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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:51 am 
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...Is an event at my college where students perform dances or songs from all over the world. I was asked to take some pictures from it and, well, it was really hard. The stage had some very challenging lights and they wuld change in between and during acts. Off course I shot in raw which really saved me. I was contemplating between using the 18-200 mm VR lens or my 50 mm prime and I tried them both out during one of the rehearsals. I ended up with the 50mm prime because of two reasons:

1: it was ALOT sharper and to use than my 18-200 mm VR lens, with the 18-200mm I found I had to crank the iso up to 3200 whereas my Nikkor 1.8D 50mm lens got 100+ shutter speed at iso 800

2. As I had the opportunity to take pictures at the dress rehearsal I could roam freely around the area and compose my pictures, the only limitation was that I stayed clear of the middle as they were also filming the event (which is why most of the pictures are taken from one of the sides.

Easy to say, it was extremely hard, you can see how the light was in the picture and it was a challenge, both in post processing as well as taking the pictures. I ended up having to switch exposure compensation to each picture I took, it was good practice. I tried both spot metering and center weighted metering but I finally ended up with spot metering and just pointing it at a face since that was the only way to get rid of their faces being overexposed and washed out, tricky.

Here are a few examples:

Image
Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV


Image
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/400)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV


Image
Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 1600
Exposure Bias: -2/3 EV


Image
Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV


Image
Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV


[admins: feel free to resize if they are too big, I don't know what the rules are now]

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:18 pm 
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Location: Norway, Telemark
Comments and suggestions would be appreciated... This is my first time doing anything like this so ....

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:43 am 
I like #3 #4 and #5. I think #3 shows a nice mood.
well done.

Nick


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:22 pm 
Great shots, makes me want to go get that 50mm prime haha.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:48 pm 
I can empathise with your lighting conditions, johngunnar. I have a lot of experience dealing with low lighting and I still remember the first time. These aren't great shots, nor are they awful shots either. They capture the mood successfully, but aren't really well timed shots bar images 4 and 5.

In general the white balance looks a little warm in all the pictures apart from spotlit 3. Timing-wise you need to work on knowing when to shoot, and when not to.

Here's a quick run-through my thoughts image-by-image:

1: Fair shot. Nothing spectacular, but timing is fine here as you've caught the middle dancer front facing and mid-movement. Bit too warm though and as you shot RAW, this can be corrected.

2: Same act as before, and this time the central dancer is more in focus. However timing is poor this time as you've missed the opportunity to focus on the girl at the far left flailing her dress, and all the dancers are facing away from you. Again rather a rather warm image.

3: Out-of-focus. Unflattering angle.

4: Well timed shot, and using the stage lighting well. Only marred by the warmth and the bottom right corner. A tight crop or time with the clone tool would help.

5: Lovely expressions captured here. Unflattering angle.

Although the central part of the stage may have been filmed, there's nothing stopping you from asking for a seat a third of the way across the stage along the front row and then using that as a viewpoint that had less of an angle to it.

Looking at your EXIF info, you could also have used f2.8 for additional sharpness and upped the ISO to 1000 across all of them.

As you've mentioned, you were there for the rehearsals, so you could have utilised the knowledge of when there are photographic opportunities, and positioned yourself to capture them on the night.

It's not a bad attempt, but your inexperience shows through in the photography. It can only come with experience and knowing how to make the most of your lighting, and the most of your knowledge of the acts to get the timing.

Thanks for sharing.

EDIT - corrected typo.


Last edited by Photoj on Sat Mar 15, 2008 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:17 pm 
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Photoj, thanks for you comments, exactly what I needed to hear. Very helpful. If nothing else this event made me drool after a proper 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Really makes me understand why those are so usefull, especially when it comes to composition and sharpness wide open.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2008 6:31 pm 
Those are very nice shots! I can't wait to take some nice indoor pictures!


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 6:02 am 
Great comments from Photoj!

I am also new in stage performance photography and still learning about it.

the first problem i face usually is the light,
the second one is the timing. It's hard because of the fast movement.
third one is positioning. We need to constantly move around to get
a better angle.

thanks,
Enche


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:46 pm 
Well, definitely that's what's difficult about it. Composition is one of the most important things in all art. No one wastes their time to see boring, and as artists we should be taking the best shots we can. Then, portraits, still life, and scenery I think are pretty much the only shots where subjects can either be manipulated or timing isn't any issue.

I'm not speaking as an experienced photographer. It's a part of fine art, too. Unless you have 16gb on your camera and you just run around taking pictures at all angles in continuous shot, then your luck of getting a good shot without a creative mind is slim.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:03 pm 
woop wrote:
...you just run around taking pictures at all angles in continuous shot, then your luck of getting a good shot without a creative mind is slim.


This is it - if you plan to cover an event, do go to the rehearsals and see what could be interesting/creative to take on the night. Mark out a plan and where you should be located to take the images you want. I can't stress how important planning for event photography is. There is an element of spontaneity as well, but relying on that alone cannot guarantee you your good shots, so you need a plan to get your "banked" images.

You don't need to be constantly moving around, just don't stay at the same viewpoint throughout, and move to where the action is.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 7:45 pm 
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John, I think you did quite a good job technically with the exposure under these challenging circumstances! Very good :!:
P.S.: On my monitor the images are also a tad too warm.
My fav is #4 :D
---------
A cheap 85mm F/1.8 might also be quite useful under these circumstances, BUT it has no VR :(
Hope that Nikon will correct this at some time in the future.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:01 pm 
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I would definatley buy some longer lenses if I was to do this on a regular basis (probably a 70-200 VR 2.8 ), and yeah, they do seem a little warm on my monitor as well, though I already turned down the white balance quiet a bit, the lights themselves were very yellow. Im going to try to turn them down further. I think I set most of them to about 3200 K, perhaps something like 3000 would be better.

Thanks for all your comments. I

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:04 pm 
Judging from my monitors (and eyes) I think 2850K might be closer to the ballpark. It's a little warm...and definitely by more than 200K.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:24 am 
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Yep, I actually put it down to 2700, much better.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 1:47 am 
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Here are some more pictures:

Image

Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV

I noticed the resolution is only 72 dpi here, I think Flickr did something to it when I uploaded it, anyway, this picture is cropped to the extent that the quality of it is not the best, also, you can see the problem which Photoj mentioned by using an aperture of 2.0, the shallow depth of view leaves part of the picture out of focus.


Image

Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.003 sec (1/320)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV

Okay, this one is 240 dpi, perhaps flickr upscaled the previous picture to match the resolution required, I'm not sure, anyway, Im fairly satisfied with this one. I realize now how much I would have benefited from a zoom lens, so I wouldn't have had to crop so much (this one is only moderately cropped though). And better planning to so I could have adjusted and positioned myself into a better position.


Image

Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV

Also cropped, I'm a little bit upset by the flags they have in the background (one flag for every country represented) This was an Irish folk song. I should probably have turned the iso up to 1600 as well.


Image

Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.017 sec (1/60)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: -1/3 EV


These are the MCs. All they do is talk and wear costumes in order to introduce the upcoming acts. I did alot of cloning in order to get rid of some audio equipment in the background. Should probably have used iso 800.

Image

Camera: Nikon D80
Exposure: 0.006 sec (1/160)
Aperture: f/2
Focal Length: 50 mm
ISO Speed: 800
Exposure Bias: 1/3 EV

One more picture of the Hmong dance (The Hmong are a small group of people which are originally from China but there are a lot of them living in Minnesota because they are not recognized as a minority group in China which means that they have migrated there, I believe Minneapolis has the largest concentration of Hmong outside of China).




Thats it for now, comments welcomed.

-John

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