The New Manual DSLR Project

Hi, and welcome to my blog. The Manual DSLR Project was started March 30, 2010 with the intent of devoting one year to learning how to use my Nikon D300 in manual mode. I invited you to join me as I took this journey. You celebrated with me as my fingers began to remember which wheel adjusts the shutter speed and which controls the aperture settings. I was brutally honest in sharing my mistakes.

A year passed quickly...and I achieved my goal of demystifying the manual operation of my camera.

While the Manual DSLR Project was intended to be bound by time (one year), I am eager to keep the conversation going. So look for additional posts on anything related to photography. And interact. Let me know if you are reading the blog and find it useful.

All the best...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Using Someone Else's Lighting: Shooting a Theatrical Production

In the last posting, I discussed natural lighting and how to use the light you have to produce the best results. That same day I had shot a The Prince & the Pauper, produced by Blackberry Little Theater in Fort Payne, Alabama. That will be the subject of this post.

I have shot other plays before, both live as they were happening and in a series of staged shots that the director wanted photos of. The latter is, of course, easier. But shooting a play as it happens is always interesting. The main disadvantage is that you don't have an opportunity to move to various locations as you shoot.

My first suggestion is that you see the play before you shoot it. Since our youngest son was in the play, we had the opportunity to see it before I shot it. I decided to shoot the Saturday matinee and opted to shoot from the balcony to assure that I didn't disturb others. Be sure you obtain permission from management in advance, so that you don't break any theater rules.

Second, you should select the right lens. I used a Nikon 80-200 f2.8 to shoot the entire play. If I owned a 24-70 f2.8, I would have used it. But alas, I have not bitten the $2000 bullet yet. Even so, the 24-70 2.8 is very high on my wish list. While the 80-200 was good for some of the close-up shots, a shorter lens would have been handy as well. As is always a good idea in photography, use what you have in your bag to get the job done.

Now for the camera settings...I set the ISO on my Nikon D300 at 3200, to take advantage of the low light performance of the body. Using Shutter Priority, I set the shutter speed at 1/250 sec, which is the slowest speed with which I thought I could handhold this lens. Here are a few of the results.

This shoot yielded 269 useable, non-duplicated images.

I had intended to post a great deal more by now. However, we have been knee deep in tornado relief work, so this project has been pushed to the back burner. As the summer is almost over, I expect that our teams and work will decline and I'll have more time to work on this blog.

Thanks for reading. I always enjoy your comments.

All the best... Mike