In my previous post, I shared photos I made during a Sunday service at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church and formal portraits of the choir immediately afterwards. When I finished the choir photos, I stayed to make individual portraits of the church musicians that will be used on the church’s website.
The photography of the service differed from the portrait photography in terms of the equipment I’d need, and I wanted to travel as light as possible. In addition, time was tight, so I couldn’t afford to arrange complicated lighting setups for each portrait. I achieved the lighting with a single Speedlite and a reflector. My client served as what we photographers like to call a “voice activated light stand.” He held the reflector and I instructed him where to stand and how to angle it. I shot at a relatively slow shutter speed to combine my strobe with ambient light so the backgrounds didn’t go too dark.
Just after photographing the Plymouth Church choir, I was hired to photograph the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church choir. I made some photographs of the choir singing during the service as well as some photos of the pastors speaking and the congregation worshiping. After the service, I made formal portraits of the choir in the choir loft and in the rear balcony underneath the beautiful stained glass window.
In my next post I’ll share portraits I made of the church’s musicians.
On a recent visit to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, I was out for a walk and came across this abandoned motel. I felt invited to photograph it, though I wish I had come at dusk for moodier lighting. I did the best I could in post processing to give it a vintage feel.
On my recent getaway to Florida, I didn’t do much photography. I actually didn’t feel very inspired, and I thought I’d put the vacation to use thinking about other things hoping to return home recharged. But I did have my camera with me on a walk around Ft. Lauderdale, and I photographed this panorama from the Dwight L. Rogers Memorial Causeway over the Intracoastal Waterway.
In all my years of traveling by plane, I was surprised to think that I never made a photograph of my view out the window. I always select a window seat and get transfixed by the sights. I particularly love takeoff and landing, but I also enjoy seeing the patchwork of terrain from cruising altitude on a cloudless day. On a recent trip to Florida, I didn’t plan to shoot through the window, but it occurred to me to try as I put my camera bag in the overhead bin. I quickly grabbed my Canon G10 and shot during takeoff and landing on the flight from Newark to Ft. Lauderdale. It worked pretty well. A few days later on the return flight, I planned to photograph on takeoff and landing, so I prepared my Canon 5D Mark II and my 50 mm lens. That lens is the smallest I have, so I was able to get my camera close to the window without too much contortion in the cramped seats. The irony was that there were ads and signs all over with the airline congratulating themselves on how much legroom they provide. They blatantly lie.
It’s been a long time since Plymouth Church had a current photograph of their choir. I came one Sunday after a service when the choir was present and still in their robes. I positioned myself in the rear balcony and set my Canon 5D Mark II on a tripod with a 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens pointed directly at the choir loft for a formal portrait. I thought it would be difficult to arrange the choir from so far away, but the acoustics in the church were so good that I didn’t even have to shout. I took about five frames each for the vertical and horizontal shots and swapped a few heads in post processing to fix blinking or unsmiling choir members.
My assignment continued as I made a portrait of the Director of Music and the children’s choir directors. We found a stairwell with beautiful daylight streaming through a stained glass window. I used that as backlight and added a strobe bounced off a white wall behind me. Next I photographed the Tone Chime Choir before their rehearsal, and finally I was asked to shoot some details of the organ to advertise an upcoming recital. The organ shots were done quickly with available light to minimize the budget and not to disturb the Tone Chime Choir’s rehearsal. I wish I had more time and added lighting to do a serious study.
I photographed an evening of improv at the Peoples Improv Theater. Four teams performed for half an hour each. Most of it was pretty funny, and I enjoyed the shows as much as I enjoyed photographing them. The lighting was bright enough and didn’t change, so I could concentrate on catching the action instead of worrying about my exposure. Normally I’m used to not knowing what’s about to happen. What made these performances interesting is that the actors themselves didn’t know what was about to happen.