|I think I could have done this on my computer.|
I'm glad I didn't pay to get in, because it wasn't a great event. Now, having said that, I suspect if you're actually there to get ideas for landscaping it may have been just fine. But as a photography event it was very, very poorly designed. And there were an insane number of photographers around. Not just "Oh, I should get a picture of this container garden so I can do something like it at home" photographers. I don't think I've seen so many fully kitted-out dSLR photographers in one place since... well, possibly ever. Lots of people who, like me, weren't afraid to get on the floor to shoot at a better angle or spend the time monkeying with lenses and tripods and filters and all the stuff that goes with them.
And yet... this was a photographer's nightmare in a lot of ways. There were two ends of this large exhibit hall. For reasons I don't understand at all, the end that had all the display gardens and the show plants contest was horribly, horribly underlit. The bulbs appeared to be incandescent, but my white balance was being completely thrown off by them. "Auto WB" wasn't working and in various places throughout the hall I had to change to different settings. I have no idea how they could make the temperature of the light so radically different in about twenty feet, but they were managing. The other end, where they had the vendors? Very brightly lit. Go figure. The only good thing about this lighting was that there wasn't enough of it to make harsh shadows a concern.
To give you an idea, though not the point of this shot, you can see how much brighter the hallway was. That bright spot behind the tree on the right hand side is the entrance/exit to the exhibit hall. Look how much brighter the hall is than the lighting on the bench and 'plants'.
Due to the low lighting I had to spend a lot of time putting the camera on the tripod and bringing the apature down to about 22 or smaller (I played with 45 in some areas) and run a crazy long shutter to get a reasonable shot. Having just gotten my camera cleaned (more about that later) I wanted to keep my ISO at 100 as often as possible, so I decided to take the time getting the long exposure shots. Which can be pretty flipping difficult when there are a lot of people milling about in non-intuitive paths. I think I've decided that I need to start going to some of these events armed with a stack of postcards or flyers that explain to people a little bit of photography etiquette. Things like, if you hear the shutter click once, but not the second time, the photographer is taking a long shot. DON'T WALK IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA! An exceptionally long exposure is thirty seconds. Unless you're chasing your errant toddler or you are on fire, thirty seconds is not that long for you to hold it for just a bit. Most photographers try very hard not to set up in obtrusive places or where their tripod will be a trip-hazard. Please show them the same consideration by waiting to go past their lens. Oy. I know there are always people who don't realize they're walking into your shot, but this place seemed to have an inordinate number of people who would walk through going, "Oh gee are you shooting? Sorry." Or one person in their party would stop and wait and someone else would say to them, "Oh, it's fine, you can go past, she isn't shooting," without asking if it was actually okay for them to go past or if I was shooting.
The show had a few other problems that were more relative to how the show is billed and promoted around Chicago vs. what you actually get... The show is all over every local news channel. They run the free Navy Pier trolleys for the event, even though they're generally shut down in the winter. It's made out to be a Very Big Deal. And some of it is obviously very cool. There were some really interesting garden and patio/porch displays by people from all over the country. But then there were some really odd things too...
Between the show gardens and the vendors' area there are these 'rooms' set up by various sponsors.
Anyway, I got a lot of shots that will actually make for some great teaching moments. I always wanted this to be a place where we could discuss technique and methods, but it's mostly been, "Look! I took a picture of a thing!" I've been reading a 'bookazine', as they call it, and they're breaking down both the basic and more specific concepts in photography and it's been helping me a lot.
So, while showing off the pictures I took (because, hey, I need to do that too. :) I want to talk about some basic concepts that new photographers might not be overly familiar with or that more seasoned folks haven't thought about.
To wit, I'll be posting on:
• ISO, so what?
• White balance: what color is your environmental light?
• You probably bathe your dog more often than you clean your camera. You may want to do something about that.
But before I go... just a few of the good shots that I was pretty pleased with.
|Wouldn't Look out of Place on Canvas|
|A Rose of Fire|
Okay, the next post will actually be a discussion of white balance and why it's worth fighting with. :)