Lately it seems I’m enjoying photography most when I impulsively throw a camera over my shoulder and go out to do something other than photography. On Monday night my son and I went to Zoey’s in Ventura to hear music from B. Willing James and Justine Bennett. I brought a Nikon D7000 with a 50mm f/1.8 lens – no bagful of gear.
I love live music. I love going to hear live music with my son – something we’ve been doing together since he was a pre-teen. I love Zoey’s as a music venue (and as a purveyor of single-malt scotch). I loved hearing Brendan and Justine singing together and separately. All in all, a pretty good night. And I took some pictures.
As I always say, this blog is about what I’m learning, not what I think I can teach. At Zoey’s I learned that I may have overcompensated when fine-tuning the autofocus on my lens – it seemed to be front-focusing a bit. In retrospect, I realize that I fine-tuned all my lenses and camera bodies at close distances, but that is not how I use the lenses. Looks like I’ll be revisiting the whole focus fine-tuning process again. I promise not to blog about it.
I also learned that I don’t have to shoot hundreds (or thousands) of frames when I’m not on assignment. I wasn’t documenting the event or trying to produce publicity images; I just wanted a couple of nice pictures from the evening. I shot a total of 65 frames, selected about twenty for further review, and got three I like enough to share. Much nicer than reviewing 2500 images from a high school dance concert and trying to make sure I’ve got something nice of each dancer.
And finally, I learned that I need to revisit a lot of my habits now that I’m using a new camera. In this case, I realized after the fact that auto-ISO chose between 2000 and 2800 for my favorite images. Had I been paying attention to this during the show, I could have boosted my shutter speed for sharper images or reduced my aperture for greater depth of field. I’ve got more options than I used to have, and I look forward to using them. I’m confident in this camera right up to ISO 6400.
I love taking pictures most when I am filled with excitement about where I am. Maybe the key to my photographic development in 2012 is to spend more time where I am happy.
By the way, friends in Orange County, CA, can catch Brendan and Justine in Lonesome Traveler at the Laguna Playhouse, January 10 – February 5, 2012. I saw the show at Ventura’s Rubicon Theater and it was fantastic.