Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Out of the comfort zone.

For the last ten years I was doing 90% of my photographic work in the studio.

Using slow reversal film at 64 ISO , I worked with a medium format camera locked down on a FOBA studio tripod which wouldn't budge one millimetre even if you rugby tackled it.

 Foba studio stand

The finished results were intended for brochures, adverts and the internet etc.

I think that the fastest film I had used during that time was rated at ISO 200.

This had to change when I took some pictures at a seminar. The event was held in a former church which had very high ceilings so therefore no bounce flash. Also I didn't want to distract the speakers and the audience with my strobes.

I knew that my Eos 7d and my EOS 5d MKII have good low light capabilities so I decided to shoot at 800 ISO. Not very high, you might think but remember that my previous high ISO exploits were in the UK, over twenty years ago, when I was shooting football in Winter with my camera set at 1600 ISO before half-time and 3200 in the second half. The results which were used in the newspaper were undoubtedly grainy. 

Thoughts like this were in the back of my mind when I decided to shoot at a measly 800 ISO for the seminar.

The four lenses that I used were the EF 17 - 40, EF 28-135 IS,  EF 24mm f2.8 and the EF 50mm f1.4

I started off by photographing every speaker from beside the stage with my 50mm lens. 

Luckily, the first speaker was wearing an outfit that was nearly 18% grey. I spot metered off the jacket and used that reading on the subsequent images of speakers in the same place.

 EOS 7d. EF 50mm f1.4. 1/50sec @ f4. 800 ISO

The crop factor when using the 50mm lens on the 7d meant that it was in effect an 80mm lens

 EOS 5d MKII. EF 28-135 IS 
1/6 sec@ f5.6. 800 ISO

 EOS 5d MKII. EF 24mm f2.8.
1/12 sec@ f4. 800 ISO

For these two shots I waited until the speaker was stationary and not moving his arms etc because the speed was very low. The camera was supported on a G-clamp resting on a table.
 EOS 5d MKII. EF 24mm f2.8.
1/13sec@f5. 800 ISO

 EOS 5d MKII. EF 24mm f2.8.
1/15sec@f4.5. 800 ISO

 EOS 5d MKII. EF 24mm f2.8.
1/40sec@f3.2. 800 ISO
Then it was back to the office to convert the RAW data. My standard method is just to correct the white balance, sharpen the final JPG and correct any lens aberrations . These are all done in Canon's own DPP software.
Before and after of the DPP window

All in all a quick easy job that was done without flash. Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to set the speed a little bit higher  :o)

Thanks for reading.

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