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Thread: Show Photography

  1. #1
    Boatman's Avatar
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    Show Photography

    Last Saturday my wife and I went to see "Divas Through the Decades" at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, NH. Through the whole show I was thinking, "Whatever possessed me to NOT bring my camera to this show?" After the show I spoke with an usher about photography and she introduced me to the theater CEO. I spoke to the CEO and he invited me to come back to the Sunday matinee and shoot to my heart's content.

    Using my GH2 and two fast, old primes, I shot over 600 photos and posted roughly a hundred to Zenfolio, http://homershannon.zenfolio.com/p462790727. I shot at ISO 1600, which looks fine with Lr luminace noise reduction at 30. I was getting between 1/60 and 1/320 for shutter speed, depending upon the scene lighting. All the shots in the Zen album have some extra clarity and brightness adjustment in addition to basic cropping and sharpening.

    I'm pretty pleased with the results.

    Show Photography
    Show Photography
    Show Photography

  2. #2
    jeeperman's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    I don't think you could asked for better. Very nicely done!

  3. #3
    Jeff S's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    I agree with Paul; these came out really well. (I used to live in Bedford and remember the Palace Theatre.)

  4. #4
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    After the show I spoke with an usher about photography and she introduced me to the theater CEO. I spoke to the CEO and he invited me to come back to the Sunday matinee and shoot to my heart's content.
    Well done for doing that. It just shows - If you don't ask, you don't get. Many people would, I'm sure have shyed away from asking. And, as the others have said - Boy, did it work out really well!

  5. #5
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Excellent results all round.

    Just a small bit of trivia: when I read Palace Theatre, Manchester I immediately assumed the "original" Manchester not far from where I live, and where one of the major theatres is the Palace. Then I read the comment from someone who used to live in Bedford (also in England, of course, but at the other end of the country) and thought "strange". Then I looked back and saw the NH. Strange coincidence!

  6. #6
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Those are very nice.

  7. #7
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Solid results, Homer. Shooting live performances can be a bear, but these are crisp, sharp, and colorful. Some longer-lens work to get tighter on the performers might yield some cool results next time.

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    Re: Show Photography

    You should be VERY pleased with the results.
    Thanks for the info as to how you did it - big help.

  9. #9
    Boatman's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Thank you for your comments.

    Dave, here in New England, almost ALL our towns names have English roots. It gets a little silly.

    Lex, following the show I did a some research on a longer lens. I think an old Hexanon or Takumar 1.4/85 would fit the bill nicely with the m4/3's 2x crop factor. A little testing with my 14-140 (stabilization off) at 85mm shows that camera shake is not an issue at speeds above 1/125. (I'm pretty steady.) Unfortunately, the old 85mm fast primes are fetching well over $200 on eBay and even a new Rokinon 1.4/85, which would be excellent for this application, sells for $300. An upgrade may have to wait until I have a little more free cash or find a steal somewhere.

    The old Takumar 1.4/50 that I used is a sweet lens. I also had a 1.8/50 Nikon and and have a Hexanon 1.8/50, but neither of these focus as nicely as the Pentax. The Takumar has a much longer throw and an all metal construction. It makes fine focusing much easier. The Takumar is quite soft at f1.4 so I stopped it down 1.5EV, which is just fast enough for the lighting and very sharp if you nail the focus. There is some grain in the images, which does soften the sharpness, but I'm not going to be making posters. Sure, with another $6,000 of high-end equipment, I could get there, but as they say in racing, you gotta' run what you brung.

  10. #10
    Loose Canon's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    These look great Homer.

    If the costumes are any indication this must have been quite the production!

  11. #11
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Boatman View Post
    I could get there, but as they say in racing, you gotta' run what you brung.
    This is the least-pompous way to say "it's not the camera, it's the photographer." A 4/3rds camera with semi-vintage glass is certainly a unique choice, but it's impossible to argue with good results. Predictable subject distances and an apparently-narrow aperture must have helped, but still, wow. I like how fully manual lenses force you to think about and put effort into your aperture and focus for every single shot, though using them for action is one hell of a bold move.

  12. #12
    Boatman's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    Lex:

    While I won’t argue that you couldn't get the results I got without being a pretty good photographer, the m4/3 format with an old prime has a number of advantages for this type of work. Consider:
    - Old primes are 2-3 EV faster than most modern zooms (even stopped down a bit for clarity)
    - The 2x crop factor of a m4/3 means a fast 50mm lens is fast 100mm lens
    - Mirror-less cameras are nearly silent – something the theater manager discussed with me before allowing me to shoot as he was concerned about all the clack, clack clack you get with a true DSLR.
    - Shooting in aperture-priority (or manual-mode) with manual pre-focus cuts your shutter lag to the absolute minimum – a big help with a m4/3, probably less of an issue with a true DSLR.
    - With a constantly visible histogram right in the viewfinder, you can adjust your EV on the fly without having to turn on a screen and look at the back of the camera
    - The same thumb wheel that adjusts the EV, when depressed, turns on a 5x zoom for close focusing – with the GH2, that wheel is right under your right thumb. (and when you touch the shutter the 5x goes off)
    - The GH2 has a feature that allows you to position the zoom focus to any point within the viewing screen - it's on the fly using the touch screen, with the viewfinder you have to pre-set it, but it can be useful.
    - The viewfinder automatically gains up for low light; even with a lens wide open, I bet the electronic image in the GH2 viewfinder is way better than any optical image in low light. Put a stopped-down prime on the camera and there is no comparison.

    As for technique, I’ll pass along two things that really worked for me:
    - Focus on the performer’s feet. They move much more slowly than the arms or head but the focus is essentially the same. (That said, when the performers are moving front to back quickly, it is very difficult to get a good focused shot. Most of the action was side to side.)
    - Sing along with the music to get the timing. Do not snap the shutter based on what you are seeing as it is always about 1/10 of a second late. Shoot on the beat. That is when the dancers will pause, extend or whatever, and that is the point you want to catch. If you wait to see it, it already happened.

    Now, I need to get permission to shoot the Blues Summit coming up next month in Plymouth (ha, USA) NH.
    Last edited by Boatman; 28th February 2013 at 04:22 PM.

  13. #13
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: Show Photography

    All good points, Homer. The only thing I'd point out is that some DSLRs have access to a live histogram courtesy of Magic Lantern. But it's hard to compete with some of the other advantages. Talk about the right tool for the job.

    Your foot-focus and music-timing advice seems like excellent insight. I'll keep that in mind.

  14. #14
    Boatman's Avatar
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    Nikon f2.0/85mm

    I picked up a Nikon f2.0/85 rather cheaply on eBay recently. It was advertised 'as is' and noted a stiff focus. Following tips on several forums and videos, I managed to get the lens sufficiently disassembled to clean and lubricate the counter-clockwise focusing helical. The clockwise helical was OK, which saved me further dis-assembly of the lens.

    Itís now good to go with smooth, if slightly tight, focus action and I plan to use the lens as a medium length telephoto for in-door, low-light situations such as plays, shows and musical events.

    The key to getting the backing plate screws off was to use real JIS cross point screwdrivers and tap the screwdriver gently to fully seat the point in the screws. The screws are soft and want to strip rather than turn. Having an assistant hold the lens also helped as this allowed me to really bear down as I turned the screwdriver.

    Show Photography

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