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01-18-2016, 10:38 AM   #46
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Location: Cardiff, Wales
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Thanks so much for the new replies - can't quite believe there's 45 of them now. I'm certainly learning lots from these forums!

Jim (Charchri) - thanks so much for posting the pics. They do give a good idea of what to expect. There's no stage at this venue, though the DJs are on a small raised area. Most of the photos are of the crowd and the dancers.

Can I just check - the focal lengths in those photos were on an APSc sensor, yes? I can see you use a K-3.

I think those are usable focal lengths for me - I can certainly walk around in the venue and move in/out within reason. It makes me think I'm worrying too much about picking the appropriate focal length for my first prime.

If you have one minute, could you look at my photos in post #28. The first one is a wide shot of the crowd - I'm surprised it's at 31mm. In the second one, I'm in pretty close, but it is at 18mm. I must have cropped both, particularly the second one.

Lastly - this isn't really relevant, but I notice you are in Minnesota. Anywhere near New Ulm (I do realise states in the US are big - I still tend to work on UK dimensions though!)? I remember staying there on a bus trip some years back.

GoatsnDonkey - thanks for the thoughts. I definitely like a shallow depth of field. I haven't really been able to incorporate it into my shots of the Soul Music night though. I guess that's because I'm usually at short focal lengths and tend to use a smaller aperture to help with focusing.

I think motion blur can be great - I need to try that more next time.

Diolch yn fawr i chi pawb (don't worry, that's not rude!)

01-18-2016, 12:49 PM - 1 Like   #47
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Sunny SW Minnesota
Posts: 263
Goats has a very good point a 1.8 lens wide open in a crowd will blur the back of the shot a lot. Which might be very cool sometimes but see how the bass guy here is out of focus at f1.7? I think that should would have been more pleasing at f3.5 or so to have the bass and keys faces at least a little more in focus. Tight shot of the singer is a whole different ball game then yeah crank up to 1.7.

Yep I'm about an hours drive from New Ulm and pass through it a lot! Ha small world indeed! I live farther SW of there in an area so rural there is not a single stop light or 4 lane road in the entire county I live in. There is no one here because it would have read -29 on your thermometer here last night! Yep shooting with a K-3 so it's a crop sensor.

Personally I thought your shots were great and I love the use of monochrome in them. It makes the hard light of the flash feel right at home and I like them a lot. I think you are on the right track and won't take much to get where you want to be but I like the style of what you are doing a lot. They all tell a story and put you in the room and they all are full of energy and life. You are your own worst critic!

You are in very tight quarters for sure and I think I'd still lean toward the 35 and crop if needed. But looking at those shots again I was reminded of the first flash defuser I made for my pop up flash. Actually it was about the 4th one I made but the first one that got really good results. It started with a take out gravy container a frosty clear CD sleeve as I recall. With as low of ceiling as you have if you can force your flash to about 1/64 I think it would work like a charm for you. Actually, now that I think about it I wonder if that puppy would fit on your camera. It looks stupid but works great and I've got a f1.2 manual focus 50mm that really needs a home and would fit right in it for shipping. Tell you what, PM me your address and I'll pop them both in the post to you this week and see what you can make happen with them. With your young eyes manual focus is no big deal and you will at least have a couple of toys to play with till better comes along.

Last edited by charchri4; 01-18-2016 at 01:18 PM.
01-18-2016, 01:07 PM - 1 Like   #48

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
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Also bear in mind with a 35mm or 50mm lens and taking pictures of say people higher ISO is often more useful than f1.8, f1.4 or f1.2. Because you'll need around 1/60+ shutter and f3.2+ to get DOF and shutter speed for mild motion of hands/body a lot of the time. F1.8 and close to a subject means only one subject will be in good focus and that could be only the face too.

If you have two or more people not standing in the same plane of focus then you need DOF. That is a generalization, of course, and there are many ways/reason to shoot wider but reviewing some of my f1.8 glass with people pictures, I am hard pressed to find any with an aperture wider than f2.8 and those are only single people shots.
01-20-2016, 03:25 AM   #49
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Location: Cardiff, Wales
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Jim/Tuco - thanks for the posts. Sorry for the slow reply.

Yes, I can see your points about f1.8. I do like the photo with the bass player Jim linked to. I can see it might be better with more DoF, but I think I'd like to try some shots at our event with that DoF. The photos get a lot of views, but they are mostly on Facebook on smartphones and people are not appraising the photos that closely. They are more about memories and capturing the feeling of the night.

The main impetus for looking at fast primes is that I find the flash a bit obtrusive, but I can see f1.8 might cause difficulties.

Tuco - I am happy to use higher ISO within reason. I have found some of them too grainy in the past, but again, given the way most view them I probably made too much of that.

I think I'd like to try both a 35mm and a 50mm eventually.

Jim - thanks for the kind words. I enjoy taking the photos and think they do capture the night. It's about people (18-70), fun, dancing, coming together etc. The B&W "fits" - a lot of the photos of the soul music scene in the UK were in this style and it somehow "fits". There's an interesting musical movement in the UK called Northern Soul than sprung up 40/50 years ago and is still very popular to this day. It's kind of my attempt to re-create the photos from the time when that scene was at it's height.

If you're into music and society, Northern Soul is actually a really interesting phenomenon. Started in the 60/70s with white working class folks in very industrial northern towns ignoring mainstream and obsessively chasing obscure US soul records by little-known soul artists. To this day, there's soul singers who are barely remembered in the US who come to the UK and play to audiences where they are venerated. There was a very distinctive look to the dancing, clothes etc and the photos from those days reflect that.

Thanks so much for the offer of the equipment. I will PM you about that separately.

Please give New Ulm a wave when you pass through. Actually, one of my regrets is that my two trips to the US took place before I knew anything about the basics of photography - I'd just click away. I find my photos of that trip hard to look at. Your part of the world sounds great - I loved those big expanses of the northern US. That seriously cold though! I always imagine what it'd be like to live in such places - must be interesting to photograph too. I mostly live in a city, but my heart is in the countryside. We have some lovely wild landscapes in Wales, but you're never too far from a town or city.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Thanks again everyone.



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