What Is LOD-LAM and How Do You Photograph It?

LOD-LAM means Linked Open Data in Libraries, Archives, and Museums. I photographed an event on this topic in February at the New York Public Library for the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO). My work was broken into two parts, the morning plenary session, attended by more than 140 people, and an afternoon hands-on session.

METRO is a regular client, and I enjoy photographing their workshops. The challenge is often to capture images of smiling attendees which is difficult, because the people pay such serious attention to the work they’re doing. In the morning plenary session I hit the jackpot, because one of the speakers turned out to be rather funny and he made the audience laugh a lot.

The other challenge is often lighting. No problem in the plenary session. The auditorium was brightly lit, and I was able to work without flash. I set a custom white balance on my camera that remained constant throughout the session because the light didn’t change. In the afternoon hands-on session, I was thrilled to enter a room flooded with bright, soft, natural light from an entire wall of windows on the long side of the room. I began warming up as people entered and found a place to sit. I planned not to use a flash so I wouldn’t disturb the workshop. I got a few shots, but nothing representing the activity of the workshop because it hadn’t begun yet. The facilitators fired up a projector and saw that its image wasn’t easily visible in the bright room, so down came the blackout shades. Now I’m photographing in near darkness with dull tungsten overhead chandeliers and people’s faces illuminated by the sickly glow of laptops and iPads. I cranked up my ISO, opened my lenses wide, and continued to shoot. With noise reduction and color correction in post, I think the results are pretty good.

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