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Goofing around in Corvallis Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sean Hoffman poses June 15 in a coffee shop in Corvallis, Ore.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was on the road last weekend. After Friday's shoots in Coos Bay, I drove back to Eugene for the night.

Saturday was a pretty straightforward day of graduations at the University of Oregon. Apart from some last-minute changes to the specific ceremonies I was to shoot, it was no big deal.

After the last ceremony of
the day wrapped up around 6, we headed back to the hotel. A group of four of us headed across the road to get a bite to eat, then were to put in another hour or two's worth of work scanning address cards and downloading the day's pictures. I figured we'd be done with that by about 10 or so, leaving plenty of time to go out for a beer. But that wasn't to be.

Upon returning to the hotel after dinner, Michael, our fearless leader, reported problems with the scanner and internet connection. There was no way that we would be able to get all the pictures done and still be able to function for Sunday's graduation at Oregon State. He made the executive decision to overnight most of the work to the office in California. The only problem: there was no UPS, FedEx option in Eugene on Saturday night, nor either of the air freight companies we deal with. The quickest way to get the stuff to LA was to put it on a flight Sunday morning in Portland.

I got the honor of getting it there. After completing as much work as we could by midnight and packaging everything else up, I went to bed. I got up at 3, put the stuff in the car, and drove straight to PDX. (It's really quiet on the freeways at 4 a.m. on a Sunday.) I delivered the two boxes to the Southwest freight counter at 5:30, then drove home. I managed to get another two hours or so of sleep, got up, showered, and drove back down to Corvallis where the rest of the crew were getting ready for the Northwest Region's largest graduation ceremony of the year.

Squirrel's Tavern in Corvallis, Ore., is quiet on a Sunday evening.

The ceremony at OSU is really something else. Rather than have departmental ceremonies like the U of Oregon, OSU has one ceremony for the entire class in Reser Stadium. I'd guess there were at least 10,000 family and friends in the stands—it's really something to be down on the field with that many people cheering.

Anyhow, the 2100 graduates assemble in a park a few blocks away from the stadium, then all march in together. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and 75 degrees with a little breeze. But the ceremony is long. They only read the names of the Ph.D. candidates, and the bachelors walk through four separate lines, but there are a lot of them.

You know what the most impressive thing is, though? Unlike most schools, where the students just receive an empty folder as they walk across the stage, all of the OSU graduates receive a folder with their actual name in it! Unbelievable. I can't imagine the logistics of arranging that, but they do it every year.

This is what happens when a photographer (Sean) points a camera at two other photographers (Matthew and Margie).

Anyhow, after we wrapped up everything there, pretty much everybody was ready for a break. Most of us went to a pizza place near the campus for a bite to eat and a beer. With no commitments for Monday morning, Margie Pettit, Sean Hoffman and I stayed a little later.