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Justin Hancock Mar 19, 2006 2:03 PM

I'm going to a concert tonight (Trace Adkins) and I'll be taking my point-and-shoot Canon Powershot A520 with me. Any tips for obtaining a couple decent shots? I'll probably be about 30 feet from the stage, either on the floor or on a second floor railing. For pictures, the second floor railing would be better but placement depends on how early we get there.

As far as shooting modes, probably use the Scene mode and Indoors or Night scene?

scoundrel1728 Mar 23, 2006 12:38 AM

Probably too late to help with this concert, but perhaps this may help someone else.

[Added] The project you have set for yourself of shooting a concert with your camera would challenge even an experience photographer. Scene modes are generally for typical subjects under some kind of typical conditions. The conditions you will be shooting under are far from typical. If you must use a scene mode, sports mode is probably closest to the kind of shooting you will be doing. [End addition]

People often underestimate distances in large rooms like theaters and sports stadiums. Thirty feet back from the front of the stage would be something like 7-9 rows, assuming that something like an orchestra pit isn't between the first row and the stage.

Don't even think about using the on-board flash. The performers onstage will be well out of effective range; you will only succeed in annoying the surrounding audience. An external flash might be strong enough to light up the stage but the more powerful flash will also annoy correspondingly more people.

A better approach would be to bring along a monopod and shoot with available light. You won't be able to get decent handheld shots at the shutter speeds and zoom settings you will be using. Unfortunately, the A520 loses a lot of light gathering ability when zoomed in to nearly full telephoto, so you will be living with exposures on the order of 1/15 second even with a reasonably brightly lit stage and the ISO set to 200. This won't be very good at stopping action on the stage, but that may be a blessing in disguise. As long as the faces are reasonably sharp, the viewers will tolerate blurred hands, bodies, and instruments. The blur may actually add to the feeling of motion and excitement if you are lucky.

Also, take lots of pictures and expect a lot to be spoiled by motion blur. It can help greatly if you have mastered the half-press and can shoot during natural pauses in the action, e.g., when the body has momentarily stopped and is starting to move in the opposite direction or when the hand is poised and just beginning its strum across the guitar.

bernabeu Mar 23, 2006 1:27 PM

iso 200

1/125 sec at f2.8

adjust as needed

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