Finding an Xscape…

Last week was a bit of a release from the extreme workload that I’ve been having between the paper and side projects. Not that I don’t have a considerable amount of editing to do, but from time to time it is nice to have a few days that aren’t constant bombardment with emails or phone calls ranging from Photos that were needed yesterday, or Video that needs to be shot tomorrow. It’s all the life of a newspaper Photographer/Videographer and I can’t complain, so don’t think that I am. It can just get stressful at times, but in an almost masochistic way I kind of dig it too. On top of the normal load I tend do shoot things on the side of the paper as well. Weddings, Posters for Advertising, modeling comp cards, events and Videos. Between the side projects, the newspaper, and random shenanigans that I tend to find; I keep rather busy. Last weekend was no different.

(Nikon D3, 2000ISO, Nikon 70-200mmF2.8VR@130mm F2.8, 1/60th. I was standing in a 1 foot space against the wall at turn 1 of the track, my assistant Mike was standing on the pitt wall with a single SB-900 zoomed to 50mm, which was fired by my SU-800 Commander unit on Camera.)

That’s a shot from the Xscape on 38th Street in Lafayete Square mall. I’ve shot some things for them in the past, and they asked me to come back and snap a few last weekend. It wasn’t a commercial style shoot, as much as an event style. Either way, shooting in a place like this presents several technical challenges to photographers that quite honestly can cause nightmares for many (especially myself). Being as that this was an event style shoot I was pushing my Nikon equipment to the max, trying to get some dynamic shots at a reasonable printable quality. This will be one of the few posts where my Shooting info is at 1600iso or above. That’s what the D3 and D700 are known for though, is the clean printable image as high as 6400ISO! (although I dont like going much above 3200 for anything if I even have to go above 200 of course). There was even a shot that was so dark, that I shot a few frames at 1/15th at the dreaded and yet simultaneously awesome 12,500ISO. 12,500?! ZOMG!

(Nikon D700, 12,500ISO!, Nikon 18-35mm F3.5-4.5@18mm F3.5, 1/15th sec.)

It would have been nice to use large and small lights and set things up very commercially, but sometimes there just isn’t the budget to do things like that. I understand the challenges of the economy these days, and I understand that’s why someone like me gets called. Newspaper shooters are known for being resourceful in terms of ambient light and exposure. Most of the time Newspaper shooters are a one man show that goes to the most random assortment of locations with the requirement of taking a printable shot. I’m a relatively young and new shooter to the profession, but I’m honored to be associated with some outstanding photojournalist photographers at the Indianapolis Star. Many of them are at least 10 times the photographers that I am, which is why I always look at the things they are working on to learn as much as I can. Working for the newspaper, and knowing the people that I’ve come to know is the most valuable thing that has ever happened to my career as a photographer. The toughest thing I have to deal with though, is having to put advertising’s top priority on print quality at the top of the to do list.

(Nikon D3, 2500ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR@F2.8 1/125th. Mike was standing directly across the lane from me with my SB-900 Flash unit dialed to 17mm triggered by my SU-800 Commander unit on camera.)

All in all it was a successful weekend. I am happy with the photos that I took at the Xscape, I got on some roller skates for the first time in quite a while and didn’t die (always a plus), and I got a few minutes to relax. This week will be busy at the paper with a video for Gannett Corporate, a run to catch up on Suburban Homes, and in the end another month out of the 2010 Roller Derby Calendar. On Friday night I’ll be shooting KJ Testin’s Performance at 8 Seconds Saloon here in Indianapolis, and on Saturday I’ll be shooting at Skateland on 38th Street where Seth Green and the creators of Robot Chicken will be hanging out with The Naptown Roller Girls. I also have about 1800 photos from Xscape to continue to work on, as well as some Q8 photos that need some more attention. So back to normal for me. I just hope that I don’t end up like my assistant Mike from Saturday; who was worn the heck out. Not to mention the fact that the plague is a nasty thing when you’re on a putt putt course. More Soon.