Let there be light? In a dark club?

Ok, so I started a thread on my favorite photography asking posters to give me some advice on taking photos in a Club. The BEST advice I received, was to use flash. Go figure, eh? No, seriously… I didn’t know.

A friend had asked me to photograph his party at a club. I agreed and immediately realized that this would be a great learning experience. When I arrived at the club, I decided that the flash seemed bulky and unsexy, and decided to leave it in my vehicle. My second thought was, “I have a D700 I can take pictures in the dark!” The first time I tried to take a picture, I couldn’t. A group of people posed, I pressed the shutter, and NOTHING! I was immediately embarassed. Did my D700 and Tamron 28-70 f/2.8 fail me? Nope. Autofocus can’t focus in the dark. I needed my flash.

After retrieving my flash, all was well with the world. The camera and lens were back in business and I felt like a rockstar! Folks were crawling out of the crevices to get their pictures taken. Had I not been ‘working’ I might have even accepted some of the free drinks that people were attempting to give me.

Let’s talk about one of the responses that I received to my thread, shall we?

Alex Ratson (Professional) posted:

I would go with a flash although I will disagree on some of the points
regarding how to use it under these situations.

-I would set the flash/camera to rear curtain sync, this will allow the ambient light and atmosphere of the club soak in while still freezing your subjects motion.
-Set the Flash to just normal TTL and then +/- as need be.
-Apply a full cut C.T.O gel OR the Nikon supplied incandescent gel (amber in colour) and set your white balance to incandescent. This will ad a bit of warmth to your flesh
tones and help balance the light from your flash with those of the club.
-lastly, get the flash off camera. I normally will use either a sync cord or
use the popup flash on my D700 set to commander mode and then just hold my
speedlight in my left hand.

Remember, the flash will help freeze any action such as dancing so going with a slow shutter speed will not hurt you and will actually help by allowing more of the ambient light to soak in to your shot Vs. going with a fast shutter speed which will make your subject look like they are in a black hole and not provide the night club feel, full of funky colored lights and what not.

If you have a small softbox or light modifier feel free to use it. Bouncing off a white wall or ceiling can also work great although a lot of night clubs either have a fairly high ceiling or have a none white ceiling, both of which are not really bounce friendly.

When I initially read Alex’s response, two things happened: I realized that I’d have to perform a google search to decipher his response and that I was waist-high in an incredible learning opportunity. It was time to get to work.

Ok, so what’s rear-curtain sync?

Bless Me Nikonian Father, For I Have Sinned…

It has been several days since my last confession…and yes, I am back to admit my transgressions yet again. You see, since the day we met, I have not been able to separate myself from my D700. We go to the grocery store together, the mall and even the nail salon. It is my most constant and faithful companion. I care DEEPLY for my D700 and would never do anything to jeopardize our relationship. Well, that was until last night.

Last night I bumped into an old friend. It was unintentional and quite innocent. I don’t know what came over me. I mean, I didn’t intentionally want anything to happen, it just happened….and I am so ashamed. Shamefully, I admit that the moment of rapture was worth it… at least until the guilt set in.

I’m a firm believer that the past should stay…. well, the past… but again, last night was different. I thought I was over it. In my mind, I had moved past those old feelings, but my heart subconsciously feel the same. This became quite apparent as I slyly moved closer to the drawer. I didn’t mean any harm. I just wanted to peek……. and there it was…………………….my Nikon L12. Oh, how it shimmered in the darkness with it’s silver coating. I had some good times with that camera. The more time I spend learning about photography and my D700, the more that camera makes sense. I now see that studly compact piece of P&S with different eyes. It has all the things a girl could want in a camera: VR, 7.1 megapixels, and ISO 1600. Our rendezvous was brief. A click here, a snapshot there. It was exciting.

My experience brought a new dynamic to the old saying, “It’s not the camera, but the photographer behind the lens.” That statement, my friends, is simply not true. My L12 can never give me what my D700 gives me. Sure, the L12 is good for a quickie, but it’s nothing like the hours of joy I experience with the D700. The D700 is faster, stronger and far more satisfying. It has more options… longer lenses, wider apertures.

I don’t know what the future will bring for my L12. Sadly, I’m not too concerned. Wait, let me think about that for a second. I can’t take the D700 to the Marine Corps Ball. We’d look a little strange together given I’d be wearing a ball gown. Perhaps another fling with the L12 is in order.


People with Cameras

Photographers are due some measure of respect that is long overdue. Having a camera does not make you anymore a Photographer than dispensing cough medicine to my husband makes me a nurse or doctor.

I am becoming increasingly annoyed with the number of people running around calling themselves a Photographer. I believe that I’ve ranted about this before. Today I was on a website that I frequent a and one of the soon to married chicks posted her engagement photos. Insert VOMIT >>HERE<<. It's almost as if the couple ordered from the menu of bad photography: "We'd like to order the poor composition, with a side of blown highlights and incorrect white-balance please."

Yes, I admit that the pictures posted were pretty bad. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to share with folks everything that I’ve learned. Red pill or green? Well, let’s just say that some would rather slumber.

I’m not the greatest photographer ever. Hell, I’m not quite a photographer. I’m simply a chick with an expensive camera and darn good sense. There ain’t no way in three burning hades that I would charge money for what I’m doing at my level. Oh well. This is America. People will charge for anything… even if it’s a pile of shit.

Kicking Family to the Curb….

Am I really wrong for wanting some quality time with my camera? I mean, it’s not like I’m sleeping with it or anything (yet). I just want so spend some one on one time getting to know it a little better. Perhaps a nice quiet dinner or a stroll in the park with it, ALONE, would make me feel better. I would even like for ‘us’ to attend church. I mean, I don’t need to take a hot shower with it and have it wash my back or anything. I just want to be alone with it.

It never fails that everytime I want to hang out with the camera, life happens. Clients start calling…kids start whining… the dog needs to walked. By no stretch am I complaining about my life, I’m just saying that I want some alone time with my camera.

I get alone time with my daughter, who’s three, and I am starting to realize that she wants to have time with the camera, too. She’s always wanting sit next to the camera or find an excuse for the camera to take her picture. Secretly, I think she wants ‘in’ on the relatioship. I’m not quite sure that this is something that I want to share. I’ve given her a camera of her very own, but for some reason, she continues to pursue a relationship with MY camera.

My boys only want sporadic visitation with the camera. They want it to attend school functions and be there when they need it most. I think I’m ok with that kind of relationship and won’t have to be concerned with even the most remote possibility of any indecent liberties.

Thankfully, my husband has no interest in my camera. He’s quite faithful to his P&S Oly.

Such is life. I don’t want to share.

My Tony is Back!

Ok, so I’m really hoping that the wife of the guy that owns the company that stole Tony’s internet connection, breaks a fingernail. Tony’s been internet-free for a while and I’ve missed him. Trying to learn ‘layers’ without him last week was nothing short of frightful. Why? Well, because I don’t speak Photoshop….specifically, the layers dialect. I’m glad he’s back, not just for his Photoshop mastery, but I also missed his positive reinforcement of my photography development. He’s always been great with the encouragement.

I also miss Kayne. He’s super kewl, too. Life has happened to him, as it does with all of us, but just in a way that makes you appreciate your time here on this planet. Well wishes to you, my friend.

Onward. Today I’m swamped with kids. I often wonder why the school system here gives the teachers days off during the week on top of their weekends off. My plan for today is AGAIN, to attempt to go out and practice using my new lenses. I’ll be doing this with my kids and some kids of a few other parents. Thank GOODNESS for SUVs.

Rushing Greatness………..

Are you kidding me? You can’t rush greatness. You can’t rush goodness, and rushing mediocre only makes a mess. In short, there’s no point in rushing if the expectation of an evenl slightly reasonable result is expected. Just hold your horses.

If you’re wondering if this post is going somewhere, the answer is, “Yes.” Well, maybe kinda sorta going somewhere. I reckon it depends on who you are, and whether or not you’ve made the mistakes that I’ve made.

I’ve been a little lazy. If you’re gonna be a photographer, you can’t be even a little lazy. Anything less than engaged simply makes you someone with a camera. If you’re a person with a camera, and that camera JUST so happens to be a D700, then you’re just an idiot. Today, I admit to being an idiot……..but just today. Tomorrow is a different day.

Today I really wanted to take some pictures. Being the uber-wife that I am, I decided to give my husband some ‘man time’ and take our youngest out with me today. Dumb idea. I took her because I was in a RUSH to try my new Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. I’ve had it a couple of days and really wanted to get some grabs to post as samples. I was also suffering from cabin fever. I drove over to the river on this gloriously overcast day, opened the window of my truck and fired away.

When I uploaded the pictures to my computer, the photos were nothing short of dreadful. Who takes photos on a bright gray day at ISO 3200? Well, idiots do. Specifically, idiots who are rushing. Futher, idiots who are rushing, and treating their great piece of equipment like a P&S. What a waste of gas.

And what is the punishment for my indescretion? A full week of manual shooting should teach me a lesson. Nope, no Aperture, Shutter Speed or Program Modes (not that I use Program mode anyways).

Did you read the part where I said that my pictures were dreadful? There’s no fixing them.