Fantasia “The Sketchbook Tour” with special guests Robin Thicke, Tank and The Bonfyre play the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Have you ever wondered what an action photographer is doing when they are standing in front of the action, but are continually checking their camera’s LCD panel during said action? There is a name for it: “Chimping”. Chimping is when one peers into the little picture on the screen on the back of the camera to check the exposure, and if one is in a really bad habit, continues to stand there staring into the little screen (while the action is moving through time), changing settings.
When your finally finished making all the new adjustments to your camera you can finally look up at your subject to see what is going on. But now you gotta orient yourself, but everything has changed of course. Now you are in the “Much Later” zone. A zone where everything has already happened.
This is one of the hurdles to leap through in concert photography. How to get perfect exposures every time, but not miss any action. To not miss any action, to not miss the shot, as a photographer, you always have to be “there” before it happens. You must be in the best position for the shot, using the correct lens to frame the subject, haveing your composition worked out with foreground, middle and background not only in terms of creating an appealing image but in terms of telling a story, a narrative. And most important of all, the exposure has to be right on.
So you check, make adjustments. Before you go in for live action you only have two things. These two things have equal importance. First, the narrative. What is your purpose being there? This is your story. And second, the mechanics of capturing the elements of the story. In other words, of prime importance is that the mechanics have to be in place before the story happens. As photographers we can’t capture the past. We must capture the present by preparation for the future. Being there before there happens.
Camera settings. I noticed when I was in post processing that the images as seen on my desktop were at least a stop darker than how they appeared on my camera’s LCD screen. In the heat of the moment during the show this led me to tune adjustments that were too dark. Pushing these images up to proper exposures in post caused a bit too much noise as I was shooting Fantasia at an ISO of 4000. I wanted to have some depth of field to get something in focus and a decent shutter speed to freeze her movement.
So I’m going to turn down my camera’s LCD’s brightness a bit and see how that translates in post. I try to minimize chimping by getting my settings as close as possible before the show begins, making setting adjustments inside the viewfinder so my eye doesn’t leave the eyecup, and having any highlights that are blown out blink on the screen when I do chimp/check. This makes for a fast decision on settings, still I think turning down the screens brightness a stop may help a bit too. Maybe my desktops monitor is dark. I’ve had that monitor for years…and even then I bought it used.