2.22.2018

The black backpack is packed. I'm heading down to Sixth St. in Austin, Texas to photograph the show at Esther's Follies.

From a "Wendy Davis" skit a few years back.

Esther's Follies is a live theater that's been dishing up satiric political humor, topical celebrity craziness and magic acts for as long as I can remember. For years I've been trundling down there with a box full of studio flashes to make marketing images for them before and after rehearsals. Last year we changed gears a bit and decided to shoot an actual show from within the audience; just to see what we got. 

As usual, I overshot and we ended up with over a thousand images. Some of them pretty decent. A handful really good. It was a good idea and so earlier in the week I got an e-mail requesting a new round of "action" photographs. There are some caveats....

The stage is smaller than the one's I shoot on a couple times a month at Zach Theatre and the lighting isn't quite state of the art. The audience is a paying audience and, since there is a full bar in the lobby, they can sometimes be.... unpredictable. This is a situation that calls for a silent shutter and the ability to scope out a location where I will be surrounded by happy and cooperative people. 

I'm taking two cameras and four lenses. I anticipate doing the entire show with the Olympus 40-140mm f2.8 Pro lens and the Olympus 12-100mm f4.0 Pro lens but I am bringing along the Panasonic 25mm f1.7 and the 42.5mm f1.7 just in case. Sometimes the magic act uses lower light levels. I might have time to switch to the 42.5 to capture that but we'll see. There's no intermission, the program is fast and furious, and I don't have the advantage of having seen this particular show in advance. 

I'll be using the GH5's in their silent/electronic shutter mode. Everything will be, by necessity, handheld. The theater still uses tungsten stage lights so my WB selection will be a straightforward 3,000K but I'll hedge my bets by setting the camera to make raw files. 

At least I know what I'll be doing tomorrow morning after swim practice; I'll be post processing a ton of live theater files. I only hope I can get them done by 2pm because I have another theater shoot tomorrow afternoon. 

It's 3 p.m. at Zach Theatre. Another dress rehearsal for another play on one of the smaller stages. But those files might have to wait until Sunday for their author's meticulous attention. I've got a solemn family event in San Antonio to attend on Saturday.

I like the m4:3 system because everything I need fits into one convenient backpack. I never know where I'll find parking in downtown Austin so it's good to have a comfortable way to carry the tools of the trade. 

Have you had one of those months when all the work seems to be crammed into the last ten days of the month? That's the way it feels to me.

Well, time to head downtown. I want to get there before the theater fills up. My one regret? No dogs allowed in the theater. Studio Dog will just have to sit this one out. 

No comments: