Monday, August 25, 2008

In Memory of Mark

Got to break out the lights at last, after a couple of "available dark" gigs over the last few days. The event was "In Memory of Mark", a charity poker tournament, arranged to raise money for Mark's two year old daughter's college fund.

The event was fun, fast moving, and a pleasure to shoot. Indoors, outdoors, sometimes everything just works out perfectly. I felt for the first time that I had my kit dialed in, and was able to seamlessly shoot with both cameras and not have to fumble around with lenses, flashes, and whatnot.

Shot the D200 with the Sigma 150 for long portraits, candids from three tables away, isolating subjects from the crowd, etc, and the D700 with 24-70 as my all-purpose machine. With the lighting as good as it was, no problems at all with the D200 noise, and the 700 of course worked flawlessly.

I also used the LiveView several times, getting shots with the camera held high above me and out over a table, etc. Definitely better than point and hope, which is how you usually have to do these shots. Outside was a bit tougher, but something about an open bar gives you the courage to shoot at ISO 3200 and use your flashes from inside the building as a key light on your subjects.

Whoever designed the ceiling in the reception hall at Congregation Beth Am in Palo Alto clearly had photographers in mind. Best bounce conditions I've ever had the pleasure of shooting under. White painted, and low at the walls angling up to about 20' in the center, the inside of the hall acted like a giant parabolic reflector for light. Covered something like 1500 square feet with two strobes, and then covered it very well when the other photographer showed up with a pair of Sunpaks and two more lightstands. We had f/4 at ISO 400 throughout pretty much the whole room, and 5.6 if we were shooting a table near any of the four lights.

It got really fun once the tournament boiled down to one table, and we moved in even closer...

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