Hustings, speed lights and lady luck

December 7, 2019

So, a hustings is taking place and you volunteer yourself to capture on camera for the Town Council the event from both the audience perspective and the overall atmosphere for something that has the potential to have a varied response of mixed emotions – but what you forget is that the town hall has had a new coat of paint and is not at all like it was the last time I was in there!

An hour before the event I pop up to set up my speed lights, two lights, one either side of the speakers seating. These lights give a good spread of soft light without any glare or hotspots but with limited of space, it’s difficult to position them without getting them in shot.

Quick flash test to make sure the spread is as even across the stage as possible and I should be ready to go but just need to check on one thing, my exposure for the ambient light so when taking images of the audience, I can get the detail matched in as mush as possible with the stage lighting, so camera set to full manual keeping my shutter speed just below the flash sync speed and set my aperture to control the exposure for the ambient light. I review the first test shot and what! ???? Its way underexposed, I can normally guess an average reading but I’m way out. With not much to play with around the aperture setting, I need to bump up my ISO, 800 was my starting point, 2000, nope no good, 3200 still no good and I know if I go much over this my images will look too grainy, okay for some B&W shooting but not for a husting. What can I do, I can’t use my speed lights that I set up on stage so need to pop home for another speed light, heck, I’m picking someone up to get to this meeting and only have ½ hour!

Back to the hall with extra person in toe plus flash and the hall is packed. I’ve got to try and test this flash and hope it will provide enough soft light spread to allow me a lower ISO, smaller aperture and not get in anyone’s way plus fire off numerous flash test shots and not annoy anyone! I try the back of the hall, no good, the stage shooting into the audience, nope, the audience will not appreciate that, middle of the hall, against a pillar with soft box, not too bad but the light is weak. I’m using ½ power and this will drain the battery pretty quick and anyone close to the flash will be way over exposed so I resort to no soft box and point the flash straight up at the ceiling and use that as my soft box – it works and just as the prospective candidates enter the green room where I need to get up on stage to catch them walking on - phew !

Hustings, speed lights and lady luck
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