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I'll be calling the shots for you—giving you the best camera angles. If you have a 35-millimeter, pick yourself a shutter setting right now.
I am sitting in the stadium at Cypress Gardens, Fla., waiting for the famous water-ski show to begin. I'm surrounded by people with cameras, and the man who will be giving us the best camera angles is sitting somewhere in our midst with a microphone.
I think most of us could pick a 250 on f4 and a distance of about 50 feet. Remember, there's a lot of reflection around water—your skiers might come out dark.
He's the professional photographer on duty at Cypress Gardens today to make sure that we get good pictures of the show. I don't care about good pictures. I don't even own a camera. I just want to see the show.
Movies: 16 frames per second, halfway between 5.6 and 8. You folks with Kodachrome and Ektachrome should....
My fellow tourists are as busy as only fellow tourists with cameras can be—fiddling and adjusting, loading and winding, peering through meters and rummaging through cases appended to them by straps. We are a sea of straps.
If you have a zoom lens, now's the time to take it out and put it in a handy place.
Why am I here? I am here because I am destined to be here. Cypress Gardens has been locked into my consciousness for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the age before television, when my only chance to catch a few moments of big-league baseball—aside from going to a game—was in the Fox Movietone news-reel that preceded the feature at our local movie house. It always had a sports segment near the end, after the inevitable fire in an oil storage tank and just before Lew Lehr ("monkeys is the cwaziest people"), and sometimes, if I was lucky, I could see one of my flanneled heroes like Mel Ott in action. I didn't even insist on baseball—it could be any decent sport that I had been following in the sports pages. Football or tennis or golf. But usually it was Cypress Gardens.
Remember, folks, as they come from the left, stop your panning and let them ski out of the picture before you cut. Otherwise your skiers will look like they're bumping into each other.
Once in a while Fox Movietone News avoided water skiing and covered some other sport that nobody wanted to see, like archery. They loved archers at Fox. But that didn't mean I was off the hook. There were still a few travelogues and "short subjects" to be traversed before I could reach the feature film. Is there anything longer in human experience than a short subject? I can still hear the flatulent opening words: "Hidden as if by magic from the bustle of Florida's teeming highways, Cypress Gardens is an enchanted paradise where breathtaking feats of aquatic agility...."