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How I Got the Shot – Finding Pockets of Light

I was in New York City with our Publisher Richard Harrington for a Photo Plus event. Rich always has access to the most popular parties at events. He smiled at me and said how would you like to attend an HP event. I said sure. He kept smiling and said bring your camera, the group Far East Movement will be playing. My face lit up as I grabbed my camera and thought for a moment on which lens I needed. I could only bring one lens so I chose a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens. We jumped in a New York City Cab and away we went as my mind raced to figure out what camera settings should I start with. In the end, we had an incredible time and this is how I got the shot.

Camera Setting, determining a good starting point

Once we arrived at the event, Rich introduced me to several people as we ate and mingled. Where should I start with my camera settings, was the only thought on my mind. I knew I had to lock down 2 of the 3 exposure elements. Since I had a fast lens, I chose my lowest aperture, f/2.8. Next, I debated between locking down my shutter or ISO. I was shooting with a Nikon D700 a great camera for low light that could handle an ISO of 1600 with no problem. As long as my shutter speed was greater than 1/500 second, an ISO of 1600 would work so I locked down my ISO. Knowing the light would be inconsistent from shot to shot, I used spot metering to determine my shutter speed. I figured changning my shutter speed between shots was a simple turn of a dial with my thumb.

Finding Pockets of Light

The lights dimmed as they announced the band. The curtains opened to a dark stage with lead vocalist Kev Nishs back to the crowd. Then BAM the music roared as the lights lit the stage. I ripped a few frames and adjusted my shutter speed as needed. Happy with the results, I kept an eye out for the rhythm of the lights. I started to get in sync with the light show and found pockets of light. As the band members approached the pocket of light, I would burst about 3 shots.

Final thoughts

Patience and timing is needed to shoot in low light. I was tempted to raise my ISO as high as 6400 to get a few shots but I knew the quality of light wasn’t there. Waiting for the band members to walk into the pocket of light ensured I had a good exposure and a great shot.

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