feeling. The chandelier, the sea of tuxedos and the couple dancing all contribute to a successful shot. Many of those well-dressed folks will be sweaty and stinky come this Saturday.

Pam is invited up to speak. I had two different lighting schemes set up to achieve different looks. The first setup was two flashes up in a balcony used to evenly illuminate the whole room. This just bumps the light up a little bit while retaining the look and feel of the ambient light in the room.

Pam addresses the guests and talks about the importance of donations (both financial and labor) to Habitat's mission and some of Pinellas HFH accomplishments.

Here is the second lighting scheme I used while Pam was speaking. Basically, homeowners become default ambassadors for HFH and Pam makes the most likely representative for the Women Build program. I wanted to enhance the feeling of Pam being placed in the figurative spotlight by placing her in a literal spotlight. I snooted my flash (think cardboard tube to focus the light) but the light was still spreading too much. So I taped a few busines cards together to further limit the amount of light to get this result. The ambient exposure is light enough to see the guests looking at Pam, but dark enough to keep the emphasis on her.

And this is just too funny to not post. The MC handling the live auction was great at getting the crowd involved and kept everybody laughing.

The first volunteer construction day for this year's Women Build is this weekend, so look for some more pics some time next week!

Remember, this project will be going on for a year or more, so check back to see updates. A new link on the sidebar of this page will take you directly to all the Women Build posts, or you can save this link: http://ericvichich.blogspot.com/search/label/womenbuild

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