Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"The Choirmaster"

"The Choirmaster"
© David A. Ziser

I made this image a number of years ago - probably in the mid '80's during a wedding ceremony. It's still a favorite. I headed to the balcony to get some overall views of the service and there was the boy's choir singing away. I put the 40mm - Hasselblad's widest angle lens - on my camera and started shooting away. The challenge was to keep as many as the choirboys in focus as possible - I was back as far as I could get and I had a lot of depth in the shot. I choose F5.6 as my aperture which necessitated me using a slower shutter speed like 1/8 second. I was shooting Kodak ISO 400 Vericolor - that was our high speed champion at the time. Color balance was a bit warm because of the "daylight" film being used in a mostly "tungsten" lighting situation, but I still thought it looked acceptable.

Anyway, I selected a focus point about 1/3 into the group - about 9 feet. At F5.6, I had focus from 6 1/2 feet to about 17 feet away - good enough for the shot. (See my article on calculating Depth of Field right here.) At my slow shutter speed and on a tripod, I knew I still needed to stop the action of the singers. My easy solution for this is to find a "pause point" in the action. A "pause point" is a moment of time when most motion pauses ever so slightly, for instance at the end of a sentence during the ring exchange. In this case, it was the "high note hold" of the song. The choirmaster held the baton in the air for a second to emulate the "high note" the singers also needed to hold. The 1/8 second exposure was just right to stop the action at that "high note pause point." The finished image was a favorite of the couple's too. Enjoy! -David.

1 comment:

  1. How funny to think that a 400 speed film was the high speed champion! We tend to forget those little facts being spoiled by digital iso's! Great shot!