Friday, March 10, 2006

The Reverand Ralph Abernathy

The photo of Rev. Ralph Abernathy was shot on the campus of the University of Miami to a mixed race audience. I was shooting Ilford HP4 in a double stroke M3 with a black 85mm f/2 Nikkor, a great lens I always regretted selling. A few years ago I found a clean chrome version and just love it. The M3 was in continuous use until a couple of years ago when I sold it because I'd gotten a near mint one out of an estate.

There were very few blacks attending the University of Miami at the time, and frankly not all that many students attended this. The event was widely publicized, though, and a lot of people from the community showed up to hear him speak. He was a powerful speaker, in a way that only ministers seem to be, and the audience listened with rapt attention. He sure got their interest and held it!

The TV guys back then were all shooting film, a Bell and Howell DR with three lens turret for silent fill-in footage and usually an Auricon, sometimes an Arriflex, for sound, equipped with the them amazing Angenieux 12 - 120 f/2.2 zoom lens. They needed LIGHT for that ASA 125 color film, and set up their lights accordingly. It was nice to know that if the TV guys were at an event, and you were shooting 400 speed film B&W, pretty much the standard then as now, then 1/125 at f/5.6 was the correct exposure. They'd already taken a jillion readings from every angle with their Norwood Super Director incident light meters. If they'd done something out of the ordinary, lighting-wise, they'd tell you. In turn, you'd stay out of their shots and NEVER shot off a flash while they were filming. When video cameras chased film out of the TV stations this kind of shoot became a major pain. Suddenly they were doing a lot of available light shooting, and when they did set up lights you'd never know how bright without making your own readings.


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