Tricky shooting situation, need advice

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by ludwig, May 17, 2004.

  1. ludwig

    ludwig TPF Noob!

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    In a few weeks, I am going to a reunion weekend with some old friends, and I will be the officially unofficial photographer. I was wondering if anyone has advice on how he/she would handle this situation. I have the following factors to consider:

    1. I need to keep the equipment as simple as possible. It will be mostly candids and reportage-style shooting, mostly at locations where I can't haul a camera bag with me. It means one body, one lens. I am leaning toward a 35/1.4 lens, but some think that 50mm is better. I'm not a fan of zooms, since they are slower (or insanely expensive for the fast ones), and a good portion of this shoot will be at night or indoors. Any ideas?

    2. I typically shoot 400 Tri-X all the time, and I want to shoot B&W on this trip too, but I have to consider that our group of friends is very international, with WIDELY varied skin tones. A few (like me) are fair/blue-eyed, there are some mid-range Carribean islanders, and a few from all over India, from the lighter-skinned Northerners, to darker Southerners. The Man of Honor (the groom to be) is the darkest-skinned of them all. I want to be able to do justice to everyone, but I've never shot such a vide variety of skin tones. Will 400 Tri-X be appropriate? Is there something better for this? Are yellow filters helpful in this situation? Do I adjust the exposure to compensate?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. voodoocat

    voodoocat ))<>(( Supporting Member

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    I think the Tri-X would be a good all purpose film for your situation. A yellow filter or a yellow-green filter is great for people shots.
     
  3. drlynn

    drlynn TPF Noob!

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    I'd lean toward the 50mm lens. If you are planning anything resembling close-ups, the 50mm will give less facial distortion than the 35mm.

    Have fun!
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I agree.

    I've shot a fair amount on T-Max 400 pushed to 1600 without a flash. It's a bit grainy. I don't know if that would bother you. I like the look myself, and find it better than dealing with the crappy lighting of on-camera flash, unless it's just a fill. If it's going to be really dim, you could try Ilford 3200 Delta.
     
  5. ludwig

    ludwig TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! I'll go with the 50mm (since I tend to do a lot of close-ups - you're not close enough until people tell you to go away), and a yellow filter, and carry a few rolls of Ilford 3200. I've never used it, so I'll have to shoot a few test rolls to get the feel, but I suppose it would be best for night shots.

    And, I agree about the flash - I never use the on-camera flash (I only own one camera that even has one, not that I ever turn it on; I mean, why do they bother?). And since I'm travelling light this trip, that means available light only. A bit of a challenge for me, but we'll see.

    I like the grain. That's what attracted me to Tri-X in the first place - the ability to push it with grain. Never gone to 1600, though.

    Has anyone had experience with wide skin-tone differences? I've seen the same African photojournalism that everyone else has, so I know it can be shot beautifully, but I've never shot a group that is so different before. I'm worried that my friend is going to come out with little or no contrast if I just go with standard meter exposure.
     

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