Hanging around the bar

Kim Cooke -1

I thought on this eve of a New Year I would reflect on a technique for low light photography, as I assume a number of photographs will be taken this night. Of course, I am referring to those taken without flash, but I will be likely taking both tonight at our annual New Year’s Eve party.

Kim Cooke -6When I am photographing an event, I have learned to for pockets of light. Invariably, the bar seems to be reasonably well light regardless of the venue. Not only does everyone eventually find themselves at the bar at some point in the evening, they tend to “pose” and I find very self-reflective portraits evolve.

So, as I wander the room, I move to spots where I can watch a light source and wait. It almost sounds like I’m hunting.

Scott_RayThe light can be contrasty and is often directly overhead. Still, considering the situation, the poses can overcome the technical aspects of the photo – high grain and poor light.

Early in the event I circle around and try to take a number of photos being very obvious with the camera. I do this so everyone gets familiar and bored with the guy with the camera and start to ignore me. It is later in the event (evening) where I get the better shots. They are more relaxed with me and, generally, alcohol is involved (not me, them).

Deep in ThoughtI don’t like using flash at events if I can avoid it. (There are times, such as presentations, where flash is expected, so I pull it out then.) I find flash moves the focus from the people enjoying themselves to me. Not what I want.

SLY_8788 B&W VeniceSo tonight, I will have my camera handy and wander around taking photos. I’ll make sure the lighting works in my favour for a change, and I will “hang out” in a couple of key spots and “capture” my guests.

I hope everyone has a wonderful (and safe) New Year’s Eve.


9 responses to “Hanging around the bar

  1. Love the lady at the bar. What an awesome shot!

  2. Until recently, I was using Photoshop CS4 but recently upgraded to CS6 and Lightroom 4. I have a part-time teaching job that allows me to purchase software at the educational discount. You can do that as a student even if you enrol in an adult-ed class. I like the conversion to B&W in Photoshop, but I believe Elements does the same thing for a lot less. The noise reduction in CS6 is a major improvement over the earlier versions.

    If I had nothing, I would use Lightroom and Elements.

    I’ve been taking photographs since I was 8 years old and 50 years later, I love it as much if not more. Welcome to your creative years. Oh, and you will be poor. We love gadgets.

  3. I’ve already figured the poor thing out. I downloaded a Lightroom trial and it seems pretty easy to use. Next, I’d like to try out Elements and eventually give Gimp a shot. I will cozy up to one of them and start firing away, hopefully sooner than later. Thanks again for the tip, I look forward to seeing more of your shots!

  4. These are hauntingly beautiful. Each face seems to have a story to tell. Truly well done!

  5. These are beautiful Gary. The lighting, shadow and absence of colour hint at a story in each photograph.
    Deborah Mcghee (Anya’s Sister)

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