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Old May 2, 2010, 10:55 PM   #1
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Default Hairspray

Our school's drama department produced the musical "Hairspray" this week, and since more than half the cast was in one class or another of mine, I couldn't turn down the "opportunity" to shoot it. Actually, the kids did a terrific job, but because two casts were used, I had to shoot two nights, and wound up firing more than 3K shutter actuations. Some of my favorites:





If you're familiar with the history of the play, you know that one of the lead roles is traditionally played by a man in drag. (John Travolta played the role in the movie version of the show.) We had a brave senior who stepped up to the tradition.




Our theater, lightingwise, is a barn. I shot both the K20 and the K-7. On Wednesday night, I swapped off the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, the Pentax 10-17 FE, and the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8. Friday night, I left home the Sigma and replaced it with the Pentax 50-135 f/2.87. I also added the Pentax Fa 520mm f/1.4 to the mix. With that much changing, I have no idea which lens took which shot, but I can say that the most dependable pairing was the K20 with either the Tamron 28-75 or the Pentax 28-75. The K-7 focused much faster, but colors weren't as consistent in the changing, but always sparse, light.

I wound up shooting in the ISO 2500-4000 range and then using Noiseware batch noise processing, simply because the light was so low. A few others....







Have to tell this one.....it, at least, made me feel good. I showed up very early for opening night Wednesday to get my seat and fully set up before anyone else showed up and got in the way. When I walked through the back door of the theatre....the girl playing the lead...shouted...."It's Mr. Logan and he's got his camera!" I actually got an ovation from the cast.....lol.

Paul
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Old May 3, 2010, 1:06 AM   #2
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Hi Paul,

Looks like the students will be very grateful for the work you've done recording their performances, and they should be -- these look great, and I would never had guessed that high an ISO setting was used -- but there's no obvious motion blur, so it makes sense. It sounds like it was a pretty frantic couple of days with two cams, a bunch of different FLs, 3K images, and then the PP.

Very impressive, especially since you could not know the conditions and had to experiment -- I'm exhausted even thinking about the prospect of a project of this magnitude.

They are very lucky to have you, and it must have been a great experience.

Scott
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Old May 3, 2010, 1:10 AM   #3
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Some really great shots in there Paul ... sounds like you also had fun

I bet they will be clamouring for copies once you show them the proofs.

I take it you shot in Jpeg rather than Raw and then apply standard processing ?
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Old May 3, 2010, 1:48 AM   #4
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What were the ranges you found yourself using allot? Very nice job, those are very tough shooting environments, but when you nail the exposure it is fantastic contrast. I love low light shooting, it is really fun.

I presume no flash, all fast glass and high iso?
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Old May 3, 2010, 5:11 AM   #5
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3000 images!

That's some huge amount of PP, even just looking and deciding "Nope!"

Tremendous photos under difficult conditions. Seeing what can be achieved with a high ISO really make me want to upgrade the GX-10. Only problem is that a new camera (with decent glass) isn't that high on the priority list. But once I win the lottery ...


BTW you said "I also added the Pentax Fa 520mm f/1.4 to the mix" and I thought, that must be one hell of an expensive lens :-)
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Old May 3, 2010, 7:57 AM   #6
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3000 is a bit much but ... the results you show here are great.

I guess you'll be asked for the next show

Ronny
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Old May 3, 2010, 9:50 AM   #7
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Very nice shots - I can't imagine trying to shoot a play with two cameras and a bunch of lenses (well, yes I can as I do that sometimes shooting landscape, but that's a leasurely pasttime, not at all like trying to photograph a live performance!). When is the school going to make you the official unofficial photographer? They should.
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Old May 3, 2010, 5:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trojansoc View Post

When I walked through the back door of the theatre....the girl playing the lead...shouted...."It's Mr. Logan and he's got his camera!" I actually got an ovation from the cast.....lol.

Paul
And you deserved it! Great series and professionally done.

Jim
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Old May 3, 2010, 8:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shoturtle View Post
What were the ranges you found yourself using allot? Very nice job, those are very tough shooting environments, but when you nail the exposure it is fantastic contrast. I love low light shooting, it is really fun.

I presume no flash, all fast glass and high iso?
You presume correctly about fast glass and high ISO. After your question, I went back and reviewed my EXIF's to see what I actually used. I was a little surprised; most of the time with the Tamron 28-75, I was on the wide side with a very high percentage at 28mm, and the vast majority were between 28mm and 50mm. That lens was on the K20 on Wednesday night. On the K-7, with the Sigma 70-200 f/2.8, most of the shots were in the 100-135mm range, but the 200mm was nice for zoomed-in closeups.

I don't think anyone would be surprised to note that my overall sharpest shots came with the FA 50mm (yes, 50mm, not 520, the second time I've done that). Were I to shoot the play again, though, I would probably go the way I did on the first night with the Tamron and the Sigma, then using the fisheye for some specialty shots.

If anyone is interested in seeing more of my 237 "keepers," can go to the website below:

http://www.loganactionphotos.com/Sch...52044722_JGzTN

Some of the shots are not really keepers, but I tried to get at least a couple of shots of each kid in the show. Sometimes that meant accepting a shot that wasn't really up to my standards.

Paul
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Old May 3, 2010, 9:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Very nice shots - I can't imagine trying to shoot a play with two cameras and a bunch of lenses (well, yes I can as I do that sometimes shooting landscape, but that's a leasurely pasttime, not at all like trying to photograph a live performance!). When is the school going to make you the official unofficial photographer? They should.
Touchy subject. The football team and cheerleaders hired me to do their individual and group photos last fall because I did better work than the "professional" who had been doing them and, because I used web-based ordering, saved the kids lots of money. The "professional" filed a complaint of a violation of the state Code of Ethics for Educators against me, and the school sided with the "professional," since he also did the school pictures K-12. Of course, when the president of the school board was refereeing our school's football games....or when the assistant principal was operating his bar-b-q business from the school, actually using the school's phone number as his business phone....those weren't violations. All a case of who you know, or are related to.

Bottom line is that the school loves me to photograph for free, but they forbid me from doing anything involving our students for pay. As a result, I generally no longer bring my cameras anywhere near a school event, but I have trouble saying "no" when the kids ask me to take their picture. And, on this play, more than half the kids involved were ones I have in class.

So I do it.....even if it cuts my own throat commercially......they're my kids

Paul

P.S.....any of your schools need an experienced AP English, History, or Psychology teacher who also loves photography?
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