Static Shocked….

Two weeks ago I got a very strange call from my boss at the newspaper.  That call was about an assignment that was very much unlike a normal assignment for me, in being that it wasn’t a controlled environment, and a controlled subject.  This assignment was an event at the Vogue here in Indianapolis called Static Shock hosted as a fundraiser by Static Salon in Broad Ripple here in Indianapolis. 

(Nikon D700, 2000ISO, Nikon 14-24F2.8Nano@22mm 1/60th@F2.8)
Anybody that has read this blog knows that most of my newspaper and non newspaper assignments include things like business portraits or product photos for glossy publication.  A fewer amount of people are going to notice that while normally I shoot Canon for the newspaper (as that’s what they provide me), This event I decided to break out my own Nikon equipment as it provides me cleaner and sharper images in this kind of an environment. 
(Nikon D700, 280ISO, Nikon 14-24F2.8Nano@21mm, 1/40th@F2.8)
Honestly I was very saddened by the number of photographers that I saw at the Vogue that night that were shooting just to get their names out there.  Don’t get me wrong, I can definitely understand the need to get your name out there, but in order to even think about doing that you need to have some idea as to what you are doing.  There were several ‘photographers’ that night that had cameras that were most certainly set to program that had flashes on camera set to EPIC blasting the most amount of light as possible towards their subjects.  In some cases missing the most beautiful of light in the darkest of places…
(Nikon D3s, 450ISO, Nikon 50mmF1.4G, 1/80th@F2)
That was shot in completely ambient light that night in the Vogue.  Not but moments later I saw another of many photographer blasting Mr. Stuart Sayger with their direct on camera flash.  Not saying that using flash is always bad, and that you need to ramp to High ISO every chance that you get either because getting away with using High ISO all the time can make you lazy.  It’s like when I was younger and because I survived the dentist I told my mom and dad that I deserved some candy because I had no cavities.  A month after I’d be using that same excuse for candy knowing full well that the reward time had long since past.  If you get away with using it once or twice you can easily start to always think it’s feeseable.  Even thought my D3s is capable of very useable images at 12,800ISO doesn’t mean I always if ever actually go there.

(Nikon D3s, 2000ISO, Nikon 70-200VR2N@116mm, 1/250th@F4.  Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/32nd Power zoomed to 105mm superclamped to the upper level of the Vogue pointed down at the runway fired by Pocket Wizard.)
That’s one of the lovely ladies from the Fashion part of the show at the Vogue, after all; that was my assignment.  I can’t honestly complain about having to take photos of so many lovely ladies either.  Honestly the only thing better than doing that is the fact that my girlfriend Shannon accepts the fact that I do what I do, knowing that these girls are doing their job while I’m doing mine.  Speaking of doing my job I had the fortunate ability to run an experiment at the vogue while I was there…
(Nikon D700, 2500ISO, Nikon 14-24mmF2.8Nano@17mm, 1/60th@F4.  Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/32nd power zoomed to 105mm superclamped to the upper level of the Vogue fired by Pocket Wizard)
Shooting Sports gave me sort of a crazy idea that I put into practice that night as you can see above.  That blueish light in the photo isn’t actually as much a blueish light as it is a Speedlight superclamped to the upper level of the Venue.  Having shot enough sports using speedlights set to low power I decided to see what that could do for me in terms of sharpness at a venue with uncontrollable dynamic lighting.  Honestly, it was the best thing that I ever did as it allowed me to bring my ISO down to between 1600 and 2500 for the evening, and made my images more consistantly sharper than they would have been otherwise; just like when shooting sports this way.  
(Nikon D3s, 2500ISO, Nikon 70-200VR2N@70mm, 1/200th@F2.8.  Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/32nd Power zoomed to 105mm superclamped to the upper level of the Vogue pointed down at the runway fired by Pocket Wizard.)
All in all the evening was a heck of an event.  It had a great turn out, and was beautifully scripted to which the naked eye could tell no deviation, and I met at least one other photographer that I felt as though I could learn from.  Great job to the ladies out at Static Salon for the event that they put on.  I greatly hope that they decide to host such an event next year whether or not  I’m fortunate enough to cover it or not.  More Soon.