Posts Tagged ‘low light’

It was my ultimate pleasure to be able to photograph pool players in action last weekend. Atlantic City, NJ was the host location for the APA South Jersey annual LTC (Cities) tournament. This is the qualifier for teams to play in the nationals in Las Vegas.

However, I am also a player so it was difficult to do both. Fatigue and concentration not withstanding. I needed to clone myself to be in more than one place at a time and grow another pair of arms.

As far as technique is concerned, you need to shoot with wide open aperture and without a flash. A flash would be very distracting in this situation.  I also used a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Why? To remain unobtrusive to the player(s). A longer lens will allow you to photograph from a distance and not be in someone’s face. Most of the players had no idea that I had taken their image as they were playing. In using a longer lens, you would need to get your shutter speeds up or you might get camera shake and blurry images, so boost your ISO (the D700 is a low light champ for this) to get decent shutter speeds. Since the tournament area is pretty crowded, a wide open aperture lets more light in as well as blurring out some of the distracting background.

The tournament area was fairly dark, primarily lit by standard light fixtures over the tables. This is often a photographer’s worst nightmare when you can’t add in artificial light.  I decided that I would use it to my advantage because the light cast was more dramatic and not flat. I needed to combine my field of view with timing so that what little light provided would enhance the look and feel. The only issue I encountered was when people wore a lot of white and were directly under a light. Lightroom post processing with the Recovery slider took care of most of it. I burned the rest where needed.

Tricky but in the end, it was worth it for images that pop. I’m not going to Vegas, but I did get my shots.


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Just finished up shooting a local production of Guys & Dolls. The acting was great and singing amazing. It is my favorite musical so I do know how it should sound.

Shooting under these kinds of conditions is difficult. It’s low light with fast motion. Flash is normally prohibited so you’ve got to use settings that allow you to get the capture since you cannot add in light from an external source.  That translates into shooting wide open with an aperture of f/2.8 or larger using a fast lens. It also means boosting your light sensitivity or ISO up to bring up your shutter speeds. A longer lens is also needed so stabilization to avoid camera shake means Image Stabilization or VR in Nikon speak for Vibration Reduction. A 70-200mm f/2.8 was used since it is less intrusive in working distance.

Here’s a shot from the Rockin’ the Boat scene. Congratulations to all the actors for an amazing performance.

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