Having just received my segment assignment for Touring Tree Town, I sat in my apartment one night and scrolled through lists of upcoming Ann Arbor events, hoping to find one that coincided with my designated segment: Health and Wellness. Although I think of myself as a somewhat healthy person (even on the days my diet consists of pizza rolls and peanut butter), I was no way in tune with “healthy” Ann Arbor happenings.
For the first show I chose an organization called Drum 4 Wellness that hosts monthly drum circles. I figured since they had part of my title in their title, I was already halfway down the path to success. I wasn’t nervous as I pulled up to the parking lot of the Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth, but I became slightly apprehensive after I entered the drum circle room. The room was plain except for a pious-looking mural on one wall. The dim lighting made it feel like dusk, and the air smelled strongly of incense. As I set up my camera and tripod I felt wholly out of place, like I had intruded on something sacred.
I can honestly say the next two hours went by in a blur. Working with a camera already puts me into an impenetrable zone. Combined with the heavy scents and tantric drumbeats that filled the room, I may as well have been a coma patient with an overactive subconscious. I quickly broke free of my apprehension, and went with the flow. The event lasted for close to two hours, so I had plenty of time to experiment with different angles and camera movements. Although the completion of my first shoot was not the momentous occasion I had expected, it made me confident in my abilities to cover my other events. I left the drum circle knowing that whatever the setting, I just had to roll with it.