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| p.1 #15 · Need flash advice for dark reception |
The event took place yesterday. I was armed with two flashes, stands and a remote trigger set but I didn't need to use them. The location was an old museum-like medieval building. The room where the awards were given was square-shaped and lit by many windows. From behind my back it was all windows left to right and also one window on each side around the corner, making for evenly lit, but a bit dull frontal lighting. Then from the front were two windows, one on each side of the presentation area. The presenters were often standing in front of one of those windows, allowing me to get some decent shots with lighting both from the front and the rear.
The formals, the ones where the awards were given, were all between the two front windows so the light was a bit dull, but still very decent and the client is very happy with the shots. In hindsight, I could have positioned a hair light in the presentation area to add some life but, well, that is hindsight.
There was one thing that got me worried a bit after 4 out of 6 prize winners were done: a very dark cloud came over the location which made me stretch my 5DmkII to its ISO limits (and break them). I started with ISO3200, a 35/1.4 @f/4 and 1/100s. Eventually I ended up shooting the 6th person with ISO6400, f/3.5 and 1/50, more than two stops difference. And this image was even underexposed by 2/3 stop so you can imagine it looked horrible at pixel level. I still decided not to revert to flash (I could have done that, I did put them up behind me on each side of the room) because I knew this client didn't require large prints. I managed to get that file decent using Lightroom and a dedicated Noise Removal program, that also took care of quite noticeable banding. This was the first occasion in years where I would have liked to have a better ISO performance, but still I'm not sold on a 5DmkIII or D800. This will be the exception (I hope).
So in the end all of this turned out well. I wish to thank all of you for your input, you gave me lots of home work and I intend to work out a scheme that will work best for my needs, using elements of what you use. If anyone cares to see how the images turned out please let me know.