September 20, 2014, 12:12:12 AM

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Messages - ahsanford

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31
Cameras & Lenses: Always two bodies.... .... Speedlight 600ex-rt on each camera

Two cameras with speedlights attached hanging from straps, in a crowd of kids/parents?

That sounds like a good way to get equipment busted.   One bad bump and one of those speedlights can snap off. I think that is a bit over-kill for this type of shoot. Especially for someone doing this type of shoot for the first time.

Agreed - I'd keep one on the 5DIII and the other in a bag/pocket as a spare or for off-camera shots.  Two mounted flashes are too easy to bump into each other, crowd or not.

I don't even own two speedlites.  #naturallightshooter

- A

33
Awesome feedback everyone.  Please understand I'm not frantic at all about this event --  That's just how I ask questions and learn.   I'm a 'hyper-questioner' who nibbles at a bigger question with many little ones.  Your feedback is stellar.  (I'm actually quite calm about the event, believe it or not.)

Individual responses:

Rusty -- yes, getting close to the kids in interactive moments with games/displays on the 16mm end seemed a natural choice.  16mm is as wide as I go, so that will have to do.  100% agreement on the sto-fen indoor/outdoor positions.  I'm still on the fence with two cameras as the T1i will be fairly useless for ambient light indoors (even ISO 1600 is a challenge on that rig).  I'm leaning towards just the 5D3 with the 24-70 and the 16-35 as option #2 as needed. 

Wickidwombat -- I presume your +/- rule on bright/dark backgrounds for FEC is tied to Evaluative Metering?  I assume that switching to Spot Metering would limit how often I need to compensate, right?  (Side question -- at events, for those that use Av or Tv, what metering modes do you use?)

Many folks who recommended the 70-200 -- I love the isolation that lens gives me, and I appreciate the value it has for candids, but I'm not sure I'll have the room to use it in the venue (which, other than a long and narrow atrium, is quite cramped).  I feel like the 16-35 will get much more use, and not bringing the 70-200 will do my back a favor over the course of the day.

- A

34
general rules for dialling in Flash exposure compensation in ETTL

if the background is brighter than the subject dial in + EC the amount depends on how much brighter the background is so you need a bit of trial and error start at +1 and work from that.
this is out doors bright sun etc

if the background is darker than the subject dial in - EC same as about the amount depends on how much darker the back ground is again start at -1
this is indoors in shade at night etc

don't leave the flash just in ETTL it will rarely balance correctly you need to practice balancing the ambient exposure with the flash exposure.

another general rule is expose for the background and use the flash EC to correct the exposure of the subject

hope that helps a bit

It does, but I have a jillion flash questions.

Without a flash, I am predominantly an aperture priority guy.  With a flash, I keep hearing two schools of thought on flash settings when you don't have time to dial everything in:

  • Rookie mode:  Stick with whatever mode you usually use without a flash, use your knowledge of that mode to nail the ambient and heavily rely on tweaking FEC as you go.

  • Let's get braver mode:  Switch to M, guess/practice at average starting settings (before the shoot), say ISO 200, F/6.3, Shutter 1/80s, and then tweak as needed throughout the event, using the rule that shutter affects ambient exposure and aperture affects flash exposure.  If either aperture or shutter are getting forced into values you that are problematic (shutter too slow to hold, shutter too fast for sync, or an aperture that is composition unfriendly to keep shutter where you want it, etc.), tweak your ISO to bring you back into settings that give you elbow room either way for flash and ambient exposure.

  • Jedi Event Master Flash mode:  Bend the spoon with your mind.  Just instinctively know what to do.

The concern with events is uneven lighting, which makes locking in 'you're good, just shoot' settings next to impossible.  Can someone give me a simple algorithm for managing this?

Also, I understand the hit to power by using HSS, but sometimes you have to use it, right?

- A

35
EOS Bodies / Re: A Rundown of Canon at Photokina
« on: September 04, 2014, 10:46:43 PM »
Here's hoping these are not the actual specs for the 7DII I was hoping to put this body in my bag as a second camera.

I'll be interested if it turns out to be a mini 1Dx

That's been the $64,000 question for the last year.  Is this going to be a $1500-1700 camera many expect it to be or is it going to be some crop pro beast for wildlife and birding for north of $2k?  Is Canon going to make a top of the line 'reach camera'?

The sensor, the focusing system, the burst rate / buffer size and build quality will determine that.  If you believe the current CR specs, the burst rate and AF system, F/8 on the center, etc. would imply this will be a very high end rig.  But a pop-up flash does not scream 'built for the tundra'.  And we know next to nothing about the sensor.

So the jury is still out in my book.

- A

36
Lenses / Re: I'm terrified of my EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
« on: September 04, 2014, 07:19:00 PM »
For the OP:

Some folks (like me) have a lot of faith in the BR threaded knob that comes on their straps.  So I comfortably trust that threaded knob to stay well fixed on my 5D3 threaded hole with the 70-200 attached.

Others want added security, and have opted to leave a tripod plate on their camera at all times.  They then epoxy that BR threaded knob directly to a clamp that locks on to the tripod plate.  This guy runs through what that looks like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWes5KE3QZI

This is nice if you worry about unthreading and/or if you prefer to leave a tripod plate on your camera.

But I trust the knob without all that fuss.  Keep in mind that my biggest lens is that 70-200 and I am not a photojournalist jumping out of a humvee with the army in Afghanistan.  Bigger lenses or more rough handling of your camera could conceivably unthread that BR threaded knob, so use your best judgment on how much extra security you need.

- A

37
Lenses / "Confirmed" -- Zeiss Otus 85mm F/1.4 at Photokina
« on: September 04, 2014, 09:51:13 AM »
Photo Rumors: new Zeiss 85 Otus is "confirmed" for Photokina:

http://photorumors.com/2014/09/04/confirmed-new-zeiss-otus-851-4-and-distagon-351-4-zm-lenses-to-be-announced/

(These guys usually have pictures when they confirm things.  Not this time, though.)

- A

38
Lenses / Re: I'm terrified of my EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS II
« on: September 04, 2014, 01:16:12 AM »
I just got it yesterday.  It's a beast!  Right after I unboxed it, it drop kicked one of my cats and ate the other!   :-\

Kidding aside, I really am scared of it.  It's so unbelievably heavy for its size.  Can my 5D3 handle that kind of weight?  I'm supporting it with one hand while shooting (obviously while not on a tripod), but when I let the neck strap support the camera and lens while I need both hands free I worry about it bending the lens mount or breaking the lens mount.

How strong is the mount on my camera?  Can it handle this heavy lens?
Congrats,
you'll be amazed with the performance of this combo ( I have it!). Get a BlackRapid or similar strap with a tripod socket mount. I have another brand strap by customzied using a tripod quick plate with blackrapid connector. If you use the standard camera strap hang the camera on one shoulder, not around the neck.

+1 on the BR strap with the 70-200.  That's my longest and heaviest lens and I have no concerns about the BR threaded knob backing out. 

Many thread the BR knob into the 70-200 tripod collar, but I usually pull the collar so that the lens slides into a 'normal' 77mm hole in my tenba insert + satchel bag combo.  If you load a collared 70-200 into a satchel vertically, the collar always fights with the insert and you end up having to rearrange your dividers.  So unless I am doing tripod/monopod work, I lose the collar and just thread the BR threaded knob into my 5D3's threaded hole.  It's not quite as well balanced as if you thread into the tripod collar, but it's still worlds more comfortable to carry than a traditional camera strap.

An added benefit of the BR strap (and many other tripod mount attached straps) is that it gets completely out of the way in a jiffy when you need to move to a tripod.  I always hated how traditional straps (fed through the camera body's eyelets) would always get in the way of my tripod setup and shutter release cable.  Now it's 1) unthread the BR strap, 2) screw in my RRS L-plate, and 3) I'm in business.

- A

39
My advice is to bring the 5D3 with the 24-70 f4 and the 70-200 f2.8 -- and that's it.  You have to decide if the venue will be suitable for the 70-200 -- will you have room to roam a bit or will you always be close to the group?

I don't have a schedule of activities yet, but I presume it will be a balance of some scripted/scheduled activities and some meander-y walkabout time.

- A

40
.

3. Limit the number of shots you take -- I'd say don't take more than 200 all day. If they are well thought out and well executed, you'll save yourself a lot of time in post process. You do not have to shoot pictures of everyone there or of everything that happens. They seemed to have asked for a representational sample that will show what the event looked like. No one will look at more than a couple dozen pictures of the event, no matter how invested or interested. I wouldn't give them more than 50 finished pictures, at most.

I tend to shoot more and be selective before PP.

This is to one's taste, but I agree with Dylan.  I shoot JPG+RAW, I shoot more than I need, I use the JPGs to rate shots and only PP the keepers in RAW.  Speed on the front end and power on the back end -- that combination has served me well.

I agree with distant.star's take on limiting the number of finished pictures.  Hell, I'm doing this for free!  :P

- A

41
.
A few thoughts. Advice, for what it's worth...

...

Again, enjoy yourself. Relax. They didn't expect to have a photographer to begin with!

I continue to be amazed at the thoughtfulness folks put into their posts.  That is stellar guidance.   Deeply appreciated.

- A

42
All good advice, especially having 2 bodies, but I fear f/4 won't be enough indoors, at least without flash.  Even f/2.8 is nearly useless indoors if there's low light.  I'm assuming you don't have any fast primes, so be sure to bring several sets of spare batteries for the flash (at least 3-4, but maybe more).  You'll burn through them in no time (especially with the Stofen) and don't want to be without them.  Be sure to set your flash sync to "1/60-1/200s" or you'll get nothing but blurry shots in Av mode as it will expose for the ambient.  Switch to P mode (no shame in doing so) if you get rushed and shots are looking blurry.   Also, try to use ISO 400 or 800 with the flash to extend battery life and get better coverage of the ambient.  Take multiple photos (at least 3) for group shots.  Someone ALWAYS has their eyes closed or is looking at another camera.

Leave the 70-200 F/2.8L IS II in the car.  It will still be close enough for you or someone else to retrieve if you really need it, but I doubt you'll use it and it's a bear to carry all day.  The only exception is if you'll be doing any kind of head shots or individual portraits. 

And YES, definitely take a gray card or white card.  You'll have awful mixed lighting and will have a tough time with white balance if you don't have at least a handful of reference shots with the cards in them.  Better yet, set a custom WB, but you may not have time to do that, and if you forget to switch it back, it'll tick you off badly.

Also, and trust me on this one, make sure both of your camera clocks are synchronized.  Use EOS Utility and sync to the computer time, ideally.  I have made that mistake before and unless you have PhotoMechanic or other tools, it's a major PITA to fix.

Finally, wear comfortable shoes and bring a comfortable backpack, bag, or vest, if you have one.  Nothing says I'm a pro like a vest, too :)  Good luck and have fun!

Excellent guidance, thank you.  I have amassed phone and SLR shots from vacations only to find a time shift that is a huge PITA to manage after the fact.

- A

43
ahsanford,

be aware of using CPL with people dude...

it also removes reflections on people's eyes and you end up with dead fish looking eyes.

would be very usefull recreating some sort of zombie costume shot

Agreed.  I also hate how CPLs make the shadows on faces much harsher.  I'd only use a CPL in a shot with people in it if I had a glaring sky/reflection in the background that I couldn't frame out.  But knowing how much is going on indoors at this event, I'll probably be shooting with the UV on all day.

- A

44
Sounds to me like you just got suckered into working for free. Sry if you think this sounds harsh....

Not harsh at all, but I really don't mind giving my services away in this capacity -- I was volunteering my time already. 

But I will not risk my gear and I won't abide by an angry parent without the event host having an iron-clad 'here's what we'll use these pictures for' statement in my hand.  I shot a friend's daughter's soccer game and a number of parents gave me the stink-eye.  Though none of them confronted me, it was clear they were very uncomfortable with anyone other than a parent taking pictures.

- A

45
Having 2 bodies for event is huge plus.

All I can think of 2 bodies with 24-70 and 70-200. Maybe 1.4x tc attachs to 70-200 for extra reach when you out door.

Best wishes and be safe

Thanks! 

I have an old T1i.  I could leave the 16-35 on the FF rig and put the 24-70 on the T1i for an equivalent 38-112.  But I don't have two flashes (the T1i pop-up is wretched) and the T1i would be 100% relegated to outdoor work.

Knowing all that it, should I bring it or leave it? 

- A
Since this is unpaid gig...I would bring it for outdoor. I shoot with 2470 and 70200mm a lot. If I'm you, I'll put 70200 on crop for outdoor. Although I do not own t1i...I'm assuming the iq shouldn't be a problem for outdoor. Especially with 70200.

It's absolutely fine in daylight.  And it's small to pack.  I'll bring it.

- A

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