Wed 25-Feb-09 09:56 AM | edited Wed 25-Feb-09 10:18 AM by MAK
I will be shooting an indoor event here in Saudi Arabia tomorrow evening. I say "indoor" as it will be inside large Bedouin style tents and most likely under flourescent light and oil lamps with very colorful walls and flooring.
My original plan was to use my 28-70 2.8 along with the SB800 and a Dem flip it for bounce/fill, shooting in P mode (manual set white balance) with a modified Velvia picture control setting (a sharper version) at a capped ISO 0f 3200.
I do not have an off-camera bracket. I am re-thinking the on camera flash idea and might use the 800 in commander mode to fire a hand-held 600. I do not like the idea of using the on-board flash simply for the fact that it may get hung up on something and damamged.
I have available my D700, 28-70, 80-200, 24 and 28 2.8s and a 50 1.8.
This will be a very crowded event mixed with westerners and local nationals so I will need to respect local customs at certain times.
The flash will be battling the existing interior lighting if the mixed interior lighting levels are high enough. An accurate custom white balance may be hard to achieve therefore, so the first suggestion is to shoot in RAW mode to ensure you can easily modify white balance later.
I believe most people attending the event you're describing will prefer to be photographed only when they're aware of it. Shoot tight. Because of that you might be able to do the entire event with the quick, sharp little 50 f/1.8.
If you show up with the 5 f/1.8 on the D700, you'll also appear less intrusive than showing up with the D700 attached to the huge 28-70 f/2.8. So I suggest keeping the 28-70 in the bag until you need it.
Working with the 50 f/1.8 will require less use of flash. If you do use flash, keep in mind that (at least in my experience) the interiors of Bedouin style tents are somewhat dark. If that's the case at your event, you're not going to get much bounce from your SB-600. I think that means you'll have no choice but to use it handheld most of the time (if you even need it shooting a 50 f/1.8 up to ISO3200). Probably the most important thing you'll need for effective SB-600 use (since bounce flash may not be effective) is a good diffuser for the flash head. If you have a Gary Fong diffuser (or something like it) make sure you bring it and use it. Non-diffused flash shooting a predictable mixture of western and Saudi clothing (with all that cloth and soft textures) will make everything look very harsh. Don't forget a diffuser!
You sound well traveled. Anyone that has been inside a Bedouin tent must be
Yes, I will most likely use the 50 1.8 although I do not care for that length on FX. Seems too awkward for me for whatever reason. The lighting will be traditional at best, and at worst mixed with conventional.
The only diffusers I have are the OE Nikon one for the 800 and a Sto-fen for the 600. Will the Dem have a similar effect with the front diffuser on using the 800 to get more power? Everyone will be in traditional dress, including the westerners so I will have a mix of dark and light thobes and all the accessories.
Shoot natural light, bump your ISO and and shoot wide open. Take plenty of shots. I'd use the 28-70 and take a wide angle just in case its crowded and you can't get enough focus distance.
With flash I'd bounce and forget the flip it.....I set my ISO to 1600 at 1/250 and wide open. Obviously you'd lower ISO if you could. I prefer to manually set flash power, obviously this would take way more thinking and test shots that wold be distracting so just shoot natural light....
>The only diffusers I have are the OE Nikon one for the 800 and >a Sto-fen for the 600. Will the Dem have a similar effect >with the front diffuser on using the 800 to get more power? >Everyone will be in traditional dress, including the >westerners so I will have a mix of dark and light thobes and >all the accessories.
If this doesn't reach you too late for the event, I'd say go with the SB-600 and the Sto-fen. Shooting direct (no bounce) with a diffuser on the SB-600 gives you tons of power to do anything you want (on or off the shoe). You'll probably be dialing back the flash eV half a stop or more, especially using the 50 f/1.8.
>An SB600 with Sto-fen it is then. > >I have no other ideas how to shoot this one w/o a flash unless >I takes the ISO to 6400 and hope for some even lighting.
I'd say this is where you get to find out why so many people love fast 50mm lenses, RAW, and a diffused flash that's been dialed back. Zoom in and out with your feet. I'd bet real money you can get easily away with limiting your ISO to 1600.
If they're serving the guests, don't forget to shoot the food. The food presentation at some of those events is sometimes spectacular. You didn't mention where the event is taking place, but if it's in Riyadh and Al-Najdiyah (or one of the royalty-owned restaurants like Ranwa or Al-Nafoura) is doing the catering, the food will be amazing. Kabsah, and lots of it, whenever I'm in the 'neighborhood'.
Yep, Just got my 50 1.4 G and WOW...never owned a prime. What was I thinking. I can't believe how sharp it is wide open. I need to break my left arm because I keep trying to zoom I know I'm the village idiot trying to zoom a prime...
My 80-200 is awesome too, but my Tamron 28-75 is like 20% accurate wide open maybe even less....
Thu 26-Feb-09 08:14 AM | edited Thu 26-Feb-09 09:36 AM by MAK
It is on a private compound here in Riyadh and Al-Nafoura will be catering the event.
The setting is a traditional Kabsah, less the slaughter of course. I just walked through the area and they are still setting up. The lighting is (and you can appreciate this) mostly going to be colored rope lights with some sodium vapor over flow. In the main "tent" there are chandeliers with the usual incandescent lighting mixed with more rope lights.
I have decided to shoot with the 50 and 600 dialed way down and ISO at 3200 with auto white balance. Shooting RAW with no noise reduction or ADL in camera. To reach the belly dancer I will have to use my 80-200 in order to stay out of the way. I saw two sodium vapor lights bracketing the stage - so more ugly light even for the dancer.
Made it SW of the city today and climbed the base of Faisal's Pinnacle (or finger) and am now getting prepared for the evening. I will read up on how to post up here and will get a few shots up when I can.
>The setting is a traditional Kabsah, less the slaughter of >course. I just walked through the area and they are still >setting up. The lighting is (and you can appreciate this) >mostly going to be colored rope lights with some sodium vapor >over flow. In the main "tent" there are chandeliers >with the usual incandescent lighting mixed with more rope >lights. > >I have decided to shoot with the 50 and 600 dialed way down >and ISO at 3200 with auto white balance. Shooting RAW with no >noise reduction or ADL in camera. To reach the belly dancer I >will have to use my 80-200 in order to stay out of the way. I >saw two sodium vapor lights bracketing the stage - so more >ugly light even for the dancer.
I guess the mixed lighting can be a terrific pain. But it might turn out to be an opportunity to nail some some strange and interesting colours. Hope for the best.
As usual, early morning or late afternoon light is amazing at the Pinnacle (especially if there's lots of dust/sand in the air). I hope you got some good light.
Last time we were there on business I think we ate an entire sheep one night.
Well that was definitely (not) fun. I have never seen so much orange light in all my life. Absolutely horrible.
I managed to get off several frames using the 28-70 as I needed the zoom to adjust where a prime would not do. the conditions were such that it was better to shoot with the zoom rather get right in someones face.
Even with little to no light, the D700 did an amazing job. I used the 28-70 and switched to the 80-200 for the belly dancer.
I will post some later tomorrow (midnight here now) after i figure a way to make the colors balance.
It's interesting to see so many women were at the event. I worked briefly in Kuwait in the early 1990s as the only woman in a consultancy team. The men were invited by the Kuwaitis to a social event in a marquee, & at the very last minute I was invited too (& not just to do the washing up, as my colleagues had suggested). I was the only woman there.
Anyway, returning to your photo, I tried to correct the colour balance using a neutral control point in Capture NX2 & also raised the brightness of the upper end of the scene, as shown below.
It's not brilliant, but I think probably looks more natural.
>Wow!!! The light was awefull. If you shot in RAW it should >be a fairly easy fix. If you shot JPG I have a link somewhere >to some software that can fix the WB. Email me if you need >it.
Thanks Hedley - yes, it was pretty bad indeed. I did shoot RAW and tried to use a neutral point off one of the Ogals, the black band on top of the head that holds the Gutrah in place. The result is as posted by the other member above.
You could try some black & white conversions. I've done this before where the light sources were just too mixed to get something halfway reasonable. I also found (with my D200) that this allowed me to have more noise - grain looks better in B&W. With the D700 this is probably not as big an issue.