So the second part of my Low Light shooting experience was at a work event. Our Sales team all went away for a 2 day Offsite event, and the highlight was the Halloween themed Dinner and Dance evening. Costume was compulsory, and with 100 or so people there I was anticipating an entertaining evening of photography.
However once we got to the dining room it became very clear that the quality of the lighting was very poor. My shutterspeeds became measured in seconds, and everything was coming out all blurry. What to do??
This was an unexpected situation, and I only had my trusty 17-85mm lens on which wasn’t the ideal option, but it was what I had. So I cranked up the ISO to about 1200 or so and had a fiddle with the White Balance settings. That helped a bit, I was able to get my shutter speed down a bit, but it was still sub optimal.
Luckily another Canon user was there and they loaned me their flash – I think it was a 580ex but Im not sure. I had never used one of these on my camera before (or ever) so I had some fun with experimenting with bounce angles (straight up worked best) – the ceiling was fairly white so it seemed to be a vast improvement.
It was a really good lesson about the difficulties of shooting inside – the shape of the room was very odd, and it was quite large, and didnt have very many windows, so there was very limited natural light even during the day. And when they turned the lights on for the evening, the colour of the light was extremely yellow. The lights were also fancy wallmounted ones, just above head hight along the walls, and carefully placed to be as inconvenient as possible to a photographer wanting shots against a neutral background.
Still it was a good evening, and most people were happy to be shot, with or without a flash, and I managed to get some good group shots, which pleased the members of the groups, and a few entertaining candids as well (candids are MUCH harder to get with the flash on, obviously)
Major issue I had with this setup? The weight. Add camera and lens and then the flash on, which was a lot heavier than I expected, and I got very tired very quickly. And the time it took for the flash to recharge or ready itself for the next shot meant I lost the opportunity for a lot of good ‘second’ shots. This was an unexpected side-effect of flash photography I had been ignorant of.
It was an *excellent* learning experience, and good that I could do it in a fairly safe environment ie there were no major expectations around the volume or quality of my images, everyone was pleased to see what I did get, and have a laugh at the result 🙂
And of course you want to see the evidence!