Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Get the Job Done: Colorado Dragon Boat Festival Pics Finished!

Today, I uploaded the edited versions of my Colorado Dragon Boat Festival coverage for event photo coordinator Kit Williams. I fulfilled Kit's request for me to concentrate on storytelling shots featuring the sponsor booths and families enjoying quality time together at the annual event. See my gallery of images here.

Overall I am pleased with my coverage. This was the first time I had ever shot an outdoor festival and the first time attending the Dragon Boat Festival. It was a great chance to have a more intimate peek in the state's vibrant Asian community. The photo above shows a woman holding both an American and Philippine flag, showcasing her dual heritage. It's one of my favorite images of the day.

Plus, I will never forget how sick I felt from heat exhaustion when my four hours of volunteer service were done. It was well over 100 degrees that day, with very few trees to hide under for shade. So I definite spent a lot of time with families trying to keep cool. Some of my favorite shots include the crowd hanging out in the Misting Station where sheets of moisture fell like soft rain an anyone huddled under the tent. Even dogs were brought to the Misting Station to get some creature comfort from the sweltering temperatures.

The above shot is my most favorite from the day. There is something about being able to capture this wonderful loving moment that is a part of my signature photographic style. And I like the action shot above too, with the guy in the lower right hand corner adding depth to the image as your eye moves across the frame. I was serving as a volunteer photographer from the Denver Darkroom, but there were plenty of opportunities for me to pass out business cards for future shoots. One of the festival moms emailed me today looking for a specific picture I took of her children. I am hoping my generosity of giving her one of five images I took of her youngsters for free will keep me in her mind's eye should she ever need a photographer again, plus she can order the other four shots from my website. And I'm still hoping the young mother I met who needs a photographer to shoot her daughter's quincenera will hire me!

Shooting the festival let me know I still have a lot of work to do in bettering my photography skills when shooting in broad daylight. Many of the photos were overexposed, even though I had my Gary Fong Cloud diffuser. Some of the overexposure just couldn't seem to be helped as nearly everything - people and events - were in direct sunlight, as seen in the shot above. I figured I would be battling this particular photographer's nightmare shooting situation, so I shot everything in RAW so I would have a better chance of rescuing overexposed images. The best shots were those where I captured people under the shade of trees or tents and used a touch of fill flash to light up shadowed areas.

Got any tips on shooting in direct sunlight? Please share with me! Until then, hopefully this link might help us both out if you have trouble shooting in this kind of situation too.

My friend and photography colleague Tiffany Trott of 2*3 Photos offered this "Sunny 16" rule:

here's a brief explanation of the "sunny 16" rule..it's geared mostly to film but you can apply it to digital if you're shooting in manual mode.. hope it's helpful...

In photography, the sunny 16 rule (or, less often, the "sunny f/16 rule") is a method to estimate correct daylight exposures without using a light meter.

The basic sunny 16 rule, applicable on a sunny day, is this:

Set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed (reciprocal seconds) to ISO film speed.
For example, for ISO 100 film, choose shutter speed of 1/100 second (or 1/125 second)

The elaborated form of the sunny 16 rule for more general situations is:

Set the shutter speed to the setting nearest to the ISO film speed
Set the f-number according to the table below:
Aperture Lighting Conditions Shadow Detail
f/16 Sunny Distinct
f/11 Slight Overcast Soft around edges
f/8 Overcast Barely visible
f/5.6 Heavy Overcast No shadows
f/4 Sunset

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