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Christmas lights photo shoot #photography

1 Wednesbury Christmas Lights 2014 snow

I photographed two Christmas lights switch-ons last year and I have this year’s to think about now. I’ve bought a new Speedlight for Friday’s event and I’ve been practicing. Preparation is quite important with all events.

The new Speedlight is controllable by the camera using TTL metering. TTL is through the lens and this way of controlling the light seems to work really well. I’ve done lots of test shots and I get a bright flash of light when it’s really dark and a short flash when not so much light is needed.

Wednesbury Christmas Lights 2014 (19) (Copy)

The light meter in the camera can measure the amount of light being reflected across the whole frame or it can be centre weighted or it can meter just one spot. I think I will probably choose centre weighted or spot metering depending on how many performers there are on stage.

Wednesbury Christmas Lights 2014 (38) (Copy)

I also want some shots of the crowd and I’ll try to choose shots where there is some light. The new Speedlight is very powerful, but after a shot it takes some time to recharge and  I don’t want powerful flashes into the crowd so I’ll look for existing light.

Wednesbury Christmas Lights 2014 (100) (Copy)

This shot isn’t too bad, but a little blurred because it’s low light and there is movement. For shots like this I need the flash and a wide aperture. On aperture priority, the camera will adjust and give me a fast shutter speed which will give a sharper image.

Wednesbury Christmas Lights 2014 (105) (Copy)

I did get some better pictures than these and although I would normally choose the best pictures for a post I’m choosing some with a little blurring. Much of this picture is good, but the movement gives blurring. The answer is simple, more light. On a shoot like this using the programmed auto setting can get quite good pictures. The Speedlight is still controlled through the lens, but more control is relinquished to the camera. The camera sets both aperture and shutter speed. I shall do some shots on programmed auto, but I’ll use aperture priority a lot and a wide aperture for close up shots.

One final thought, Speedlights are expensive. I bought one by Neewer for a fraction of the cost of a Nikon one. It came with remote control for studio work and a stand. I can buy another one and have two remotely controlled for indoor photography and studio shots.

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The Wednesbury switch-on is on Friday. See you there?

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