Saturday, May 23, 2015

Busy, busy May

I was given a lot of theater jobs in advance so I decided now was the time to strike and get the 70-200mm f2.8 lens that I've been wanting for a couple of years.   I've been given excellent access to the theater and I'm having a good time.

I have six color pictures in this week's paper including the front page.

Piano prodigy Umi Garrett plays piano at the Shelton Performing Arts Center on May 13th

Eatonville resident David Wuller plays his fiddle with a group of friends on Saturday at Bluegrass in The Forest
held at Shelton High School on May 16th

Some spot news

I had never photographed in a theater before this month so this month has been a learning experience for me.  I learned that I need to use spot metering in the theater.  I used shutter priority set to 1/125 and ISO 800.  Then I had to wait until the meter in my viewfinder read a f stop rather than flashing "LO" at me.  I never really paid much attention to that meter before.  I tried to get the highest F stop I could get for each shot.  I went to rehearsal for both the musical and the piano performance so I could figure out the lighting in advance.

I really like my new medium angle zoom lens, it focuses fast and accurately and it's 2.8.  It outshines my wide angle Sigma 2.8 lens due to its accurate focus.  In comparison the Sigma struggles a bit with focus.  Image stabilization on the Sigma still makes it a better lens for me then the Nikkor wide angle zoom.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day Dash

This was my second time photographing a running event.  The first time was just last October and it was a bit of a disaster.  I studied and studied how to approach the subject, I rode my bike around the race course a few days ahead of time and I thought I was prepared, but I was not.

Getting a camera to focus on a runner is not easy.  My camera auto-focus was all over the place, focusing on flying arms and legs, focusing on things in the background, anything but focus on the runners face.    Three runners got past me before I managed to get one shot that was in focus.  Manual focus was not an option because I was using my zoom with a small focus wheel and the subjects were moving fast.

This time was different.  This time I set my camera on a single focus point that I felt should line up with a runners face with my camera in the portrait position.  I also used a battery grip to make it easy to do so much shooting in portrait mode.  My battery grip also has a button and a dial for moving the focus point around.

Every shot of every runner was in perfect focus today.

The front runners were spread out so I had time to change my position enough to give every runner a different background.  I also had the foresight to photograph every single runner as they passed me at the start of the race.  I did that so I could have an easier time matching runners clothing to their bib numbers later if need be.  Last but not least, I took a picture of every page on the roster.

In what I felt was my best photo of the day, one of the subjects was not wearing a bib.  I went through my pictures from the start of the race and then I found her wearing her bib.  Her bib was on a shirt that she had shed and tied around her waist at some point during the race.  If I had not been able to find her bib number in my earlier pictures and then match it to the pictures I took of the roster, I would not have gotten her name.  If I had not gotten her name, I could not have submitted her picture.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Getting Busy

From Left Melissa and Frank Dare watch the concert as golden light from the stained glass window above the pulpit shines down onto them at  “Awaken Thy Spirit” a spring concert event held at St Edward Catholic Church in Shelton on Sunday May 3rd.

For reasons I can't disclose, May is going to be a really busy month for me and most of it will be spent in a dark theater  May will be busy enough that I decided it was the time to strike and buy that lens I've been dreaming of.   Maybe I'll need a tax write off after this month.

Yes I bought the 70-200 f/2.8 with VR.  I saved a bundle by getting the older VR rather than the VRII. When I need to focus on things that are 5 feet way I'll just use my other fast lens, my Sigma 17-18 mm f 2.8 with VR.

This week I photographed two concerts so my images are somewhat similar, but the lighting was very different.  The first concert was in a elementary school gym with horrible lighting.  The second was in a large church that was a bit dim, but still had all kinds of interesting lighting.

I was really happy with my church pictures but they were not given much room when they were printed. 

Cassie Reinbolt volunteers to play her harp for a photographer before the concert “Awaken Thy Spirit” a spring concert event held at St Edward Catholic Church in Shelton on Sunday May 3rd.

Artistic director Elizabeth Berndt of the Harstine Island Community Choir conducts while mass is performed by Anna’s Bay Chorale, Harstine Island Community Choir and Kitsap Community Chorale “Awaken Thy Spirit” a spring concert event held at St Edward Catholic Church in Shelton on Sunday May 3rd.

Music teacher  Bradley McNeill, plays the keyboard and conducts while children sing and parents watch at the Second Grade Spring Concert held at Bordeaux Elementary School in Shelton on Thursday April 30th

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Last week I photographed a Make-A-Wish foundation party.  This was an intimate event held at a family home.  There were no real technical challenges for this assignment.  I was shooting outdoors in overcast weather.  I mostly used my 50mm 1.8 prime lens.  I was able to move around freely and get as close to or as far away from my subjects as I wanted to so the fixed focal length was not a liability.

A couple of weeks ago I was requested to stop cropping my images so "aggressively" and to give my pictures some room to breath.