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11-14-2009, 06:33 AM   #1
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Shooting a night parade

It's Christmas parade time again. Ours is tonight, at night.

I'm heading out with my K200, Tamron 28-75 2.8, AF360 flash and tripod.

I'll be standing on the sidewalk as the parade passes by - but not sure if I'll be able to get myself up higher than the crowd.

Last year I used my 50mm 1.4 but my range was limited. I ended up taking the camera off the tripod because I just couldn't move around as easily as I hoped. I'm hoping for some better shots this year.

I will be setting my camera on ISO 400 to start and aim for a 1/40 to 1/60 SS. Does that sound correct?

Will using the external flash be a hinderance or an asset? Should I use the flash wirelessly, OFF camera?

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

11-14-2009, 08:44 AM   #2
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For street scenes like these, I put the flash on a monopod to get it off camera and mobile. If you are going with someone who won't mind holding the flash, you can get it away from the camera to make the light more interesting.

If there is a crowd, you are going to be limited in how you can set things up, so whatever you can do for mobility will help. The light is going to be pretty hard when you use a bare flash, but that will simulate what you'd get from street lights anyway.
11-16-2009, 01:42 PM   #3
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Ok, where are the pics?

Christmas parade in November? Well, I guess since Costco starts to sell Christmas trees and lights, etc... in August it must be ok
12-04-2009, 08:23 AM   #4
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Shooting night parades

Greetings from Colorado, USA,

As I'm trying to get ready for this weekend's Lights of December parades, I'd like to expand on the existing thread to elaborate some of my concerns and thoughts:

Among my tools:
* K20D, K10D
* built-in flash
* Pentax AF360FGZ flash (has wide-angle diffuser), Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce, Fong Lightsphere II Cloud dome diffuser
* fastest lenses I have: 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 28-75/2.8, 70-200/2.8 (rather large and heavy)
* other candidate lenses: 10-17, 18-55, 18-250

Perceived obstacles include:
* focusing in the dark - sometimes too dark for auto or even manual focus; can use at least pop-up flash for AF assist; don't know how well this works (especially outdoors w/moving objects)
* white balance from hell: some worse-than-dreadful combination of street lights, vehicle headlights, storefront lights, fake luminarias, strings of LED lights, flash (thankfully, not *all* in one shot (;-) )
* some lenses may not play nice with at least built-in flash - 10-17 too wide for full coverage, long lens like 18-250 probably too far to light at long end
* for relatively close-up people shots, flash diffusers provide more flattering light but reduce valuable light output some amount

Some types of shots I'm thinking of:
* long(ish) exposure w/wide lens and flash: frozen foreground action w/background blur (e.g. pan, zoom, twirl)
* long(ish) exposure zoom bursts - floats w/strings of lights make for some cool shots
* extreme bokeh - close focus, lights in background w/fast lens wide aperture (full range of auto-ISO?)
* crowd and/or float shots w/18-55 or 28-75 and built-in flash; max light would add wireless AF360 in one hand (I like the flash-on-monopod idea, even at the expense of carrying around *even more* stuff). What mode for best success w/flash(es) - manual, green, program? Auto ISO or fixed, e.g. 400 or 800? Try to manual focus, use medium aperture like f8?
* small aperture star shots - requires long exposure on tripod; tripod a liability in crowds, but might be able to find a suitable out-of-the-way location

Any insights would be appreciated from those who've already figured out some of the various challenges. (Posting etiquette reminder: please quote only for context.)

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