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Old Aug 9, 2009, 12:01 PM   #1
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Default Shooting Nightmare....

Ok. Maybe more of a nightmare in my mind!

I went to a bodybuilding competition that my friend was in this weekend and I have to say that what could go wrong went wrong!

First of all we thought we would have seats closer to the stage and ended up having to sit in the balcony. Second there was no flash photography allowed. My flash would have been obsolete yet I thought I could use others to my advantage! So anyways, I was testing shots until she got on stage and my batteries start to die. I'm using the K2000 which has been awesome on battery life up to this point of course. I was afraid to try and change batteries b/c of how quickly the show went so I got as many pics as I could on little to no battery life!
Later I go to switch batteries and the lithium batteries I bought a long time ago would not fit my K2000 (i originally bought it for my ist DS). So I was lucky to borrow a few from someone after the show to use.
So we go to take some shots outside and the humidity overwhelms my lens so I lost some good shots to fog.
Well, the outcome is a lesson for me and although I think I did well under the circumtances I would like to hear comments on one of my photos from the competition. I was using the 200 mm kit lens at full zoom and f 4.5/iso 800 and shutter 1/250 (manual mode). Any variation other than this seem to cause too much noise.

Any suggestions on how I could have gone differently on the settings would be appreciated. Also, I know the professional photographers had close range, but how do they get great shots with little light? Is it the f- capability of the lens?

One last thing since I'm babbling. I have a Pentax AF220T hotshoe flash. I tried to take pics after the show in the lobby area. The ceilings were too high to bounce off. Should I look at getting a softbox attachment? I've seen also the Demb Flipit. Any help would be great. Thanks guys!
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Old Aug 9, 2009, 1:42 PM   #2
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Hey Maveric,
The least you could have done was invite me along!

Under the circumstances, you did pretty good. the only thing you could have done was shoot in raw, it'd give you more leeway for post possessing. I touched it up a little. I'm a long way from being one to hand out advice but, in my opinion...
For this kind of shoot, if you can't get close, you need a long fast lens.


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Old Aug 9, 2009, 2:44 PM   #3
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Sorry GW. Thought I put that invite in the mail! LOL

Yeah. I would like to get a 300 mm but again the "faster" lens would cost me too much. Wishful thinking for now!

I've never shot in RAW but will have to play around with it.

What do you think about softboxes or Demb flipit for flash attachments for high ceiling/low light events? I hate when I shoot in low lighting areas like that and have to put so much flash on the people in the shot. I've seen them use the softbox attachments at clubs with low lighting and wonder how that would work. Any suggestions?
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Old Aug 9, 2009, 6:24 PM   #4
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Tough lighting. FWIW Here's another attempt.

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Old Aug 9, 2009, 8:00 PM   #5
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Yeah, when things go wrong, they can go really, really wrong. We've all been in similar situations. A long fast lens would have helped, but as you know, plenty of other things can go wrong.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 7:21 AM   #6
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That was at f/5.6 (the widest available aperture for that lens when zoomed in much) at 1/125 second and ISO 800.

It appears to be a bit underexposed (you would have needed even slower shutter speeds for proper exposure), and you need to set your White Balance to the lighting to avoid the orange color cast. For most stage lighting, Tungsten is going to work better. I also noticed you had the Contrast setting increased in camera. That's usually a bad idea for tough lighting (because it makes the dark areas darker and the bright areas brighter, leading to blown highlights and blocked shadows).

Frankly, you need a brighter lens (a kit lens is just not going to cut it for stage lighting), making sure you're exposing the image properly (don't underexpose at higher ISO speeds).

As for your Pentax AF220T flash, it's too weak to use at those distances with a lens that dim (it's maximum range is approximately 12.8 feet at f/5.6 and ISO 100). Each time you double the ISO speed, flash range increases by 1.4x. So, even if you left the ISO speed at 800, your maximum flash range (direct flash with no diffuser), is only going to be about 35 feet at f/5.6. If you tried to bounce it (or use a diffuser), range will decrease.
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 7:52 AM   #7
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Jim,

Thank you for your suggestions. I didn't realize about the contrast setting in the camera since I'm new to the K2000 so I'll check on it. Plus the tungsten lighting (i had auto-balance).
The ISO at 800 and shutter speed was the best I could do with the lens without a tripod to stabilize it. Any further and they would have been really blurry.
I have a Tokina 80-200 mm f4.5-5.6 but didn't have it with me. Doubt it would have done much better.

As far as the flash, I was referring to using it in the lobby area with my subject directly in front of me. The lobby has high ceilings so not much to bounce off. Would a softbox be good to soften direct flash in this time of setting?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 7:59 AM   #8
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That's a very weak flash, and you'll lose a stop or two with a diffuser.

Here's a .pdf manual for it. You'd probably need to shoot at around ISO 800 to get the distances shown in the chart you'll see for ISO 100 if you're using any type of light modifier.

http://www.pentaximaging.com/files/m...220T_FLASH.pdf
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 11:04 AM   #9
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Maverick, nice to see another K2000 low light shooter. You did very well with the lens you had, with the post processing. Get the Pentax 50 1.4 for around $200. You will see a world of difference in low light. For a prime, you simply must get to an event early enough to sit at the right distance. I always stress that the quality of low light shots is directly connected to how large you are going to print. For 5x7 family prints or even 8x 10, you can get away with very high ISOs. Below are some shots from a recent shoot at a dimly lit club. The stand up shot is at ISO 3200. Just for the heck of it, I tried the Night scence mode and got the sit down shot at ISO 2500. Both were PPed for noise, curves, etc. I am not a believer in "100 percent straight out of the camera."
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Old Aug 10, 2009, 11:42 AM   #10
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Thank you JimC for the info. Gives me alittle more perspective on the use of the flash.
BTW, the camera custom image settings were set to the "bright" choice which has a higher contrast. I switched to "natural" See how that works.

pboerger,
Unfortunately it was a pay per section event and the tickets for the floor were outrageous! You have some good shots there. I was afraid to go to the 1600/3200 iso b/c of the noise but it looks like you cleaned up pretty well. What program do you use?

Thank you all as usual for the help. You guys rock!

Last edited by maverick96; Aug 10, 2009 at 11:45 AM.
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