14 September, 2014

Retirement - not mine.

West End, Brisbane

I was asked to take some pictures at a retirement party for a colleague.

I decided on the NEX-7, as I wanted to be unobtrusive and none of the pictures are destined for prints. If they'll be seen at all it will be on-line and in small sizes. If I had needed better quality, I would have gone with the A7.

I set the ISO to 1600 for the duration. Whenever I can I avoid using the in-camera flash. It's impossible to be unobtrusive with flash, because everyone in the room is alerted to every shot you take.

In unposed settings I take a lot of photos, as I need to be able to weed out the blinks, the yawns and other goofy looks. When you're shooting flash, that's harder to do.

I rarely chimp my pictures in such a situation. If you stop to look at your shots the subjects will join you and you'll be showing your unedited (mostly to be rejected) work. It  slows me down. By simply taking my shots, I can move quickly to my next subject.

Because it was standard fluorescent office lighting, I could have lived with ISO 800; but I wanted the shutter speed high enough to avoid any shake or minor movement problems. It's all RAW, so I'm addressing the white-balance in Lightroom. I also shot wide open at f/1.8, or at f/2.0. I can fix most noise (especially for snaps) but motion blur is very hard. (Yes, Photoshop has some tools, but I suggest you not rely on that when taking pictures, only when you encounter a situation in post processing.)

My 32mm lives on the NEX, but I took a wide and a telephoto to complement that — I didn't use either one. Things moved along pretty quickly and I just said to myself, this will work.

Moderate telephoto lenses are great for portraits. They eliminate the distortion that arises at close distances with a wider lens. I can get the same geometric result by using the standard (32mm on the NEX) further away — and then cropping. 

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