This and That

Random bits of my life

Annual Company Meeting

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 7, 2010

Ceiling Lights

Our annual company meeting was held a couple days ago in the Jerusalem Convention Center (Binyanei haUma). For obvious reasons I’m not posting pictures of my co-workers milling around, trying to wake up with strong cups of coffee. (It’s the month of Elul according to the Hebrew calendar. During the month of Elul, there is a custom of reciting Selichot or penitential prayers just before Rosh Hashanah, usually between midnight and dawn. That accounts for the bleary looks on my co-workers’ faces.)

I was asked to take the photos at the last minute because the guy who usually does it (another co-worker) had a flare-up from an old wrist injury and didn’t think he would be able to manage to hold a heavy camera with a flash for hours on end. He added, “You’re going to be bringing your camera anyway, right?” Well, yes … although I wasn’t planning to drag along a flash and three lenses.

It was an interesting experience, very different from photographing people at a social event like a bar mitzvah. At a social event, people are dressed up, in a good mood, and they expect to be photographed. At the company meeting, they’re not dressed up, they’re not in a great mood, and they couldn’t give a toss whether their photos grace the intranet at work. It was like trying to hunt wild animals in a cage. My camera turned me into Public Enemy Number 1! It was too crowded for me to stand in a corner with a telephoto and I gave up using a flash early on because it was too intrusive.

The candid shots were probably my worst work ever. I’m so glad that they won’t be seen outside the intranet. On the other hand, some of my photos of the people on stage were not too bad. The awards presentation was very tricky because the hand-shaking line of execs had positioned themselves so that the recipients had their backs to the audience. After a couple shots of people’s backs, I scooted over to the left, so that I could manage a 3/4 shot during the first handshake.

Here are a couple unusual photos I took. You didn’t really want to see guys at a podium giving PowerPoint presentations anyway, right? The photo below is a toe portrait of one of our most senior vice presidents/founders of our company. This is an example of “Israeli business casual.” No suit, no tie, not even a pair of shoes. He is on a stage in front of the whole company, speaking into a microphone, right leg slung over the arm of the chair, and flexing his big toe, as if to emphasize the point. I think this is one of those “only in Israel” situations.

Expressive Toes

This object is a shofar, a ram’s horn that is blown like a trumpet during the Elul and particularly during the High Holidays. It belongs to the sandaled VP with the flexed toe. He blew it before the meeting and as everyone was getting up for lunch. I turned on the flash and managed to get a quick shot of his performance.

The lighting of the shofar  was from the stage while the hall was quite dark. 163mm, ISO 400, f5.6, 1/8 sec.  I didn’t have a tripod but I was lucky to get a table at the front to myself and braced my elbows on the table top. The empty table also made it much easier to change lenses. Instead of grabbing the lenses out of a bag in the dark, I laid them out in front of me with a couple empty glasses on either side to keep them from rolling off the edge.


Rosh Hashana begins tomorrow evening. It’s a two-day holiday, followed immediately by Shabbat, so I’ll be off-line until Saturday night. I won’t be able to post photos for Project365 for two of those days. Oh well! For those of you who are observing the holiday, I wish you “Gmar chatimah tovah” and shanah tovah u-metukah!

3 Responses to “Annual Company Meeting”

  1. aswirly said

    That is so funny about the casualness of your vice president. Ha! Unusual, but refreshing. And funny too to read about your camera being the enemy… well, it is a work meeting afterall. lol. That shot of the ceiling is crazy cool.

  2. Gotta agree with Amber… That ceiling shot is pretty amazing…

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