You can shoot shows with slow lenses and low-end cameras and still get away with a no-flash situation.

Getting up close helps, because at wider angles, your handheld shutter speed threshold drops. The camera doesn't have to be a fancy new single-digit or triple-digit D, but it if it's new enough to have higher ISO performance, then it's good enough that you can shoot with less hesitation at 1600/3200 and even the dreaded Hi-1.

Lower-end bodies means less robust autofocus, and conversely, you're less able to take advantage of the outer sensors to drive the spot-meter to off-set locations for convenient meter-and-frame in one move. But with slower moving scenes with good contrast, a center-cross only system can keep up.

Finally, getting close means your spot meter actually sees more of the mid-tone you're relying on, and you can confidently set a white balance to match the dominant lighting source, knowing you'll need to do very little color correction in post.

These were shot with an 18-70 DX f3.5-4.5 and a D3100 at various ISOs, mostly 1600 and some 3200. When you have even lighting like this, consider taking advantage of your slower lenses which have a wider zoom range.

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Some frames from a recent trip to Boston:

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Some scenes from my trip to The Breakers mansion in Newport RI - the historic summer home of the Vanderbilts.

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One of the biggest challenges photographers face is night portraiture. In essence you're trying to solve two problems; one is getting a portrait correctly, and the other is to properly illuminate both your subject and the background.
As we gather to celebrate over the coming weeks, here's a few tips to help capture those memorable times:
First time I've ever attended a Bluegrass concert - it was great! Back Eddy Bluegrass is a local band out of New Bedford - I think they might be planning to use some of my shots in the revision of their website. Fairly tough shooting conditions - the Gazebo's pillars get in the way of optimal line-of-sight to the performers and they're under shade during a cloudy day - as a result, I was getting a larger than desirable DOF because I had to use a Speedlight. Fortunately, the background was well off in the distance which still gave me reasonable bokeh.

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B&W Orchids I

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One from a recent walk-about to Roger Williams Botanical Gardens in Providence:

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Another dreary Press Preview Day for the RI Air National Guard Air Show. Rather than live with low-contrast color photos, I decided to challenge myself and convert the best to B&W.

I keep re-learning this lesson - even with a D2 and 8 fps, which is the fastest camera I've ever owned to date, anticipation timing is still required. The CAM2000 AF system on the D2 is also pretty infallible, but if you're in the wrong mode for the subject at hand (fast speed, somewhat unpredictable flight path) then all that technology means nothing. It still boils down to the photographer knowing the equipment *and* thinking ahead to maximize the chances for a good frame.

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As you can tell, I'm on a bit of a black & white kick. Here's three from a walk through Newport RI.

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As one would expect, most of my photos are from Nikon film and digital cameras, but here's one from a Canon Powershot I took on vacation one time courtesy of a friend. At the local zoo, all the animals of one display had just received their mid-afternoon treat. I was struck by the symmetry of how they all sat and ate - I call this one "Lunchbreak."

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