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05-08-2016, 04:25 PM   #1
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Take Camera to U of A Graduation?

Hi, all. I need some advice about whether I should bother taking my camera to a college graduation ceremony. There is no obligation or expectation from others that I do, and I understand that there will be a pro photographer there anyway so one could probably order some pictures if desired. Our daughter is graduating from the University of Arizona in Tucson this coming weekend. There are three events for her: an Honors event at the Tucson Convention Center, an Arts and Sciences graduation at some center on campus, and then a large general graduation at the U of A stadium. I've searched the U of A web pages to try to find any FAQ's or guidance on this topic, and basically found none.

I plan to take my K5, 16-50, and 50-135 and there will be ample opportunities for photos away from the ceremonies, so my question is really about whether I should bother with any photos at the ceremonies.

Also, am I taking the correct lenses? Other choices include DA 40, DA 18-55 II, DA 17-70, and DA 55-300.


I found the following link and while the information is good, the question is a little different than mine:


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/38-photographic-technique/318174-june-201...ght=graduation


Thanks in advance,

Glenn

05-08-2016, 04:55 PM   #2
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I have no idea what the policy or decorum is for the ceremony, in terms of if that is weird or permitted. If you can't find the info, it doesn't hurt to pick up the phone and call someone. That's usually the only way I get clear rules about photography for private venues.

I guess I would consider the 55-300 if you shoot the big ceremony, since you will probably be sitting a ways away. Although the screw drive lens might not be what you want to use sitting in an audience.

The U of A has a gorgeous campus.

Last edited by lplade; 05-08-2016 at 04:55 PM. Reason: weird duplicate line
05-08-2016, 05:30 PM   #3
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My 2 cents....

Chances are it's probably not too important to take photos of the ceremony itself (it'll just be that one shot of the handshake and certificate!). The shots of your daughter hanging around with her friends and family, both before and after the ceremony, are the photos that will be cherished most in the future (possibly more by her, than you if I'm honest!). I've been to a fair few graduation ceremonies in my time, and there's only one where I wish I'd had a telephoto lens with me (David Attenborough was the guest speaker!)
05-08-2016, 05:36 PM   #4
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If it were me, based on the college graduations I've been to lately, I would swap the 50-135 for the 55-300 and bring a flash.

At most big college graduations I've been to, you can easily get two types of shots: close shots with the graduate and family/friends/professors and long shots from the bleachers. The 55-300 will do well with the latter, and the external flash will help with the former because the 16-50 shadows the built-in flash on every camera I've used it on, especially with the hood...

-Eric

05-08-2016, 06:02 PM   #5
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The weekend before last we went to our daughter's graduation as a medico at the University of New England (Australia). Yes, they had an official photographer to get the shots as the graduands received their degree but their prices for those pix were quite high (but we bought some).

The Uni had an area set up to the side where we could stand to take pix. It was about 20 metres from the podium.

I fitted my DA 18-135 to my K-5. The weather was brilliant, lots of sun. Many of my pix were soft and badly exposed and will need tweaking. 135 just wasn't long enough. I made the mistake of leaving my DA* 60-250 in the car and it was simply too far to walk down and back a quite steep hill to get it.

Regrettably, the shots I took of my daughter at the ceremony were spoiled as I didn't see the microphone right in front of her mouth. Here's an example, uncropped. You can see the official photographer on the right.

Because the degrees were handed out under a marquee, they were in shade and I was shooting at too low an ISO (400), my shutter speed ended up at 1/50th which I didn't notice so some shots are blurred, too. Gaaahhh!!!

Set your camera drive mode to high speed and take a few each time. I had some with the subject's eyes closed. Had I shot more pics, I would have still got a good pic.

I also wanted and got pics of our daughter in the queue to receive the degree and seated in the crowd of graduands.
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Last edited by p38arover; 05-08-2016 at 07:11 PM.
05-08-2016, 06:13 PM   #6
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I'd bring it. You never know how good those "pro" shots turn out- mine were terrible.

Adam
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05-08-2016, 06:33 PM   #7
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Back in the day I took a K10D and 55-300 + FA35/2 to my daughter's. I got good long shots of the handshake and as she returned to her seat, but we were at ground level and close. Most parents were in the rafters, and she attended a fairly small college! U of A in the stadium I can't imagine.

The Honors Ceremony, Department reception and A&S Ceremony on the Quad were much more intimate. Those candids with her friends are the prints that matter.

05-08-2016, 06:38 PM   #8
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Different U of A (Alberta, not Arizona), this is the best I could do at my daughter's convocation ceremony, after noise reduction. ISO 12,800, 300mm, 1/320 second @ f5.8 (Topaz seems to have stripped almost all the EXIF data). It was at the Jubilee Auditorium, which seats about 4000, about 40 rows back on the floor, if I remember correctly. There was a professional assembly line taking pictures as the grads walked off the stage, but my daughter never bothered showing her photo to me, so I assume it was pretty ordinary. Fortunately there was plenty of time before and after the ceremony to take snapshots in front of signs and buildings before she had to return the cap and gown. I brought my camera bag with me, tried the DA 35 inside, but it wasn't really feasible to find the space to get just my daughter in the frame. Outside I used the 18-135, if I was smarter I would have used my Tamron 90mm at f2.8. Most of the outdoor shots were at 68mm and longer.
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05-08-2016, 06:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
Different U of A (Alberta, not Arizona), this is the best I could do at my daughter's convocation ceremony,
Bachelor of Nursing from the colours?
05-08-2016, 07:20 PM   #10
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The OP's daughter is graduating from Arizona.
05-08-2016, 07:24 PM   #11
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Why would you even think of not taking a camera? Anywhere?
05-08-2016, 07:34 PM   #12
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I would definitely take a wide angle shot of the entire ceremony in the stadium. The ceremonies are usually colorful and festive. The professional photograph from my son's ceremony was actually quite good, but I would imagine some are not that good. But your chances of getting that shot would not be very good, but there is a lot more to shoot. You could not take a camera and wish you did, or you can take it, not use it, and wish you had left it at home. Which decision will you regret longer? I think your lens selection is fine, go with what you are comfortable with. It sound like you would have an opportunity to take different lenses to each event, if you have room to take them all on the trip.
05-08-2016, 07:45 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by p38arover Quote
Bachelor of Nursing from the colours?
Yes, it was.
05-08-2016, 08:12 PM   #14
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I recently attended my daughters graduation from college. I took my K5, 18-135 and Sigma 100-300. The 18-135 was good for family pictures. I needed 200-300mm for the receiving of the diploma as I was not able to sit close. I recommend setting your camera to manual mode, manual white balance, fast enough shutter, and multi-exposure. Take some test shots. The walk, receipt of diploma, and hand shakes goes very fast!
05-08-2016, 09:03 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
Why would you even think of not taking a camera? Anywhere?
It's off topic, but for the last decade or so that I shot film I consciously left my camera bag at home more often than not. Unless my photos were of a special occasion, no one else was interested in looking at my slides. To make it worse, when the special occasion involved my kids playing sports, I discovered that taking pictures made it impossible to concentrate intensely on how they were playing or even to keep up with the score. If the sport was indoors, even with a flash the results were so disappointing it hardly seemed worthwhile. It also seemed that keeping a camera trained on my kids jinxed them. It got so bad I was leaving my camera behind on vacations.

If it wasn't for the Internet in general and PentaxForums in particular, I don't know if I would use my DSLR as much as I do. Without being able to email pictures to people whether they want to see them or not, or not being able to post pictures whether or not they are any good, this hobby would be much less interesting. It's like talking to yourself, you might be the most interesting person you know, but after a while it becomes a little depressing.
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