She is known as “Her Royal Highness” (HRH) Princess Chulabhorn Walailak the Royal Princess of Thailand. I recently attended an affair in NYC where I had a chance to photograph HRH. Princess Chulabhorn Walailak was throwing a gala charity fund-raiser at the Saint Regis Hotel in NYC and the Thai ladies social group that my wife belongs to had many members in attendance.
Princess Chulabhorn Walailak is in poor health and travels with an entourage made up of security and medical personnel. As with any event where there is a dignitary of high regard there is a lot of standing/sitting and waiting, this event was no different. There was protocol to be met here, after all there is a proper way you have to address HRH and the people to go in front of her had to do a trail run to make sure all things ran smoothly when she entered into the event.
Also like most affairs of this caliber there is a “no flash photography rule while the dignitary is present. This of course is the challenge for any photographer who is there to capture images. You could use flash up until the point HRH enters into the event and at that point it is made very clear there are to be no flashes at all. My lens of choice here would be the trusty EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. Pairing that lens with a full crop sensor for the higher ISO range should yield decent images.
White balance is always the thorn in my side at these types of venues. I like to shoot auto white balance and correct later in Lightroom CC. So upon arrival to the event I had my niece hold an X-Rite color checker in a few various places and I took a sampling of the light. I sampled window light, and would work my way away from the windows toward the center of the rooms. This really gave me great reference points to make my white balance settings later in Lightroom CC.
By way of luck and a little (maybe a lot) of perseverance I was able to score a special spot to stand that allowed a vantage point to see HRH before she entered in a she came down a hallway and stairs. I was also able to get some close shots as she approached her seat. Then we were given the sign to “vacate” and take our seats.
Once seated HRH spoke and talked to the group on the topics cover the charity and her work in healthcare. Visibly weekend by her own sickness she often spoke with her eyes closed and would sometimes pause in silence. Although sick she still drew laughter from the crowd from time to time. At the end of her monologue she stood and was escorted up the isle with her personnel in tow and slowly left the room.
Princess Chulabhorn Walailak is an amazing & intelligent person who has dedicated her life to education & sciences and has received many awards for her work in those fields, starting with the Einstein Medal given by UNESCO back in 1986.
I was very happy to have had the chance to photograph HRH and was happy that my wife (a Thai lady) had an opportunity to meet Princess Chulabhorn Walailak.