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Thread: Circus shooting tips

  1. #1

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    Paul Matthews

    Circus shooting tips

    Im off to the circus for he first time tonight and hoping to get a few shots whilst I'm there. Everything will be freehand and was just wondering if there are any tips for shooting in a place like this? Cheers for your help

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Circus shooting tips

    Ah, sorry Paul, didn't see this until too late

    Now you can give us the tips though

    Review your images and tell us what worked and what didn't.

  3. #3

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    Re: Circus shooting tips

    Cheers Dave. No pressure then

    First of all i have to say it was an amazing show and I'm gutted that i am not a better photographer as there are chances to make some really good shots i felt.
    Anyway the lighting inside the tent (i thought) was not very good. It was very very dark and all the lights inside were either spot lights or flashing lights that you would normally see at a disco or nightclub. I have never taken dark shots and was reluctant to use my flash due to the nature of the acts that were performing and that no one else was using a camera flash.
    I would also recommend getting a good seat in the middle of the ring at about mid height of the seating tiers. We were off to the right hand side and there was a lot of rigging for things up in the tent infront of us therefore the majority of my shots were either blocked or too dark.
    I have had a little play with the images but will post them in the other sections. Generally though i was disappointed with my photography but thoroughly enjoyed the show and as i stated earlier, a more experienced photographer would have a lot more joy in there i'm sure.

  4. #4

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    Re: Circus shooting tips

    I also noticed that i couldn't have a flash and high shutter rate. my shots with the flash are 1/200 as that is the highest it would go with the flash on. is this normal?

  5. #5
    Administrator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Circus shooting tips

    Quote Originally Posted by paulm View Post
    I also noticed that i couldn't have a flash and high shutter rate. my shots with the flash are 1/200 as that is the highest it would go with the flash on. is this normal?
    This is related to your camera settings and the flash you are using. I assume that you are shooting a DSLR.

    DSLRs use a focal plane shutter and the way they work is that there are two blades. At "slow" shutter speeds one blade opens, allows light to fall on the sensor and then the second blade closes, completing the exposure. The highest speed where this occurs is referred to as the synch speed of the camera, which in your case appears to be 1/200th sec. To get exposures that are shorter than this the second blade starts closing down before the first blade has stopped travelling, and you essentially get a slit moving across the sensor.

    Traditional flashes fire for a very short duration (typically at less than 1/1000th sec), so the only way you can get a flash exposure is to have the flash fire when the shutter is fully open. The electronics in your camera will prevent you from selecting a shutter speed higher than the synch speed, when you shoot this way.

    There is of course a bit of a caveat around all this. If your camera and flash have the capability (and you have made the appropriate selections in your camera settings), there is a high-speed synch mode and any shutter speed, even above the camera sych speed can be used. In this case, the flash is fired so rapidly that the light appears to be continuously on during even the fastest shutter speeds. On my camera, the synch speed is 1/250th sec, and if I use the built-in flash, this can go up to 1/320th sec, and with an appropriate external flash, I can use flash at up to 1/8000th sec. The downside is that the flash does put out less light (I estimate around 1 stop) and I can't use certain flash features, like rear curtain.

    So to sum up, yes this is normal camera behavior.

    On the other hand, I'm a bit surprised that photography was permitted at all, and certainly that flash photography was allowed. High ISO settings, with a fast, long lens using available light is probably a more appropriate approach.

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