May 5 In Wooside: I took my minimalist kit to photograph two Woodside events: The Soapbox Derby, which I found by accident, and Historical Woodside Store, an annual recreation of country life in rural California during the 1880’s. Since these would be conventional assignments, it would be a good way to see if my wide angle / telephoto pairs could meet the challenge.
|ISO 200, 1/2000 second, F 8.0. Underexposed by 2 stops, corrected in post|
From my track-side vantage point, the 28mm equivalent Fuji X100 couldn't give me as wide a view as my 10-24 zoom on an X-T2 body. However, this shot shows the potential of using a flash outdoors, and while the lighting isn't particularly attractive, the driver's expression is easily seen. Unfortunately, the officials in the background are looking back at the next racer, and this detracts the viewer's attention away from racer in the foreground.
Next time, I'll keep shooting in spite of the discouraging initial efforts, and see if I can improve my timing and composition. Holding the camera in my left hand while holding the (cabled) flash in my right hand would have improved the lighting considerably.
|1/900 second, F 11.0, ISO 200, flash fill|
Godox 685 flash I brought for the occasion. Making a well-exposed photo wasn't the problem. Attempting to create a suitable composition was.
In this first sample, the overall composition was acceptable, but the photo had several shortcomings. First off, the mother and son grouping in the lower left drew the viewer's attention from the seated docent on the right. In addition, the gap between the seated children essentially cuts the image into two parts. Finally, the doll that the docent is making isn't recognizable as such, the brightness and coloration blending in with its background.
In the end, I chose to submit this image. The way the doll's garment is being held, the gaze of the docent, and the two faceless children created a better composition. I wish the docent was a little more animated, but I chose the photo's composition in favor of the expression.
|ISO 200, 1/420 second, F 4.0|
|1/390 second, F 4.0, ISO 200|
All in all, my lens choices were satisfactory, although I wish I had some zooms for the actions shots. I felt some professional pride in making do with so basic a kit, and felt my cameras were up to the assignment. I was forced to re-think the single flash concept, and I'll discuss some additions I made in my next post.
Using a flash exposure to properly balance the existing daylight allowed me to underexpose the highlights slightly to prevent them from "blocking up". As a rule of thumb, under-exposed the sunlight exposure by 1/2 of a stop, while underexposing the flash an equal amount. Since digital cameras and lenses tend to be calibrated in 1/3 stop increments (the same as the ISO settings, coincidentally), just try to keep your settings near the 1/2 stop range.
One piece of advice from the film days, underexpose transparency (slide) film to maintain saturation in the highlights. Treat your digital exposures the same way.