Last month some of my family attended the wedding of my niece Jessica in Seattle. We would love to take the whole family to events like that but it’s just not practical in our case. The weather was what one might expect in Seattle — highs around 50 and wet.
I was asked to do some photography during the times when the paid photographer wasn’t around — rehearsal, early wedding morning — and grab a few extra pics at the reception. I had just acquired a Canon 5D Mark ii the day before we traveled and I got to try out its capabilities over the weekend. It has amazing low-light performance and I took full advantage of that.
Here are some pics from the weekend (here’s a link to one I already posted of the rings resting in the flowers). Some are just OK from a technical standpoint but are personally meaningful or interesting to our family.
The shot below was meant to focus on the ring (and it does) but it isn’t the greatest shot. However, I still like the general feel of it — soft light, very shallow depth of field so I included it. It was taken in passing as I wasn’t focused on taking pictures at that point. I’d love to have that opportunity again though. I’d get the ring hand fully in the shot, shoot from slightly higher to entirely fill the background with Jessica’s to-do list on the poster board while keeping the nail polish bottle fully in the frame as in this shot.
Some pics from the rehearsal:
The wedding coordinator was concerned that the main photog wouldn’t arrive at the house early enough to get pictures of the miscellany like the rings, flower, shoes, etc. so she asked me to get some shots. Here are a few I came away with besides the ring shot:
Pre-wedding pictures in church:
After the ceremony the wedding coordinator again commandeered me for a photo assignment. The hired photog was covering the bride and groom’s trip through the receiving line from a vantage point near the church doors. I was asked to cover near the end of the line and I’m glad I did — look at how happy they are!
During the reception I didn’t capture all that many shots but here are a few. Light was challenging in the reception hall. Bouncing flash was not that great (note the black ceilings) and I didn’t have 3 remote flashes on stands like the hired photog did. I still like the shots even with some of the shadows. I take comfort in knowing that there wasn’t a whole lot to be done without setting up extra lighting myself. I just kept a diffuser on the flash and pointed the flash either up and slightly forward or up and slightly behind me. As the night was winding down, Jessica asked me to take a picture of her with the bridesmaids up near the dance floor. I like how the light ended up just fine with the exception of how everyone’s hair disappears into the background. I didn’t have a second light to overcome that. When we walked to the front and lined up everyone and their brother got cameras out and started firing. Getting all the girls to look at me rather than the other cameras was a bit like herding cats. None of the shots had everyone looking normal so I just picked the best of the bunch.
A candid of my beautiful wife. When she finds out her picture is here I’ll probably be in trouble. She never reads my posts so please — none of you go telling her. She never needs to know 🙂
The main photog had already left the reception when Jessica and Jonathan were making their exit so once again the coordinator asked me to take shots. I had the 50mm lens on and there was no time to fetch my 24-70 or really test out the flash to adjust compensation. I’d prefer a little different framing but I was zoomed out (with my feet) as far back as I could get and I wanted to catch some of the flag waving too. I got off 4 frames as they walked out and they capture the moment just fine. There was very heavy tungsten lighting in this little hallway. My flash was gel’ed with a 1/4 CTO and I could get away with cooling the color temperature more but I decided not to eliminate it completely. It’s a dilemma I often struggle with — Whether to keep some of that uncorrected color in certain shots. It can be a nice effect sometimes.
Jonathan and Jessica (my niece) got married in Seattle this past weekend. The flowers were going to be unavailable before the hired photographer was scheduled to arrive (I don’t remember where the flowers were headed…). The wedding coordinator asked me to grab some pics so I placed the rings on this rose and snapped away with my 50mm lens.
I also took pictures of the bride at various stages of getting ready, at the ceremony, and at the reception but I’m not going to post any of those because she may want other pictures to go public first.
When we were at the wedding rehearsal I snapped this shot of the entrance of Queen Anne Baptist Church. A single exposure was used for most of the image but I masked in a darker exposure for the lamps (blown out in the normal exposure). I was asked to shoot pictures of the rehearsal itself and while it felt a little awkward (acting like a wedding photographer during the rehearsal) I was doing it at the bride’s request. Fortunately I was able to get some decent pictures both of the actual rehearsal and of our various family members who were there.
Congratulations to the happy couple!
A friend who’s running for a state-level office had made arrangements to take photos with Texas Governor Rick Perry at an event and asked me to take the pictures for him. While milling around I was shooting candids using my flash for some fill. I got wildly mixed results — some shots looked great, sometimes faces were blown out.
I noticed some pro photogs also shooting with flash so when one of them was taking a break I asked him how he was using his flash — What modes, settings, etc. He was more than happy to discuss it and pulled me off to the side so he could explain the way he worked. I thought I’d pass on his tips to you. On a side note, after he pulled me aside he commented “I really like the way you carry your camera”, referring to my recently acquired Black Rapid RS-4 strap (which I completely love — check one out sometime).
First, some description of the shooting conditions: Mix of complete shade, mottled shade from trees, and some completely sunny areas. It was about 8:30am, sun still relatively low which caused a half-moon effect depending on your shooting angle (full sun on half the face, shaded on the other). It was very easy to get blown-out highlights on the sunny side.
The way both of these pros typically shoot in conditions like this is as follows (probably obvious to you experienced photogs). Flash in E-TTL (both were Canon shooters). Camera set to shutter priority mode with a shutter speed of 1/250 (max sync speed). One used a sync cord to move the flash off-camera, the other had his on-camera. Both dialed in -2/3 flash exposure compensation and only changed that if they weren’t getting good results. One of them explained that he would try to catch 6-7 frames of a situation (for example taking a shot of the Governor shaking a hand) in relatively rapid succession in order to bracket his flash exposure. Basically the first shot gets full flash and subsequent shots get varied flash power depending on how much the flash had recharged. He picks the best exposures in post. Not very scientific but he’s been shooting 50-ish years…must be effective and certainly is easy when shooting digitally (I didn’t ask him what he did in his film days). The other photog that I talked to said he pretty much shoots this way also. I was already finished shooting and about to head out so I didn’t get a chance to try this out myself.
For anyone who wants to check out this guy’s work, check out harrycabluck.com. Here are some of the very cool pics you’ll find on his website: Carlton Fisk celebrating his winning home run in the 1975 World Series (most of us old folks have seen that picture many times), Franco Harris with the “immaculate reception”, Terry Bradshaw in the Steeler’s locker room. Amazing stuff.
I found an article about him and it said that he was in JFK’s motorcade when he was assassinated and has taken photographs of every president since then. He’s covered “more Superbowls, World Series, and national championships games than he could remember”. What an interesting (and very pleasant) guy. He gave me his card and I think I’m going to call on him one of these days and see if he’ll trade a lunch for some stories.
One parting piece of advice Harry gave me: Keep your non-photography job so you can afford to keep taking pictures 🙂