Canon 5Dmk2 with a 24-105mm lens and two Canon flashes. And now for the BIG NEWS you've been waiting for......how I used the flashes.
The week started with some telephone meetings with book publishers and editors. And by Tuesday I was moving with dispatch on other, unrelated projects. I had an assignment to photograph "some people" with our governor for "some companies and organizations" so I packed up my black Domke F2 camera bag and headed over to the Texas State Capitol. The governor uses a room on the second floor for all kinds of public and private receptions and small presentations and ceremonies. I was no newcomer to the governor's press room as I worked for Governor Mark White back in the early 1980's and photographed Governor Ann Richards there back in the 1990's.
The room is wide from side to side and narrow from front to back. From the door behind me to the wall with the flags that faces south the depth of the room is probably 25 feet. The ceiling is pretty high and the walls are all a nice off white. I'd be shooting with at least two other professional photographers and one camera crew. The camera crew brought a Lowell Omni light which they threw some diffusion over and then feathered toward the main shooting area. Hello shadows and orange light.
I learned long ago not to use direct flash in that room. Better options exist. But my main goal, since I was tasked with getting good group shots, was to get an good wash of soft clean light that would flatter the crew in the group with the governor. The flash would have to overpower the indirect, non continuous lighting that rimmed the high ceiling and the warm light coming from the chandeliers hanging just above head level.
I placed one Canon 430ex2 on a table to my left and bounced it into the white wall there. I used it in the "slave" mode and it was triggered by the Master, a Canon 580ex2 flash. I turned the business end of the flash around and angled it up so it illuminated the wall and part of ceiling directly behind me. Using the Canon 5Dmk2 meant it could easily handle ISO 800 with very little noise. I used the flash on TTL and the camera on manual. All the frames were easily within a good range of exposure and color. The current Canon flash system is pretty good. Probably as good as Nikon's if you take time to read Syl Arena's book, Speedliter and understand how to make it work.
We arrived at the capitol building at 1 pm with the intention of checking out the room and setting up our lighting and arranging furniture with the idea that we'd be starting to shoot at 2:10 pm. (I'm always early. It's much better than late.....). We ended up starting our "program" and getting our photo ops around 3:15 pm. Pretty much par for the course.
So, what do you wear when you go to photograph the governor and leaders from other countries? Pretty much the same stuff we wear to corporate receptions for visiting foreign dignitaries. Charcoal gray suit, a shirt with thin white lines on a French Blue background, and a muted burgundy tie. Just for this occasion I wore my best jet black cowboy boots. (Now I have to change my "about me" on my website to reflect my wardrobe upgrade). One media producer wore jeans. He was the only one in the entire room to do so.....
I got what I needed and headed back home to the office to color correct, edit and upload. The client dropped by an hour later to pick up the entire take on DVD. Job done.
Now, I'm sure you all want to know: "Is Rick Perry running for president?"
How should I know? I just take photographs.