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Thread: Pow wow

  1. #1
    jjbacoomba's Avatar
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    Joe

    Pow wow

    Hi everybody. Would like some suggestions on which lens might be better to use to shoot a POW WOW.I have been to a few before but his will be my first time shooting one. I love the colors of the costumes and the dancers.
    These are my lenses,
    1. Pentax 18 - 55 mm 3.5-5.6 kit lens
    2. Pentax smc A-f/1.4 lens. This is an old lens and as far as I know the focal length is 75mm.
    3. Sigma Zoom 18 - 200mm 3.5-6.3
    I do love shooting manual, but wonder if I should switch to aperture or shutter priority for this type of shooting. Thanks for any suggestions. Rock on! Joe

  2. #2
    Snarkbyte's Avatar
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    Al

    Re: Pow wow

    I'm not really familiar with any of the lenses you listed, but assuming it delivers good image quality, I'd go with the Sigma 18-200mm. The longer lens will allow you to isolate the subject better, and the zoom will certainly give you more options for shooting position. Pow Wow costumes are all very colorful and elaborate, and your subject will be lost in a sea of elaborate costumes if you can't isolate them in the frame. You can also help isolate the subject by shooting from a slightly elevated position, if possible (possibly from the stands?). Be prepared to do some cropping in PP... this is an enviroment rich in distracting elements, and I suspect most of your shots will include things that are best omitted. Of course, some wider shots from the opening procession can be good, too. I'm sure you've given some thought to the possibility of a tripod or monopod, especially if the lens isn't stabilized. Personally, I'd go with a monopod unless you know your shooting position is well isolated from everyone else... a tripod is just asking for trouble in the midst of a crowd (assuming it's allowed at all).

    I'm assuming this event will be outdoors, in which case I would opt for either manual or aperature priority. If the light is even and reliable, manual is great, but variable light from passing clouds could alter exposure at inconvenient moments, and when you're focused on the subject, you might not notice the cloud approaching... so aperture priority is the safest option. Just my 2 cents, and I hope it helps. Have fun and post some results!

  3. #3
    tbob's Avatar
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    Trevor Reeves

    Re: Pow wow

    My opinion slightly contradicts Al's; which is why they are called opinions not facts.

    I agree on the long lens. Unless you can get really close. You need to isolate and fill the frame with the person; absolutely essential.

    Tripod/monopod ditto especially if you plan to shoot with motion swirl. Not so important if following my next advice

    Where I disagree is aperture versus shutter. I would be shooting at a minimum of 1/250. My preference is for sharp non blurred images of the costumes and dancers. You need to be at least that fast to freeze motion and probably faster if they are twirling. Unless you want the swirl then slow is better.

    I would try as hard as you can to get at ground level and shoot from a low angle; sitting down cross legged. I find the low angle more flattering to the subject as it makes them taller and the faces are less compressed'

    Have a great time

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Richard

    Can't see the forest for the trees...

    "Can't see the forest for the trees" is a very common saying and rings true when shooting in crowds of people.

    IMO, you need to decide for each shot whether you want to shoot an overall of the crowd or isolate some individuals or an individual as your subject.

    Often, I see images posted that neither isolate individuals nor have the group as their subject. I call these "tween" images and usually they are not very good.

    Shooting the group, often requires a wide lens but, often isolating individuals requires a longer focal length shooting at a relatively wide aperture.

    One of the problems with many variable focal length lenses is that the aperture gets smaller as the focal length is increased. This often somewhat negates the ability to isolate subjects with selective focus because while the DOF gets shorter as you zoom in, that is compromised by the increased DOF due to the smaller f/stop.

    Watching backgrounds and shooting close to people for head and shoulder portraits will often provide spearation.

  5. #5
    jjbacoomba's Avatar
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    Joe

    Re: Can't see the forest for the trees...

    Thanks Al, Trevor and Richard. Just reading these 3 posts, I have learned even more. I am a beginner and I love this new hobby of mine. I will take what you guys gave me and put it to good use. I dont have a monopod , but I do have a tripod. I will take it and hope they allow them on the grounds. Cant wait to see the costumes and the dancers. I will post photos when I return. Thanks again. Joe

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