The New Photographer

Each new day is a chance to learn.

Posts Tagged ‘off camera lighting

Wading through Low Light Waters

leave a comment »

AmberOne of the things that I believe a budding photographer should do is to be part of groups of, well, photographers!

The list of reasons can be

^Get to know local people who share the same passion for photography
^Exploring the art through activities and gatherings especially with experienced shutterbugs. Those who’ve been there, done that kind of people are a good sources of priceless tips and information
^The chance to preview and get your hands on other cameras (be it a Nikon or a Canon or even others). That is something you can’t do always in camera stores if you don’t have the intention of buying new and upcoming camera or glass
^Borrow lenses you do not have in your arsenal.

About two weeks ago, I had the first chance to meet with fellow Filipino Nikon shooters. It was a casual meet-up at Il Ponticello (well known as “Ponti”) of club members residing within Makati City. Food and drinks was generously provided by one of Nikon Club PH directors, Arnold Cruz.

I suspected earlier on that the place would be dark, typical of bars and restaurant with fine dining. It was indeed a low-light setting of two tables with dozen photographers exchanging funny stories, serious thoughts on lenses and bodies, and a few more laughs.

There are three notable ways of treating a low light environment.

  1. Arm your camera with a tripod
  2. Strobist
  3. Fast lens

Using a tripod cures the problem of camera shake or more like ‘shaky hands’. Even VR capable glass is not enough to produce pictures of people under dark environment. When a camera is mounted on a tripod, it eases the photographer of being limited to a certain aperture and shutter speed where good exposure is achievable. Some issues that you need to take care of when shooting with a tripod in crowded and small places are space to place it (make sure it won’t disturb other people) and blurry photos if subjects themselves aren’t still. Add to that, the burden to your back if your tripod is bulky and heavy.

Strobist and off camera lighting is a territory I am venturing in the next couple of months. Simply basing my ground to pictures I’m seeing here and here that lighting is more than appropriate in producing stunning low-light images.

My instinct led me to stuff my trusty 50mm f/1.4 AI in the camera bag before the meet. A fast lens for a shaky hands. For newbies, aperture signifies the size of the hole in the lens when the shutter button is pressed. It greatly affects the amount of light entering the sensor while the image is in the process of being exposed. While this lens doesn’t auto-focus on my Nikon D40, I don’t see it as a problem but more of an advantage. So I shot that night with candle-lit tables, bottles of beer and a couple of tips and stories to store in my memory. I also became an official member of the club. Below are some of the photos:



Written by Jervis

September 7, 2008 at 9:29 am