Monday, October 01, 2007

Shooting The Executioner

Executions, we called them, line 'em up and shoot! There's more to it than that, of course. You want to pose the group so that everyone's face is showing, they look happy, the group forms a nice composition both by itself and together with the background, but it's still boring photography, more people skills than photographic expertise. Marvin Weinstein gets to do lots of them these days. His official title at the North Miami Police Department is Crime Watch Coordinator, and he gives presentations on things like how to secure your house to homeowners groups to how to cross the street to grade school kids.

This was at some kind of a luncheon being held at the nearby Miami Shores Country Club, and this group of eight citizens had just received awards for something or another. It was time for The Executioner to do his thing. I'm fascinated by the way people hold and shoot with digital cameras, leaning slightly backwards as they compose the picture on the little LCD screen on the camera's back. It's a lot different than looking through the finder, and of course today's cameras figure the exposure and focus the lens all by themselves also. About all they don't do is compose the picture.

I've been photographing at the Miami Shores Country Club for so many years that I know what the exposure will be, and how far away this is from that. I know what a particular lens will cover from what distance. When I shoot with the 15mm lens I don't bother to look through the finder. I don't get to "see the picture" until after it's developed, but it does let me get in the pictures myself. I like that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Al,

I enjoy your blog! Thought I'll share something here.

To estimate the coverage of a particular lens I use a little trick. On 35mm film a 35mm lens will have the same coverage in feet as the distance to the subject. So from 10 feet away a subject 10 feet wide will fill the frame.

Other focal lengths are easy too as the relationship between focal length and coverage is linear. For instance a 18mm lens is about half of 35 so from a distance of 5 feet a subject 10 feet wide will fill the frame.

Talk to you later :-)

Peter Steinhoff

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al, never been there but I'm guessing f/4.5, 1/30s, ISO200.

Peter S

7:36 PM  
Blogger Al Kaplan said...

Thanks, Peter. I don't much think about the coverage. I've been doing it so long that "I just kinda know" what'll be in the picture but your formula does seem right. 1/15th of a second was likely correct in that brightly lit room. I've gotten quite good at holding the camera out there with either hand and I can usually get sharp (enough...LOL) pictures with the 15mm even at 1/8 of a second. I've done a few at a full second by bracing my hand against a wall or something.

1:29 AM  

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