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January 16, 2011

Guitar Practice

Sunday. Not a bad start, not a bad night's rest, back now at the apartment from breakfast getting ready to head out and photograph two very young children at their parent's house. Have to think about that. What lenses to bring? A couple of strobe lights, the little camera mounted strobes along with their tripods? Lack of preparation can lead to disaster. Then again, when has that ever stopped me in the past? Learn on the job.

I'm not sure why, but I continued working on the Cherry Blossom photographs last night and actually came up with yet another page of photographs. Which is surprising. Am I just not seeing they're not all that good? I like them, but all of them were passed over years ago the first time around when they were taken. Still, you learn.

Working with them yesterday for what must have been something like eight hours helped in noting some obvious differences in my shooting. They were taken with an older D2X series camera with the 70 - 200mm lens, sharp as a tack out to 300mm on those smaller than full size sensor cameras. I realized they were allowing me to get much closer for portraits, something I haven't been able to do as well since shooting with the new full sensor D3's.

That may mean I'm now going to start packing two cameras: one, a D2X mounted with a 70 - 200mm capable of resolving at 300mm; another, a D3 mounted with another resolving at 200mm. (Yes, I actually have two of the things.) Then again, bring a D3 with the 24 - 70mm and switch if I think it necessary. Or carry all three. My campaign to reduce carrying extra equipment and weight may have suffered a blow, but it's also allowed me to see and perhaps improve another aspect of my craft.

You've got craft?

At my age your imagination ignors the more inconvenient facts.

Later. An easy enough drive to Castro Valley to Mr. & Ms. L's, a session in their living room with the two youngsters, then a short trip to a nice park area beside Lake Cabot to shoot outside in the sun. I brought four lights and ended up using three on stands in the living room and then shooting the outdoor pictures under available light.

I, of course, made mistakes. The lights? Well, placement of the lights is something you have to practice and make tests and, although the placement wasn't great, they worked well enough. I watched for shadows and bright lit backgrounds and such in the park, made some less obvious mistakes, but otherwise got through damaged but not undone.

What I will remember for the future is to bring the higher quality 70 - 200mm lens instead of the 24 - 120. The second camera with the 24 - 70 performed fine. My main tool for a parade or a street event, the 70 - 200: why was I thinking it wouldn't be for this kind of project? Yes, I thought it would all take place inside, but looking at them the 70 - 200 would have performed better inside as well. Such is life.

Some good ones with the 24 - 70mm, some good ones with the 24 - 120 for all my carping, but not nearly enough. There's a distinct difference between pictures taken with one of the f 2.8 lenses and something like the f 4.0 24 - 120. That's why they cost so much. Remember that. The reason you got them in the first place. A nice lunch at a local dim sum restaurant though to finish the day, home then by three.

I'd noticed the dry cotton mouth coming on while I was shooting, got home, started the computer downloading the photographs and, while they were downloading, lay down briefly on the bed. Only to go into an ocular migraine that lasted some two hours. That's the third in four or five days. Not sure what's bringing them on, but something is happening and I'll have to think it. The dry foul tasting mouth. But tomorrow, time (now that I'm glued back together) to get in some guitar practice before bed.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2008 Cherry Blossom Festival Parade with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens.