This was the 4th year I’ve gone to Oranje in Indianapolis to photograph the event. Oranje is advertised as “an interactive experience of art & music”. You know what, it is! There’s art, different genres of music, colors, sounds, lights, dark, pretty people, motion, etc. You guessed it, a photo rich environment. Challenging photo conditions, but that’s what I like about Oranje. Also from a photographic standpoint, it’s very interactive. You can mix with the participants, get amongst the dancers, photograph from the stages, and talk to the artist.
As mentioned I’ve done this before, so I knew what to expect and how to kit out. The big difference in 2012 was Oranje was at the Indiana State Fair Ground in one of the big buildings versus the abandoned building used the past few years. Structurally, and from parking standpoint it was a much better venue. But it had a really different vibe. It seemed more compact, but honestly I think it probably had more space.
Knowing there was going to be lots of people, lots of motion and extremely low light I brought a simple kit. It consisted of:
· Nikon SB-600 speedlight w/ generic domed diffuser
· 2 extra sets of Sanyo eneloop rechargeable batteries
· Earplugs (believe me, these are VERY useful at an event like this)
Out in my car I also had an AF-SNikkor 50mm f/1.4G & my AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, but I didn’t use them. I wanted to stay wide & fast (OK, take your mind out of the gutter).
Anyway, with kit in hand I proceeded to spend about 5 hours walking around the venue listening to & photographing the various music acts, watching the graffiti artists, looking at art, chatting up some of the artist, talking with some friends I ran into, and going overload on the photography. This was another 1000+ photo night. The nice thing about the evening, and like other times I’ve gone to Oranje is that no one seems to mind if I photographed from every angle and position. I photographed from the music stages, amongst the dancers, in the Ketel One club, outside, in the tents, and around the art. Everyone was cool. It was great.
All non-flash photographs were shot with manual mode. ISO was cranked up between 1600-3200, Aperture was almost always set at f/1.8 sometimes up to f/4. Speed was typically at 1/100 or sometimes a bit slower. I wanted to balance between enough speed to avoid too much motion blur and minimize noise. It was a challenging, but I always sacrificed ISO for speed.
It was a fun night and I ended up with lots of photos.
After action report:
· Seriously, if you are a photographer and visit a venue like this bring earplugs. You can thank me later,
· Travel light. This is no place for a backpack, or sling bag. You will be bumping people constantly. Bring a fast zoom or like I did a fast wide prime.
· Get close. At events like this I’ve found that people don’t mind having their photograph taken. I tended to take most of the photos of people no more than 2-3 feet away.
· Bring plenty of batteries for your speedlight. Flash was no problem at a venue like this. I took possibly ½ my images with flash and it would stink if my batteries ran out.