It’s that time of the year again folks! The London Fur’s Summer Party!
Furs, new and old congregate at the Agenda Bar, in my opinion, a top choice by the LF committee. Two thumbs up! (The location may be bettered if there were wild wolves running around hunting deer, but I digress)
As with the LF parties, they bring out fursuiters, new, old and rarely seen. I am pretty sure I’m over my funk and was just so exciting and in the zone for most of the trip around to the Tower of London.
Looking back at the day, it is a *beautiful* day out. And for my style of photography, one of the worst conditions for photography. Harsh, direct sunlight. Heavy shadows, with a very wide dynamic range.
As always, I had my SB600 engaged for fill, to try to reduce the dynamic range, at least for the subjects within fill range. Given that the shutter speeds were almost always exceeding sync speed - and I do not want to stop down more than F9 on a crop camera - this means the flash is almost always discharging the full capacitor.
I’m not sure how long my flash tube will last - but that is the way to go. Using flash brings up 3 critical points
- First, I can raise the shadows of the subject, lowering the amount of dynamic range.
- Second, the flash creates a critical catchlight in the subject’s eyes. Well, that is assuming they are using glassy styled eyes ;-) The catchlight definitely serves to help drive the “aliveness” of a fursuiter
- Third, I have a gel on the flash; a 1/4 CTS gel. This serves to warm up the foreground subject. By adjusting the color temperature of the foreground to be “correct” i.e. cooler, it also cools down the areas not lit by flash; the skies, for example. This serves to further enhance the blues and create color contrast.
In review of the day, I thought I was really not caring about the technical aspects of photography today. Usually I’m metering all over the place and compensating the exposure. Not today. I left it at EV +0.3 and let the D300 take care. Bad bad boy.
It was not too bad though - unlike say, an overcast day where it may be possible to capture most of the dynamic range, the superb 1005 rgb segment meter on the D300 easily exposes for the brightest tones with minimal clipping. And that’s not to say it doesn’t clip and lose all data; it does - but somehow usually in regions that I would have clipped in post anyways. This means the shadows would be quite deep - hence the fill flash on such bright days to balance out the shadows and highlights.
My wish is for the newer generation of focal plane cameras to have an improved sync speed. Unlike leaf shutter (or my Lumix LX5) where the design of the shutter allows it to sync at any speed, I’m still limited to a paltry 1/250, any faster and the fill range drops. Significantly.
I mean, basically, screw megapixels. I really, really feel annoyed when photographers go oh this new camera has XXX megapixels. I mean seriously, how many of us *print*?! Do you use that for cropping? Even on my D300 with it’s laughable 12 megapixels, it easily gives you 240DPI or more for an A4 printout. Going larger than that, it’s more dependent on viewing distance; are people seriously going to use a magnifying glass up close to a A0 print?!
What I’d really love is to see the future cameras stick at the 10-12 megapixels range, and improve a) Sync Speed - either by uber amazing shutter design, or even a totally new shutter and b) dynamic range. Screw megapixels, I want my dynamic range.
This is why I brought my D300 out today, not the LX5 - it’s bright sunlight. The LX5 in this situation would give me very similar results, but it will be a tad more contrasty thanks to the smaller sensor.
Till the next time, and keep on pushing limits!