The Laramie Project (parts one and two) is a play about the murder of a gay college student in Laramie, Wyoming. It's a powerful play about a heartrending event. Zachary Scott Theater is producing the original play and it's follow up wherein the original writers go back to Laramie ten years later to understand the aftermath and the changes in the town.
It's a tough play to photograph and even tougher to watch. It's an important piece of theatrical art that speaks to our ideas of tolerance and diversity in America. These are images from the dress rehearsal of the "Ten Years Later." (Click on any image to go to the gallery).
Photographic notes: I used two Sony a77 cameras to document the dress rehearsal. As always, I did all of the photo documentation without any supplemental lighting. I used the 16-50mm 2.8 lens and the 70-200 2.8 G lens; one on each body. Both bodies were set to 1600 ISO, medium size Jpeg (12 megs) at the extra fine setting. I stayed close to the fully open apertures on both lenses and varied the shutter speeds to compensate for changing light levels. I didn't meter but depended on the electronic viewfinder to assess my exposures.
I learned a few technical things after my first attempt to use these cameras to shoot low light theater photography. I'd left the cameras set to DRO auto which tries to expand the dynamic range of each shot. That works by boosting shadow tones which increases digital noise. This time I worked with that setting off. The files are much less noisy. I also used the medium Jpeg file size instead of the largest size. This also reduced apparent noise. The camera locks on focus like a badger and shoots as fast as I could ever want it to. Being able to see what the image will look like, vis-a-vis exposure and color has changed the way I shoot theater. I shot over 1200 files and lost very, very few to exposure errors. It's a very elegant way to shoot.
The play is wonderful. The Zachary Scott Theatre cast brought a level of feeling and emotion to this performance that defines, for me, the power of live theater.