And Shoot...

Welcome to my blog; my take on all things photography, travel, wildlife and a few other things too.

Hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Shooting Blind

In March I had the pleasure of shooting a wedding at Matfen Hall in Northumberland.
It was a beautiful venue; lots of stunning architectural details to capture.

Even the room in which the evening reception took place was in a quaint little cavern underneath, which I assume was originally an underground cellar. There was exposed brickwork, pillars and beams and certainly different to most reception rooms.

However, for all it's quirkiness, this also presented me with one major drawback; the level of darkness.

As a professional photographer, dealing with low lighting is nothing new. However, I can't ever remember having to shoot quite such difficult circumstances; in particular 'focussing'.

State of the art digital SLR cameras are designed to be able to handle well in low light. Take a photo of the moon at night - no problem. Even a poorly lit church can be captured and transformed into a bright and striking image, with a few tweaks of your camera's settings. But when you are trying to focus on a groom in a black suit, moving at speed around a dancefloor against a blackground, even they will struggle. Not even my camera's auto-focus assist light could save me.

The pressure was on; the first dance had already begun and so it was time to improvise. Switching to manual focus, I took several test shots at various focal lenths and distances from the bride and groom. Reviewing them on my LCD display and then moving closer or further away,  accordingly, I managed to narrow down the optimum distance for a sharp enough focus. Then I had simply had to maintain this distance from the happy couple (and latterly the other guests) as they moved around the dance floor in their own little worlds, oblivious to my difficulties.

And that of course is the job of the wedding photographer; to find a solution for each and every key moment, without troubling those at the centre of them. This wasn't the first (and certainly won't be the last) time I have found myself in a tricky situation - but hopefully I pulled it off. Check out the photo below and see if you agree.