Thursday, October 30, 2008

Governor Palin!

Wednesday night (Oct. 29th) I had the privilege of getting to shoot a GOP rally in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The main speaker was Sarah Palin. Regardless of politics, I would have taken the opportunity if it was Obama, Biden, McCain or Palin but in this case it just happened to be her. However, she is terribly cute and I had a blast taking about 500 or so photos of her. Hank Williams Jr. was there too but I only took about 9-10 shots of him.

Anyways, this situation presented me with a new challenge. First of all, I knew I was going to need a BIG lens if I wanted to get any shots of her that were reasonably close as I knew this was going to be a really big event and I doubted that I would get that close. So, fortunately, a good friend of mine let me borrow his Nikon 80-400 VR f/4.5-5.6 lens! This thing is a beast and I had fun using it. Big lens for my camera, check.

Once I got there, I was pretty far back but a volunteer security person (Tom Stinnett of Tom Stinnett RV---thanks Tom!) let me slide into the VIP area so I could get some closer shots. The deal was, he let me get in close and I had to email him a few photos. Fair enough!

So now I was in there close, had my big lens and it was time to start shooting. I started off in Aperture Priority mode and f/5.6 and ISO 1600. This was giving me shutter speeds of a less than 1/200 sec, which was giving me some blown out highlights that I didn't like and a little too many blurry shots too often. So, I switched to Manual mode, set my aperture to f/5.6, ISO 1600 and shutter at 1/250 sec. I kept chimping my LCD to see how the shots were turning out and they were still a tad bit bright and some were still blurry. So, I set my shutter speed to 1/320 sec. Now, its getting better but still not where I want. I kicked up the shutter speed to 1/400 sec and was getting the clarity that I wanted, but now it was a little dark. So... I kicked up the ISO to 3200! Yep, that's right, 3200!!! My D300 excels at high ISO's and this was an occasion where it was going to pay off. My final exposure was f/5.6 at 1/400 sec. ISO 3200. I shot all the rest of my shots at this exposure and they all turned out great. I played with my White Balanace setting but discovered that my shots looked fine in Auto White Balance so that's where I left it.

I had a blast shooting these, and if Sarah had a southern draw, I might even be in love. =)

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