Birmingham Artsfest 2010 – Young Guns

ND – Grey, Bright, Blue

Young Guns – Gustav Wood – 1 BW

Nikon D700 'FX', Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G AF-S VR @ 270mm, Exposure 1/200 @ F5.6, ISO 3200, Capturing this guy in action, at night, with very poor stage lighting from some distance away is not exactly easy. Even at ISO 3200 this airborne performance still shows clear movement and it's a struggle to clean this up nicely in post-process, though I haven't given up yet. Despite the technical issues, I love the composition, and the female photographer on the right works really well

From the moment Gustav Wood, ahem, skidded onto the stage for what had been billed as a “high energy performance”, I had been hopeful of a good shot.

Let’s deal with the elephant in the room first; the technical quality is not great. I know it, you know it, but who cares, just look at this shot. I love it. I haven’t given up yet though, and if I can process this some more then I’ll update with a better image.

The stats are above, but the key points here are; It was night, the stage lighting was very poor here, I was about 40 yards away trying to avoid thrown beer and lit cigarette butts, Gustav was “not exactly standing still” and to get the reach on my lens I ended up with only F5.6 for brightness, and hand-held at that.

The only thing that (almost) saved me was the D700’s ability to run at ISO 3200, and the VR being enabled on the lens.

In all honesty, I was so busy trying to capture a lead singer who had clearly had too much sugar on his corn flakes that morning (not a euphemism!), that I didn’t even notice the female photographer in the shot that I think is the cherry on this cake.

I’d already had some practice earlier in the evening with Elliot Minor, but the level of action going on here, along with the stage lighting having been dropped down for this performance really made things tricky.

I even quite like the motion blur on his foot as it really emphasises how much was going on. He seems to be in his own little world here.

Birmingham’s Artsfest this year has been a good one for me. With the brilliant Nikon D700 and fabulous Nikkor 70-300mm VR, I have been able to grab more ambitious shots more successfully than in previous years.

I must admit though, I’m starting to hanker after something with a little more range and brightness, like the Nikkor 200-400mm F4 VR, but that’s worth more than all of the rest of my camera gear put together 😦 I also wonder what Nikon’s new D7000 would have made of this. Superficially it has the same 6400 ISO limit as my FX D700, but honestly that still needs to be put to the test. Are they honestly saying that on a silicon slab half the size of the FX sensor I’m using they’ve not only managed to boost the ISO’s up to the same levels with no worse noise or grain characteristics, but also having done so after increasing the pixel count by approximately a third (12 to 16 megapixels) and therefore reducing them by approximately a third in size over the pixels in the DX D90 that the D7000 replaces or sits above?

The one advantage that is not in doubt about the D7000, or the older D90, is that as both are DX sensors then the 1.5x crop factor comes into force. In other words I wouldn’t have had to zoom out quite as far with my lens if I used it on one of these bodies. What difference does that make? I used 270mm on my FX camera to reach my target, but dropping this lens on a DX body means I only needed 180mm (270 / 1.5) to reach as far. At its brightest this lens can manage F5.6 at 270mm, but F5 a 180mm, so I could have shot a bit faster on a DX body. In this scenario, every bit would have helped.

We’ll have to see when the D7000 is out what it’s really capable of.

I am rather enjoying photographing people at the moment though, and I wonder where I can take that next…

Have fun,

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(c) Nakedigit 2010


About nakedigit

I have legs and a camera. I also occasionally use a passport. The camera with my brightest lenses can almost (almost) see in the dark. So the only thing stopping me from putting it all together regardless of where and when i am is, well, me really! However, when i don't completely muck it up the results may end up here on this blog and also my Flickr page. I now Twitter and a website is coming... ND August 2010
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3 Responses to Birmingham Artsfest 2010 – Young Guns

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