I owe this classics-based title to the occasion when I took this photograph, which was the World Premiere of composer Johan Hugossons’ eponymous choral work at the Swedish Church in London. That said, my purpose is to write on taking an image in difficult light without a tripod, also while prevented from using flash because a performance was underway.
You can view the fourth movement of this amazing work, “Luctor et Emergo” on YouTube at : https://youtu.be/_0evtcRDM8M
The featured concert pianist is the composer Johan Hugosson.
This Church was built in 1911 and is a Grade II listed building in its own right. However, the original Swedish Church in London opened in Wapping in 1798 to serve seafarers in the London docks. When this was closed and the church relocated to central London, the altar, pulpit, fonts and chandeliers from that original church were removed and reinstalled in the new Svenska Kyrkan.
Photographing the event, I was positioned in the balcony, nearly horizontally to the chandelier and became fascinated with its unique look, not knowing at that moment that it was a 217 years old component in a 20th century building. Although ignorant of these facts, I nevertheless “felt” its uniqueness and sought to photograph it in a way that would isolate it from its surroundings.
My default setup is Aperture Control, where I choose the aperture and I generally leave the camera to choose the speed, subject to whatever other settings adjustments I initiate. The first choice was to use the widest aperture for this lens, f/2.8, a decision driven by the desire to soften the background behind the chandelier.
Despite the light benefit from using a wide aperture, I still had to dial in a high ISO to handle the absence of flash in such a dimly lit space. I was also concerned to produce a high speed of capture to compensate for any movement that would result from shooting hand-held. This went against the opposite problem that each doubling of ISO doubles the level of noise. I finally settled on the lowest possible level consistent with capturing the image in acceptable quality, being ISO 2000. I find that so many such decisions are a compromise, often taken rapidly at a subliminal thought level, based on instinct and experience.
With these decisions made, I needed to handle blown out highlights caused by the glare in sections of the image produced by electric light sources added to the ancient chandelier. For that, I dialed down Exposure compensation by -0.1EV, which darkened the overall effect, but in a pleasing way, adding to the focus isolation and the general low light level.
As a result of all the above, the speed came in at 1/2500s, which compensated for the vulnerability of my D800 to any sign of camera shake. Clearly, I completed my precautions by using the balcony rim as a support.
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G
Focal Length: 150mm
Focus Mode: AF-C
Shutter Speed: 1/2500s
Auto Focus-Area Mode: Single
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Compensation: -0.1EV
ISO Sensitivity: 2000
I hope that you both appreciate the image and the music that was the occasion for capturing it, by viewing the YouTube link.
Copyright Paul Grayson 2015
Keywords: AMDG, Art, Fine Art, London, Nikon, Nikon 70-200mm VR zoom, Nikon Capture NX2, Nikon D800, Paul Grayson, Photeinos, Swedish Church, φωτεινος
Toujours impeccable !
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