I was at the Soul Stroll, a fitness awareness event in San Mateo. The featured guest was Laila Ali, the daughter of boxer Mohammed Ali and a world class boxer in her own right. My take on the assignment was simple enough: Show Ms. Ali interacting with the crowd. How I did it was up to me.
Since this was an outdoor assignment, I packed my "outdoor" camera kit: 2 Nikon D70 bodies, along with a Tamron 10-24, Tamron 28-75 2.8, and a 70-300 Nikkor. Since weight is a factor, I don't carry constant aperture lenses except for the 28-75, which is light enough to justify its inclusion in my bag. There is my usual single SB-800 speedlight, but I added a second flash, a LumoPro LP 180 complete with a Chinese knockoff battery pack. I chose it instead of another SB-800 because its rudimentary mounting foot lacks the "flash present" contact, allowing it to sync at all speeds in the D70. The LumoPro LP will also work with Canon cameras, and safely too. By attaching the supplementary battery pack (it holds 8 AA batteries) the combination has a very fast recycle time. It has neither iTTL nor non-TTL aperture exposure automation, but if one can maintain a consistent camera to subject distance, it isn't as much of a problem as you might think.
Shifting to a second D70 with a 28-75 2.8 Tamron allowed me to get tighter compositions by just changing cameras (Photo #2). Here, I could concentrate on expressions that might make for an interesting photo. I concentrated on this young woman, since she seemed to be enjoying herself. The light was pretty even, so I set this body to Aperture Priority and let the camera decide on the exposure, which in this case was 1/400 at an aperture setting of F 5.6. I felt comfortable with aperture priority because the sky, if it appeared in the composition, would not unduly influence the exposure and cause the foreground to be underexposed, as it sometimes happens.
The result was a fun shot, and I could have easily submitted it. Unfortunately, what it gains in spontaneity if loses in context, since there isn't anything that remotely ties it to the event. I've seen worse shots published in the Community Section of the paper, but no matter how interesting the photo, it still doesn't project the spirit of the event. This shot could have easily been improved somewhat by asking Ms. Ali to take a few steps toward the camera. I decided not to take up any more of their time, so after two quick shots, they were on their way, and so was I.