Sunday, April 15, 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

My 3-year-old son is learning to skate. So we enrolled him for lessons at the Pickering Skating Club. As part of the deal he got to partake in the Annual Ice Show -- titled "Viva Las Vegas" -- that showcases the club's skaters of all levels. As a proud papa, I was in the stands cheering on my little guy (who played an adorable Bam-Bam). As a student of photography, of course I brought along my camera.

Anyone who has tried to take pictures at such events knows you're at the mercy of one very real problem: it's dark. From the camera's view, it's really dark. To compound things, my zoom is a cheap-o $150 jobbie -- which for the price is a surprising great lens -- but with a maximum aperture of f/5.6, it makes trying to capture that perfect moment incredibly difficult.

As you can guess I needed to crank up the ISO. I went to 1600 which generates about as much noise as I can tolerate. That afforded me a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second. Which is pretty good, but zoomed all the way out to 200mm, experience has taught me that to get sharp shots of fast motion I need to shoot at around 1/400th of second.

So you could have also guessed that many of my shots turned out blurry. But since I was trying more to capture the spirit of the scene as opposed to simply freezing action, in many cases blur due to subject motion made for some interesting snaps!

Here are a few. As always you can see them all here.

That's my boy!

The motion blur here is particularly powerful, as it draws you into the tension created just before she attempts her jump.

Right. So this is Andrei Rogozone. That's correct. WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPION Andrei Rogozine!!! He moves considerably faster than the other skaters. Getting good shots of him was particularly difficult.

Possibly my favourite from the shoot. The right elements are in focus with the right pieces blurred.

I just did this for fun, and I suppose if this was a paying gig, I'd have gone out and dumped a whole lot of money on a fast zoom. But I live by one rule when it comes to my photography -- better equipment doesn't make me a better photographer. I'm happy with what I have, and I focus on getting the most out of my equipment. I'm pretty happy with these shots considering what I was up against!


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