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Luckily for me, the Orpheum is located at one of the the public transit exit points, so getting there was a six-minute metro ride to the theater's front door. Once inside and checked in, we were escorted to a single row of chairs facing the grand stairway that leads to the balcony. When I saw this, my heart fell. The existing light was limited to a few wall sconces and a chandelier that hung from the ceiling, so the stairway was essentially a dark cave that resisted all attempts at lighting. Of course, if I had free rein to light the venue, I'd have had speedlights everywhere, but that wasn't to be the case.
Alphabetical Order By Height*: As is the custom, actors in minor roles are introduced first, just as the runner-up is introduced before First Place. As they were coming down from the balcony, the minor players were in front, and the principles far in the back. Ironically, the actors of the greatest interest were positioned farthest from the camera. Still, I was confident that no other photographers would be making a better photo, since one other photographer and I were the only ones using flash, an absolute necessity under these conditions. I made the shot standing behind the line of chairs with my back to a post. As I mentioned, the camera was in the high overhead "Hail Mary" position , with the flash on a monopod held higher still for an improved light placement.
A Twist Of The Wrist: I found this discussion in the hallway just outside the mezzanine entrance. My first shot, left, was made with the flash pointed to my left, giving me a broad-lit shot and no details in the eyes. But when I rotated the head to my right and slightly behind me, I achieved a lovely butterfly lighting on a three-quarter portrait, giving me all the detail I could possibly want.
|Final exposure adjustments made to improve on-line rendition|
Emotional Focus Again: At the very last moment, my subject leaned into the camera, effectively moving out of the plane of focus. Just check the buttons on the far lapel. But it's a wonderful photo of this Hamilton actor, and while I love the shot, I could never submit it for publication. It's probably the best image in my reject bucket.
*This is a non-sequitur teachers sometimes used on students when they were being told to queue up.
Postscript June 7, 2019. One of the photos ran in the Journal. Other photos appeared online in the SHNSF Newsletter.
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