Saturday, 31 July 2010

Roll up, roll up, the show is coming to town!!!

With the Brisbane Ehixibition (Ekka) coming up we thought we would throw in a few tips for show photography.

A couple of the pups in the kennel here have been put to the test photographing a broad shot list of images for show committees. OK I can hear some of you snicker, ‘a show? How hard can that be?’

Well not at all if you know your lighting, subjects, weather patterns, wind directions, cloud cover, time table of events across how many arenas and how many events are there really to each arena? Someone should let show photographers into the secret of cloning themselves.

One such show we covered was the Cairns Show – the third largest show in Australia. Another blog will be posted about one of the pup’s personal experiences soon.
In the mean time for those venturing to the Ekka, here’s our top tips:

If possible leave the tripod in the car and go back for it just before dark. It’ll get heavy carrying it around all day.

Get off the main track and go for a wander. Special things happen at shows away from the crowds of side show alley.
This calf was born on the show curcuit four days before.

Don’t be afraid to push up the ISO once it gets a bit gloomy or when inside. A little noise can often be dealt with PP depending on the quality of camera you are shooting with.

Look to make a photo essay of your visit or tell a story of an event. Sit, wait and let the story unfold.
Tjapukai Dancer at the Cairns Show preparing to ignite the fireworks.

Use fill flash on a sunny day to subdue those harsh horrible shadows.

For the fireworks, pick your spot early and try to get some side show alley in the background – gives the fireworks some context. Take your UV filter off, switch lens stabilisation off and hope the wind blows in the opposite direction as it can ruin any firework photography adventure.

Be brave and ask people if you can get a shot of “little Sally petting the baby duckling”. These shots teach you a lot about your own skills towards working with people.

You like speed? Well when the speed comes at low light this allows you to experiment with some awesome techniques. To freeze motion under flash at night you need to have available “High Speed Sync”.

High Speed Sync" is needed when shooting with flash at night.

Motion blur techniques can look awesome. Try panning (best achieved with a shutter speed less than 1/30th and please this is an estimate depending on light variables) or creating abstract with zoom.
Upcoming Bluedogs on panning plus using flash and High Speed Sync”. will be posted in the weeks to come.

Where possible, except at night, use a polariser. You will be surprised at the reflections it eliminates that our eye really does see but just does not relay to us and the colour and contrast it produces which means less post processing – always good news.

Check out others work and know what’s happening at the show. Timetables are usually easily available on the net for most.

Be patient. If you see a scene sit and wait, something will happen.

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