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Ron Paul nighttime rally

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by fin azvandi, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    No political discussion please, just wanted to post a few photos I took at a speech yesterday - any suggestions on technique are welcome.

    I know my first thought is I should have arrived earlier or pushed through the crowd to get a little closer…I brought my 85/1.8 lens thinking I'd need the wider aperture at night. However the spotlights were pretty strong so I exposed for his face and stopped down to f/4 - it was not quite as dark in the crowd as these shots make it seem. ISO 800, shutter speeds from 1/125 to 1/400. White balance adjusted in Aperture along with several other adjustments (mainly noise reduction, edge sharpen, reduce highlights)

    These are cropped and they look "okay" at this size, but magnifying the originals on my computer shows there's not a lot of detail even in the light. Is that mainly a result of my distance from the subject? I had IS turned on since I was shooting around 1/effective focal length, perhaps I should have tried a few shots with it off to compare.

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  2. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    One word: CROP!

    There's way too much black and the bottom of the frame. At best, it adds nothing. In the top three, it really detracts from the subject.

    On the last one, it would have been better if you could have moved to your right, so as not to cut poor Mr. Paul's body in half with that wall. But that might not have been physically possible.

    Otherwise, a nice job. I like the color shots better than the B&W. The contrast between the lit subject, the dark shadows and the blue background really make Paul stand out more than B&W image.
  3. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    These don't have close the IQ of your other stuff. Most professional politicians have significant oratorical skills ... powerful speakers ... Paul is a very reserved guy, but I still didn't see or feel much emotions in your shots, even a smile would be nice. Robert Capa, a co-founder of Magnum (along with Henri Cartier-Bresson), stated "... if your photos aren't good enough, then you're not close enough."


    PS- You should have arrived early. I used to carry Pocket Boogle and a wrap of Fig Newtons, ( the wrap fits nicely in my Domke bag lens compartment), to help see me through the wait.
  4. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I am no photo journalist, but I actually like #s 2 and 4, though perhaps not for the reasons the OP intended. They seem to communicate a certainly loneliness of the candidate who is behind in the polls. (don't get me wrong -- I actually like what Ron Paul talks about, but it's pretty clear he's the rear-runner, and the pics seem lonely and communicate that concept to me)

    In #s 1 and 3, there's way too much blue in the background that blends in with his suit.
  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    Blends in with the suit? Not on my monitor. The colors are distinctly different, and the edge contrast provide clear delineation.
  6. blaffendespin

    blaffendespin Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2012
    Rexburg, ID
    He looks like he could be giving his Presidential Race "drop-out" speech :biggrin:
  7. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    Blue suit, blue tie, blue background. I guess RP is feeling blue!
  8. AlexH

    AlexH Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 27, 2012
    Arkansas, U.S.
    A slight crop might be ok, but I really like the feel of the crowd at a political rally, and in this case, I think B&W would be nice on these shots. The one you posted had a good feel to it. That's just me...
  9. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    It's #2 for me - I agree with WT21, it conveys a certain detachment/loneliness of the subject.
  10. BSH

    BSH Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2012
    Ah, the Union Terrace. Very nice. And chilly today.

    Working with stage lighting is hard, because there such an extreme level of contrast between the ambient light and those 1,000W par cans pouring light on the subject. You pretty much have to expose for the face, and lose 80% of the rest of the shot to darkness.

    Aside from a public speaker, these photos don't convey much. Was the crowd enthusiastic? Dour? I'd ask if there was much energy from the stage, but we're talking about a 70-something year old doctor-cum-politician. ;)  I'd take the B&W shot juxtaposed with a good crowd shot not seen above. Nice that you got to be there.
  11. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Thanks for the comments all. I was only there for the last 10 minutes of the speech as I had come from an evening lecture, had to wander around the back of the crowd looking for an empty chair to stand on. I have seen some photos in the local paper from earlier in the evening when there was more ambient light and it gives an entirely different feel to the scene.
  12. The second shot in b&w is my favourite: The lone speaker in the spotlight, the "faceless" bodyguard, the crowd almost indistinct but with enough detail to show that they are attentive to the speech...

    I've no idea who this fellow is or what he is talking about, but the image still speaks to me. The colour images don't work so nearly as well IMO.
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