Steven Brokaw Photography

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Sitting on the sidewalk watching the crowd walk by
Another after dark street photoshoot.  This time I went out the night before the 2012 Indianapolis 500 along Georgetown Road.  I knew from previous year’s shoots this setting was going to be street photographer friendly.  Lots of alcohol loosened people, mixed lighting, loads of people in every stage of dress.  You guessed it, another perfect shooting opportunity.  Also from previous years I knew it was best to go light weight.  For this reason I simply took my Nikon D300s camera and my AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8mm lens.  I also took a Nikon SB-600 speedlight, but never broke it out.

All shots were done in Aperture priority.  I set my ISO to 1600 and f/stop between f/1.8 through f/5.6.  I tried to keep my aperture as tight as possible to get reasonable depth of field.  Shutter speed normally ended up around 1/50, but whenever it got slower than 1/50 I cranked the ISO up to 3200.  I wasn’t too worried about noise due to the high ISO because I was going to convert all images to B&W.

Way too much to drink !! Unable to get up
This setup was solid for street photography.  It was low profile and pretty speedy.  The only challenge was that on occasions I had problems focusing due to the extreme darkness in some areas.  No problems I just switched to manual focus.  

So with my camera kit all ready to go I arrived around 10pm, but the area was HOPPING!  I simply joined the crowd of people walking up and down Georgetown Road.  Occasionally I would walk over to the sidewalk and stop to shoot as people walked by.  It was a great photographic environment as everyone appeared to be having a great time.  

Loads of people enjoying the after dark atmosphere
After action report:

·         If you are going to shoot in an environment like this pack light. I’d learned from previous shoots that too much kit was just going to sit on my back.  Way too many people for a tripod also.

·         Bring your fastest lens.  I took my 35mm, but probably should have also brought along my AF-S 50mm F/1.4G.  Even though this would take tighter shots of the crowd the additional aperture stop would have been supremo in this lighting situation.

·         As I’ve said previously, don’t be afraid to go up and ask people if you can shoot their picture.  In a night like this, it’s really no problem.

·         Balance your shutter speed with your ISO.  Keep your shutter speed up above 1/50 if at all possible which means sacrificing ISO if you want to keep your aperture as high as possible to maximize your DOF.  I sacrificed ISO on this shoot to keep my aperture at F/5.6 and my shutter speed at 1/50 or higher.

Before & After

Mystery Man