by Sean Setters
With nothing planned on slightly overcast Saturday, I decided to venture downtown to find an interior space in Savannah to photograph. Although not my primary focus, I wanted to be able to shoot outdoor subjects (buildings, fountains, etc.) as well should a suitable interior space prove elusive. I packed a Lowepro Nova Sport 35L AW
with the following gear before heading downtown:
I also brought along my Induro Carbon Fiber Tripod
(CT314, now discontinued) fitted with a Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1 Ball Head
to serve as my primary means of support.
Notes on Gear Choices
First off, Tip #1: When weight is not necessarily an issue, fill your bag completely with gear and/or supplies.
This will enable you to quickly check to make sure you haven't left any gear behind when packing up after shooting at a location. The gear above completely filled my bag.
A camera and tripod are a given when it comes to low-light interior photography for me. The EF 17-40L, TS-E 24L and Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 encompass the typical focal lengths I use for indoor and outdoor architecture photography with the TS-E providing the excellent benefit of keeping vertical lines straight (when 24mm is a viable focal length option). I brought along the EF 24-105L IS and circular polarizer (CPL) to cover general purpose needs if I should come across anything interesting outdoors that was not ideally covered by the wider focal lengths. I threw in the 15 stop ND just in case I wanted to photograph a fountain (with blurred water) or a building exterior where individual pedestrians would be unnoticeable (blurred to oblivion). The step up rings would allow me to use the CPL and ND on all of my lenses except for the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, thereby increasing my options. I also brought along the Miops Camera Trigger for time lapse purposes and to provide the ultimate flexibility in bracketed exposures. With extra room in my bag, I also packed the table top tripod in case I found an interesting place to position the camera or for low-level photography needs. I filled the remaining slot in my bag with a water bottle as I had no idea how far I'd be walking on the relatively warm November day.
With no specific destination in mind, I traveled to downtown Savannah and found a free metered parking space on W Oglethorpe Ave. Tip #2: Parking in downtown Savannah is free on the weekends (and after 5pm on weekdays).
As soon as I parked, the Savannah Civic Center at the corner of Oglethorpe and Montgomery St. caught my eye. As I neared the building, I noticed people were going in one of the doors idicating that it was open on this particular Sunday. Conspicuously, there was a lot of temporary signs posted which warned, "No Loaded Weapons are Allowed on Premises."
After entering the building, I noticed several individuals filing past a table on the other end of the foyer and filing into one of the larger event halls. As it turns out, there was an NRA sponsored gun show being held at the Civic Center. "Ah, now the abundant signage makes sense," I thought.
After exploring the building's entryway, I found a set of doors with the heading, "Johnny Mercer Theatre." As the security guard's office was positioned next to the theater doors, I poked my head inside with tripod in-hand and asked if the theater was open and if I could take a look around. He nodded and said, "Sure thing! The door's open."
Tip #3: If you are in an unfamiliar place, make sure you are not violating a facility's regulations by exploring. Being respectful and asking for permission to wonder about may not technically be necessary (depending on the facility's policies), but doing so may mean favors, if needed, are more easily granted in the future. Or as my grandmother would have said, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."
The theater was extremely dark. The aisle ways were lit with dim LED strip lights and there was a flood light in the middle of the stage pointed toward the seats. After walking up on stage, I could see that the balcony aisle ways were also lit with a few overhead lights.
Unfortunately, I thought it might be a bit presumptuous to ask someone to turn on the theater lights, and I didn't feel like cashing in my good will karma just yet. As such, I tried a few bracketed exposures utilizing the the Miops Camera Trigger to trigger the camera via smartphone while standing behind the stage light. While bracketing technically worked to give me enough dynamic range to ultimately create an HDR image, the scene did not seem inspiring.
After a little while, though, someone who worked at the facility entered the theater and made his way down the aisle as he was headed to a room to the right of the stage. After a small conversation, the man asked, "Do you want me to turn on the lights?"
"Um, yes, that would be great!"
With the lights turned on, the view in front of me came alive. I continued taking bracketed exposures to give me the ultimate leeway in post processing. After viewing the results on the back LCD, I decided it was missing something. Looking around, I found a stool to serve as a foreground element and add a bit of interest. I returned the stool to its original location, packed up my gear, thanked the facility employee for turning on the lights and headed off.
I loaded a 7-image auto exposure bracket into HDRSoft's Photomatix Pro 5
and, starting with one of the "Natural" settings, I adjusted the sliders until I arrived at an HDR image that I liked. I then loaded the resulting .TIFF file into Photoshop CC
for slight adjustments to color and levels.
A larger resolution version of this shot can be found by clicking on the image atop this post.
Hot Deal: Amazon
is featuring the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan 1-Year Subscription
(Lightroom CC & Photoshop CC) as a Gold Box Deal of the Day
and is available for $88.99. Regularly $119.88.
Entry-level DX-format Digital SLR Camera with Seamless Connectivity Ignites Creativity and Sharing by Transforming Social Storytelling
- Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the D5600, an entry-level DX-format digital SLR designed for photography hobbyists and content creators to explore different creative and artistic expressions. With convenient connectivity features, the D5600 is also built for easy sharing and social storytelling.
The D5600 is equipped with a range of features that encourages users to capture and communicate their stories. Featuring a vari-angle LCD monitor that flips out and rotates, it is possible to shoot from nearly any angle for greater creative freedom. The touch-screen operation so popular with the D5500 has been further enhanced in the D5600 with the addition of a crop function for use during playback zoom, and a frame advance bar that allows scrolling through images in playback mode easily. The D5600 also incorporates a time-lapse movie function equivalent to that of the more advanced Nikon D7200, enabling users to capture changing scenes over a time period and create stunning time-lapse videos.
In addition, a constant connection between the D5600 and a smart device is possible using the SnapBridge app and Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology. Images captured are automatically transferred to the paired smart device and users can upload and share high-quality images in a seamless, integrated process. The image transfer continues even after the camera has been turned off. SnapBridge also enables automatic image upload to NIKON IMAGE SPACE. Furthermore, wireless video transfer and remote shooting are possible via Wi-Fi.
- SnapBridge support for constant connection of the D5600 to a smart device
Support for the SnapBridge app means that with one-time setup, a constant connection between the D5600 and a smart device is maintained, realizing simple automatic transfer of photos. In addition, a number of convenient functions, including automatic upload to Nikon's photo sharing service, NIKON IMAGE SPACE, the addition of copyright information and comments to photos, and automatic synchronization of camera date/time and location information with that of the smart device, can be used. What's more, the D5600 also supports the high-speed transfer of selected still images, movie transfer, and remote capture of still images when Wi-Fi is enabled.
- A vari-angle LCD monitor that makes capturing creating photos easy from any angle
The D5600 is equipped with a 3.2-inch vari-angle LCD monitor that enables shooting from low angles, high angles, and even selfies. A touch screen has also been adopted. Naturally, it supports the same touch operation available with the D5500, but it also features the frame advance bar adopted for the high-end D5 and D500 for scrolling through images in full-frame playback. In addition, the touch Fn function so popular with the D5500 has been expanded to support the enabling and disabling of auto ISO sensitivity control, and operation with viewfinder shooting has also been improved.
- An effective pixel count of 24.2-million pixels and support for a broad range of sensitivities — ISO 100 to 25600 — enable expression with superior image quality
The camera offers an effective pixel count of 24.2-million pixels. It is equipped with a Nikon DX-format CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter. This achieves capture of images that make the most of the superior rendering characteristics of NIKKOR lenses. The EXPEED 4 image-processing engine has been adopted, and a broad range of standard sensitivities are supported — ISO 100 to 25600, the combination of which enables capture of highly detailed images in which noise is effectively suppressed, even with shooting in dark or dimly lit surroundings.
- Equipped with the same time-lapse movie function found in more advanced models
The D5600 is newly equipped with the time-lapse movie function, which allows users to easily compress long periods of time into short ones, entirely within the camera, to express changes that occur over time, such as the shapes of clouds as they roll by, or the movement of people and cars through city streets. In addition, the exposure smoothing function makes capturing beautiful time-lapse movies easier by suppressing variations in exposure caused by changes in lighting that occur naturally, such as when the sun comes up or goes down. Time-lapse movies recorded with the camera can also be transferred to a smart device via SnapBridge.
From what I can tell, this update may not be available in the US market just yet. It doesn't appear on Nikon USA's website and cannot be found for preorder at any USA market authorized retailers.
For a limited time, B&H
has the SmallHD Mega Bundle with 502 On-Board Monitor and Accessory Kit
available for $1,099.00 with free expedited shipping. Regularly $1,699.00.
- 502 HDMI & SDI On-Board Monitor
- Sun Hood for 502 Monitor
- Acrylic Screen Protection Shield
- Universal Mounting Kit for Sidefinder
- 2 x SmallHD Microfiber Cleaning Cloth
- 12" Thin-Gauge BNC Male-to-Male Cable
- 36" HDMI Cable
- 8GB Class 10 SD Card