Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Marine Barracks (2) - small groups and candids

I wrote before about the Marine Barracks at 8th and I parade I covered last summer. And covering the General Petraeus event last week reminded me about some of the extra photos I wanted to share.

It's always interesting getting photos of reception attendees. Once in a while just as I interrupt whatever discussion is going on someone says something that gets everyone in a good mood. I know it couldn't have been me because I'm not that funny of person, but I do try and capture it properly.

Whenever I'm working events I usually don't have the ability, space, or time to set up off camera lights so I'm working with on camera TTL flash. Even when using off camera flash, I'll always use on camera TTL for at least some amount of fill. I set my camera to manual, setting my aperture to at least f/5 to ensure some depth of field with groups and set my ISO so that I can get a reasonable shutter. If I'm flash dominated I'll even go to 1/20 or longer depending on the situation. If not I'll set it at something reasonable to ensure I'm not blowing highlights. Then I'll only adjust my flash compensation depending on the situation.

Here's a standard "excuse me, may I trouble you of a picture". This is of Joe Mantegna who happened to also be in attendance.

It's also important to grab candids of participants interacting. It's very difficult to position yourself so that the back of heads don't distract. Remember because those back of the heads are usually closer to your flash, their heads will be brighter (inverse square law), to minimize this, I will try to angle my flash away from the closest head.

And finally, a podium shot of Lt. General Dunford who was the host for the evening and then serving as the Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters, U.S. Marine corps, Washington, DC.

Monday, January 25, 2010

General Petraeus - Auditorium events

I provided coverage for a General Petraeus event last week which gives a great opportunity to discus my theory on auditorium events which, unless someone throws a shoe, are usually anything but exciting.

A lot of this depends on your freedom to move around the event, but luckily I usually get free reign and try not to abuse that privilege. It's always good to make friends with security ahead of time. I almost always position myself up close to one side where I can get an obligatory close up of one side.  Nothing fancy, nothing special, just safe, not even that well exposed.

While in the front I sneak into the back corner and grab a set-up shot.

Once I get a "couple" of frames of something nice and safe, it's time to get a few different perspectives as I make my way up and around the auditorium. I do my best to use external passageways so as not to disturb anything.

I try to stop in the balcony if I have time to give another perspective on my way to the other side.

And finally make sure to grab some up close shot of the other sides of the main event along with shots of some audience participants. This time because I know I already have useable material I can focus on getting things done a little better.

Nothing earth shattering or mind blowing, just some thoughts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Capitol Dome - Directional Light

This is a shot from just after my photo session with Rody last week. This was taken around 4:15 where the sun is coming in from a nice direction creating individual shadow detail making for a a nice 3D effect. Shadows are just as important as light. Because of the slight cloud cover I also got some of the setting colors reflected nicely.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rody and the Capitol

Rody, a very nice gentleman from NY, was visiting our Nation's Capitol and always wanted a picture in front of the Capitol Dome, so he contacted me and I was happy to oblige. Although we had a thrilling time dodging cars and getting out into the middle of Pennsylvania avenue during the crosswalk signals, the final Capitol Dome photo was taken on the capitol lawn on a quiet sidewalk. The other two on a bench along Penn. Ave.

All three photos were manually metered at either f/11 - f/14, ISO 125 - 250, at 1/80th. Key light is an umbrella held just out of frame camera right at about 3/4 power with fill light provided by an orbis ring-flash set at just under full power. Although the ring flash was set at a higher power, the orbis eats up a good amount of light and because it was so much further away from the subject it is effectively much less powerful than the key light, just strong enough to open up the shadows.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Look what's behind you

Last Spring I woke up early one morning during cherry blossom blossoming week to try and catch a sunrise over the water. Low and behold the morning was dismal grey, I was able to grab a few shots I liked anyway. Just as I was about to pack up I turned around and saw all these really interesting trees that were mostly going ignored by the 1000 photographers out that morning.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Anand Grover Speaking - Podium speaker

I was covering a talk given by Anand Grover regarding his judicial battle to decriminalize homosexuality in India.

Both of these photos are shoot hand held available light. The first f/2.8, ISO 400, 200mm, 1/60s. I feel like 1/60th is usually fast enough in these situations to keep everything sharp except the a moving hand, that way you can see a slight bit of motion bringing some action to the picture.

This one ISO 500, f 2/8, 70mm, 1/50s, starting to push the limits of hand held without lens motion clur, but I can grab this sitting down and bracing, I kept the foreground dark to prevent blowing out the speaker.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Camera Bags - My Design

So as anyone who takes pictures will know, photographers are never satisfied with just one bag....I know I've gone through several before I even figured out what it is I wanted, and then it doesn't exist. Someone knowing my grief forwarded me on to a contest put on by Kata to design a custom bag and if you win they'll make it for you and give you a bunch of other stuff.

This is my stab at the design. I've never been able to find a day-to-day bag for going around the city or to small events with that's fashionable, not too bulky, and doesn't look like a camera bag. I usually go with random bags that I find, through a towel in the bottom and hope for the best. This is my take on solving the solution.

But I do need your vote (and hopefully 5 stars) to make it to the next stage.

Unfortunately you do need to register to vote. But if you don't have a throw away email address you should make one for these types of things and other things where you're worried about spam. Please note, you must register like you're going to submit a bag, you just don't have too. In exchange for your vote I offer you these steps to create a throw away filter in gmail:

a)go to settings
b)go to filters - > create new filter
c) in the "to" field type (so if my email was alex I'd type
d) "next step"
e)check "skip the inbox" and "apply the label" and create a new label titled "registrations"
d)"create filter"

Now when you use your email address use, the email sent to that address will skip your inbox and automatically be labeled, so if you need to see if you got something you can check it.

Thanks for your 5 stars!:

and here's the design: