Some Theater Fun

Working with the same theater companies over time makes the capture of publicity photos a lot easier and a lot more fun. When I arrived to shoot for the Senga Classic Stage Company, producer and director Francisca Beach already had a list of eight scenes mapped out. Not only does Francisca set aside time for specific photos, but she is patient with my need to light each scene – even to achieve the simple, even lighting we usually want for press and front-of-house images.

Some of the cast arrives late, so roles must be traded off to get the show started on time. But that is only the beginning of the cascading, hilarious mayhem as the bickering ladies and their bumbling crew stage the show.

This production is called The Farndale Avenue Housing Estates Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol. If the title alone doesn’t give you an idea of how funny the play is, I hope the photographs will. I depend on Nikon’s CLS (Creative Lighting System) for staged images like these. I wirelessly control SB600 and SB800 speedlights from my D300 camera, shooting everything with manual settings. For quick, even lighting, I shoot both flashes into umbrellas, usually positioned a few feet to either side of the camera. By using manual settings on the camera and the flashes, I can nail the exposure with two or three test shots and then shoot away. Sometimes, I’ll move the SB600 behind the subjects to control shadows or produce a bit of backlighting.

Scrooge and Marley, together again! With both flashes up front, the bed and door cast huge dark shadows on the background, so I moved one flash far right and even with the door, lighting the background and softening - but not eliminating - the shadows.

The local vicar assists the ladies in their assault on Dickens' classic.

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Filed under Dance and Theater, Lighting

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