I’ve shot at the Gregory HancockDance Theatre multiple times with the Indianapolis based Photo Venture CameraClub. Gregory Hancock is a great host inviting us to shoot during their dress rehearsals. Once again, low light, mixed stage lighting, striking colors & fast motion. That’s right, a photographer’s fantasy land.
I used my standard kit for this type of photoshoot, and manual mode for all camera settings. I brought the following (using everything):
· A small flashlight
· Manual cable release
· Manfrotto tripod with a trigger handled head
Because I was shooting about 12 rows back I was able to use the widest aperture on all lenses and achieve good DOF. As mentioned my camera was set on manual with white balance set at 4500 kelvin, speed at 1/160 second and f/1.4 on the 50mm or f/2.8 on the zooms. ISO was varied between 800 to 3200. ISO was the only variable all evening. All lenses are great and focus super fast even in the low light setting. That's uber.
The nice thing about this show was that it was an “Anthology” of previous shows. That meant multiple themes, multiple costumes, different music and different tempos. The hardest part of the night was during several of the sets the key light was a large spot light straight over head. Wow, it was laser beam bright. Even at 1/160 of a second at higher ISO settings on quite a few pictures the dancers were blown out. That was surprising, and once again it reminded me NOT to rely on the camera’s monitor only. If you do, zoom in regularly to check where the histogram right side spikes sit.
The shoot was about 2 hours, and I was really surprised that I took about 2,400 images. Needless to say it took hours to go through the images. It was really a fun night for photography.
After shoot comments:
· Check the histogram regularly. If you see a spike on the far right (over exposed) then check the monitor and magnify the image to see if anything important is blown out,
· Bring lots of memory cards. On a photoshoot like this you will go through them quickly since you will shoot in burst mode,
· Shoot manual ISO (or a preset). In a setting like this the light color changes regularly. With manual ISO or a preset it makes it easier to adjust white balance in post,
· Bring a small flashlight. You will need it, but cover it in your hand so you don’t wreck your night vision or affect others around you.