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05-31-2010, 07:27 AM   #1
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Lenses for Son's High School Graduation

On June 7th, my older boy graduates high school. And amazingly, he went through this entire HS experience without smoking a single joint, unlike his dad. (It's true, but not because of great parenting; he's autistic/Aspergers Syndrome.)

So this week, I have the Super-Mutli-Coated Tak 200 F4 coming, and based on my arsenal below, combined with the 18-55 kit, these are my only options, correct? For a college auditorium?

I would love to bring the 24 2.8 vivitar, but not only can't I see its usefulness in addition to the 18-55, I've never shot with it under available low light.

And my 400 is ridiculous.

05-31-2010, 08:43 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
On June 7th, my older boy graduates high school. And amazingly, he went through this entire HS experience without smoking a single joint, unlike his dad. (It's true, but not because of great parenting; he's autistic/Aspergers Syndrome.)

So this week, I have the Super-Mutli-Coated Tak 200 F4 coming, and based on my arsenal below, combined with the 18-55 kit, these are my only options, correct? For a college auditorium?

I would love to bring the 24 2.8 vivitar, but not only can't I see its usefulness in addition to the 18-55, I've never shot with it under available low light.

And my 400 is ridiculous.
I would take, out of your list in the signature the 85F1.9, the 105F2.8 and 125F1.8

the extra stop(s) will more than offset the lack of focal length
05-31-2010, 10:05 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would take, out of your list in the signature the 85F1.9, the 105F2.8 and 125F1.8

the extra stop(s) will more than offset the lack of focal length
Really? But the last one you mentioned I don't have. But I would love to buy one!
05-31-2010, 10:22 AM   #4
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I recently shot a graduation for some friends, and I'd say the biggest trick is to get there early so you can get as close as possible. We got there not quite so early and were further back than I had planned for. I wished I had brought along my FA* 300mm 4.5, but alas, I ended up using the DA* 50-135 (at 135) for some shots, and a quick swap to add the 1.7x tele to get close enough.

Take a monopod. In my case, the lights were low enough that hand-holding much of anything was tricky at best, especially at the longer focal lengths. I shot most pictures from my seat with the monopod on the floor in front of me.

Had I been closer, the FA* 85 would have been my choice, but we simply weren't close enough, so I suggest you plan for both close and far as best as possible.

The only other trick I had was center weighted metering or spot metering. Everyone is wearing black, and the background is at best inconsistently dark.

05-31-2010, 10:29 AM   #5
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If you're stuck shooting from the back, sure, use the 200/4. But if you can shoot from closer to the front, I'd expect the 135/2.8 to be far more useful unless you just want facial closeups, and would take the 85/1.9 as well.
05-31-2010, 10:35 AM   #6
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Use manual exposure

It it is indoors, the lighting should be relatively constant. Work out the correct exposure and practice on other students first (hopefully your last name doesn't start with A).

I shot my sisters university grad with a 105mm 2.5, and was at 2.8 or 3.5 for most of it with an iso of about 1200.

Best of luck.
05-31-2010, 10:06 PM   #7
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I don't know about your graduation's lighting conditions but for mine. The lighting was horrible. So from my experience I would bring the 85mm 1.9, 135 2.8 and the 200. I'd pass on the 105. For the 200 F4 I think your going to have to bump the ISO really high to get some shots. Graduation ceremonies are usually bad in terms of lights. So the 1.9 and 2.8 are going to be really helpful. I know from personal experience they usually give a designated area for parents to photograph their kids but you going to have to compete with tons of P&S with flashes going off every couple of secs.
06-01-2010, 07:47 AM   #8
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I just had 2 graduations in the family, both from college. One was outside, the other was indoors, sort of anyhow. It was an open air auditorium (Saratoga Performing Arts Center). I shot the first one with an M135/3.5 with pretty good results. I cropped some shots which could have benefited from a longer lens but there were so many people and heads popping up, I think I made the right choice. I would have been cropping anyhow. The second, a combination of indoor and out, I used my Sigma 70-300 at ISO 1600. I couldn't get in very close and I also wanted to get shots of the procession as the students entered and exited. I brought my 200/4 Tak but decided not to use it because I didn't want to deal with lens swapping in the crowd. The Tak requires the adapter which is a little more work than a simple lens swap. Bring a monopod. The Tak is heavy and I have difficulty hand holding it, another reason why I used the Sigma. I have shots posted in Photo of the Week threads #113 and 114. As always, a lot will depend on the light and you won't really know until you get there so be prepared. The stage will probably be well lit but your son will be moving as he walks up to get his diploma as will the person giving it to him. Take a lot of shots.

06-01-2010, 08:30 AM   #9
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Thanks, guys. I'll guess I'll be loading up with lenses.

Actually, there are going to be so many kids graduating in alphabetical order that by the time they get to mine, I'll know what I'll need.
06-01-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
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I just went to an indoor school performance that my son participated in.

Firstly, I would agree that the best spots are found early on the front row, with a monopod (a parent in front of me had a tripod).

For a young child's performance, this is definitely not me. For a graduation, it may be different.

What really annoyed me is that, deciding I would get out of everyone's way shooting from the back, the "official" PAID photographer told all the standing parents to scoot because he didn't bring a tripod high enough to go over our heads.

Next time I will tell him to get stuffed. Maybe not politely.

I guess that's my way of saying see who is behind you, and ill-prepared, even though you are being conscientious.
06-02-2010, 08:17 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Thanks, guys. I'll guess I'll be loading up with lenses.

Actually, there are going to be so many kids graduating in alphabetical order that by the time they get to mine, I'll know what I'll need.
One of the things I did on both occasions was shoot off shots of other kids and check the LCD and histogram to get a pretty good idea what I might end up with. Of both graduations, I have over 500 shots.
06-02-2010, 08:27 AM   #12
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My only graduation shooting experience was my eldest son's, noon, mid to late June, in Virginia. Hot hot hot. Close to 100 degrees, bright sun, and high humidity. And in the football stadium. They were in the middle of the field and we all had to watch from the bleachers. I could have used a 500 but had to settle for my old 70-300. Enjoy the AC!
06-02-2010, 08:46 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Unsinkable II Quote
I just went to an indoor school performance that my son participated in.

Firstly, I would agree that the best spots are found early on the front row, with a monopod (a parent in front of me had a tripod).

For a young child's performance, this is definitely not me. For a graduation, it may be different.

What really annoyed me is that, deciding I would get out of everyone's way shooting from the back, the "official" PAID photographer told all the standing parents to scoot because he didn't bring a tripod high enough to go over our heads.

Next time I will tell him to get stuffed. Maybe not politely.

I guess that's my way of saying see who is behind you, and ill-prepared, even though you are being conscientious.
I had the paid photographers in the bottom of all my shots. In both graduations, the students were all in the first several rows of seats so there was no getting in close. They seemed to know just when to stand up and shoot. There were 3 of them, like jack in the boxes. I suppose if I want shots without the backs of their heads in the frame, I'll have to buy some.
06-02-2010, 09:05 AM   #14
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I have my son's pre-school graduation soon, and I expect to have my 50-135 on the camera the most. I don't know what the exact setup will be, but if it is like other events they've had indoors, the focal length of the 50-135 should be pretty solid, and the 2.8 will come in handy. I've had success with the 50-135 at some of his other school events. I'll likely bring along the 17-50 just in case I need wider, and maybe my FA 100-300 in case I need longer.
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