Monday, August 11, 2014

Photography Tip #5 - Shoot with intent (get a tabletop tripod)

And we're back to San Diego Comic Con! In my last post about SDCC (Field Report from San Diego Comic Con - The Mirrorless Movement is in Full Effect), I wrote about my experience interacting with other mirrorless shooters. This time around I want to offer a photography tip.

The Gaslamp District: Tuesday night. Taken before the madness
After going to Comic Con for 5 years, I was thinking of ways to really set myself apart from other photographers who do the typical cosplayer shots. Although there is nothing wrong with it, I wanted to challenge myself by doing something a little different. I knew the easiest way to do this was to change the type of lens I normally shoot with (long telephoto glass) and go as wide as I can. I also wanted to take it a step further by bringing along equipment I hardly ever use - a tabletop tripod from Slik.

Side Note: Every photographer needs a tripod. There are just certain occasions where hand holding just will not cut it. The important thing to remember is to match your tripod to the relative weight and size of your camera. Although I highly recommend the tabletop tripod linked above, keep in mind that it is best used for mirrorless cameras and smaller DSLRS with light weight lenses. Heavy cameras run the risk of tipping over especially when you extend the feet and the “neck” of this tripod. My upper limit for weight was the Olympus OMD E-M1 with the vertical grip and Pro 12-40mm f/2.8 lens. 

I stole this shot Tuesday night during the set up phase of Comic Con
(this was technically not allowed by the convention enforcers)
During the day, you will see cameras all over the place. The moment the sun goes down, it seems they are wrongfully left in the hotel rooms. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to use my tabletop tripod (for a different perspective and long exposures) and to document the SDCC nightlife at the Gaslamp District. I won't lie, I felt a little self conscious being the only guy setting up a tripod and occasionally using off camera flash but I knew I had to put myself out there to obtain a different look. In my opinion, shooting with intent and moving out of my comfort zone really paid off. I am really happy with the results and I have learned a lot from the process. I want to keep this post short on words and heavy on pictures. Hope you enjoy my photo essay.

So say we all,

Lunch Break - The streets were littered with these pedicabs

Date Night

This shot was taken with a 4 second exposure.  I sadly forgot my radio trigger, but no big deal.
Set your off camera flash to manual, select your power setting, and have your photo assistant
push the test button during the exposure (mind you this is easier to pull off with exposures >1 sec)

I was surprised  at how willing and patient cosplayers are to stand still for 4 seconds, let alone multiple times. It never hurts to ask politely. 

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