Posts Tagged ‘Canon camera’

The Crayon Court Comes to Town

Paul, from the college foundation was explaining to me, “Bill, donors to the college make events like this possible. We’d like to get an image that we can use for our magazine — you can do anything you want — make any image you want –anywhere you want.  All the performers ask is that you don’t use any flash during the show.  They are more-than-willing to help you make an image at the end of the program with one or more of the audience.”

So, as the school buses began to arrive, Paul and I were on the lookout for someone who might enjoy getting a picture taken with the cast.

As I was scouting the audience of anxious first-graders, the subjects were hamming-it-up for the camera.  The scene below is typical:

Waiting for the “Crayon Court”

Outside, the students were filing-in and being greeted by the cast members.

After a couple of passes capturing candids, I sat down and mentally ran the checklist for the cover shot that I would make at the end of the show.

  • Canon flash charged, set on manual, soft-box, waiting in the wings
  • Quantum Q Flash charged, set on manual, soft-box, also ready and waiting in the wings
  • Radio slave transceivers set to Channel 1

Suddenly, I realized one of the first-graders had turned around in her seat and was staring at me; she wanted me to take her picture.

“OK,” I said.

“Will you take my picture?”

I showed her the back of the Canon camera.

“How’s this?” I asked.

“It’s OK,” she allowed.

“Really? What would make it better?” (I learned this response from my osteopathic mentor, Hugh Milne).

She quickly answered, ” … if there was one of those crayon people in the picture with me!”

Smiling to myself I said, “I think I can help you with that.”

I quickly signaled to Paul and a teacher to come over.  After confirming with the teacher that she was a candidate in good-standing,  we gave her the news — if she wanted to be in a picture with the Crayon Court, we would get her after the show.

She was thrilled.

So, after what was a really wonderful performance on colorometry and shapes, I grabbed the flashes from the wings and got ready to shoot using the auditorium as the backdrop.  We told the rest of the children if they wanted to be in the pictures, to come to the front of the stage.

I set about making the picture ‘better:’


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I love watching rehearsals — any kind of rehearsal.  Concerts, plays, public speaking events, sales presentations — you name it.  I’m the guy who would rather walk through the unmarked door next to a gift shop near the Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland that leads to the utility corridors than go on the ride itself.

When my good friend and director Rod Menzies let me sit in on a coaching session with comedienne, Alice Johnson Boher, I was beside myself!

So yesterday, when I found myself at the Performing Arts Center at Yavapai College, I couldn’t help peeking at the stage.  I rarely lug the Canon camera around if I am not expecting to use it, but yesterday was an exception. So I entered the balcony and saw that there was a little activity on the stage.

An informal rehearsal in Prescott, AZ

The musical chorus director rushed to the stage to send individual groups to rehearsal rooms, leaving two students on the stage (I’ll get their names later for a post script). Since I was accompanied by my friend and fund-raiser for the college, I felt completely comfortable about going up on the stage to get a closer look.

There was a time in my life when the thought of approaching people going about their business would have never entered my mind.  But over the years, I have missed making far too many good images by being timid or worrying about whether or not a photographer would be welcome to over-think taking the shot now. And although I don’t practice the all-out techniques of the paparazzo, I will usually not hesitate to approach people in a scenario that interests me.

So I did not flinch to make this image:

“Let’s take it from the high note…”

This particular image above  would have been very difficult to make several years ago.  Although it does not look like it, there was very little light on stage.  With another camera, it would have been a grainy mess, especially if I had used a vintage digital  Nikon.

I used a Canon EOS 6D with the 40mm pancake lens (great for walking-around) at ISO 3200 (no flash), f3.2 at 1/30 second.

If I had it to do over, I would have done it at ISO 6400 at 1/60.  But I am still learning, after all!

They looked at me with the glory and fearlessness of youth and asked me, “are you coming on March 21st?  We’re doing “Children of Eden“!  You know — by Stephen Schwartz; he also wrote  “Godspel,” and “Wicked!””

Without hesitation, I said, “I’ll certainly try… break a leg!”

“Thank you!” smiling at me as they answered.

A Lapse of Invisibility

They were shortly joined by an accompanist, who upon observing me making the following image

looked up from the piano.  With a little hope in her voice, she asked me, “Are you the composer?”

(She must have been fooled by my Hollywood-actor-style, dress-down wardrobe with the trendy wool scarf and big camera).

I answered, thinking to myself ‘maybe I’m not as invisible as I thought I was,’ “No, I’m just a guy with a camera.”

And I’ve never looked as good as Stephen Schwartz!

Composer, Stephen Schwartz

Composer, Stephen Schwartz

“Oh, OK,” she said without any animus – and went back to rehearsing.

I love rehearsals!

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