Pushing it to the limit

Saguaro Shadows Photography recently volunteered to provide photographic coverage for a Middle School musical production. Originally the school asked us to provide cast photos for them to sell at the event. We also saw the opportunity to shoot during the rehearsals and performances. We knew we could provide much better images than family members could take under such conditions.

The lighting conditions were stressful for any camera. I doubt anything less than a D3/D3s/D700 could handle the extreme lighting conditions. Our initial setup was Auto ISO, with a minimum Shutter speed of 1/200 and Aperture Priority set at f/4 or f/5.6 most of the time. The lighting situation pretty much made this so the ISO was the only parameter varying. ISO was ranging from 500 clear to 3200, 5000, and even Hi2 at times.

The extreme contrast between light and dark made matrix metering totally unusable. Even with exposure compensation dialed in, the situation was constantly changing, and the matrix meter was often fooled. It wanted to make those black backgrounds of the set neutral gray, and was thus over exposing the actors by 2 stops or more. Since this was a real time, fast moving show, manual exposure was not a good option. Switching to Spot meter with a -0.7 compensation, and always metering on someone's face, rendered the best, consistent exposure results.

It was a pleasure to work with such talented young people, and a good chance for us to donate our services.

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This page contains a single entry by Rick Paul published on April 18, 2010 11:39 PM.

Don't forget your own family! was the previous entry in this blog.

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