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Wednesbury Christmas Lights switch-on #photography

XMAS LIGHTS 2015 (20)

I photographed the Christmas Lights switch-on in Wednesbury on Friday. As you can see from this photo, it was dark and it was wet. To add to everything I had to do with camera settings, I also had a new Speedlight to set and I needed to keep the camera dry. The Speedlight is an external flash.

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The best thing to do at events is to zoom in with a wide aperture and get close up shots. I was a little too far away for this shot, I would have like it sharper and the background blurred. The Speedlight did give me enough light, though. You can pay about £400 for a Nikon Speedlight, but a Neewer Speedlight is a fraction of the price and mine came with a remote control for studio work.

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The celebrity entertaining the crowd and switching on the lights this year was Ray Quinn, another X-Factor star. For this shot, the flash was controlled through the lens (e-TTL) by the light meter and was a direct flash. It was impossible to judge whether I had enough light. I had enough problems with the umbrella blowing in the wind.

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The Speedlight competes against the stage lighting which in this case was giving a pink glow. In this shot, you can see one of the dignitaries was wearing a red coat. That was like a neon sign in some of the shots. I actually used decolour to tone down some of the bright colours in editing.

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The flash didn’t go off for this shot. The Speedlight has to charge and a light comes on to tell me it’s charged. You can’t really keep checking the light or you miss shots and in the rain you’re struggling anyway. I just changed this picture to black and white and added a little green/yellow tint.

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The weather has been stormy, but I will go back and photograph the Christmas lights around town. They are bigger this year so I might get some good shots. The best time to photograph them will be just after it gets dark when there is still a little natural light. I can use a narrower aperture and get more depth of field.

I have been invited to another Christmas lights switch-on, this time indoors. That will be much easier to photograph, but again it will be close to the Friday afternoon rush hour so I have to consider getting through the traffic.

I’ll be doing more posts about using a Speedlight soon. You can find the Neewer Speedlight on Amazon.

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