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Suggestions for good parade shots?
Hey everyone,.

I will likely be going to the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia on New Years day, weather permitting, and would like some advice on how best to approach the day..

My D40 is due to arrive on Jan 7th, so I will be shooting with my Olympus C-4000 zoom. I've had the camera for 5 years, so I do know it pretty well..

I am a photography newbie, but I'm not starting at 0. I took a b&w film photo class in high school so I do have a basic understanding of exposure, DOF, focus, etc. I'm a college student, so this was only about 5 years ago. I bought the Olympus right after I finished the class. Recently I have been shooting mostly in M, though the camera has P,A,S modes as well..

Any recommendations would be great, such as settings to try or weather tips, or anything else you may have to offer.Thanks in advance!.

-Jamiehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jbphotogrl/..

Comments (7)

I have not photographed the Mummers Parade, but I would suggest that , if possible, you arrange to be at the staging area where the bands assemble before marching....or maybe even the area ( if there is one ) where the marchers meet after the parade. if you have access to these spots , you can get lots of great shots , in addition to the limited shots you might capture while the parade is in progress..

Good luck,bruce..

Comment #1

I shot a street marathon recently ( actually on the spur of the moment rather than intentionally ). The main thing I'd suggest is being careful to pick a spot where your background and foreground are in similar lighting. I ended up having to squeeze into an unfavorable spot and had to move because the background was very bright ( direct sunlight on buildings ) and the subjects ( on the street ) were quite dark by comparison..

So get there early and try and camp in a spot where you are reasonably sure you view is unencumbered and the light will be fairly even..

At this time of year the sun can be low down early so consider that factor..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #2

Thanks for the replies, I will do my best!Jamie.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbphotogrl/..

Comment #3

Well, we didn't end up going until late in the day, around 5pm when it was already dark. I was able to get a decent spot on the sidewalk without anyone in front of me..

I shot in Manual, ISO 400, flash on (flash is slow1 in manual mode), aperture wide open at f2.8, shutter speeds mostly 1/30 range and tried to use the barrier to rest the camera on since I didn't have a tripod. Many were out of focus or blurry from camera shake..

Here are some that turned out ok..

#1 1/40s.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

#2 1/30s, I think this one suffered from shake, but came out looking kind of cool:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

#3 1/30s.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Thanks for looking, critique welcome.Jamie.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbphotogrl/..

Comment #4

IMO, the flash is the detriment here. Lacking a tripod, I think you should have pulled back the zoom a bit more and shot at a lower speed..

The lower speed would have made up the EV difference and pulling back the zoom would a) let in slightly more light and b) made any camera shake from the lower speed less notable..

Flash, especially small in-camera types, usually doesn't serve well for outdoor night shots over just a few feet..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #5

Digirob wrote:.

IMO, the flash is the detriment here. Lacking a tripod, I think youshould have pulled back the zoom a bit more and shot at a lower speed..

The lower speed would have made up the EV difference and pulling backthe zoom would a) let in slightly more light and b) made any camerashake from the lower speed less notable..

Flash, especially small in-camera types, usually doesn't serve wellfor outdoor night shots over just a few feet..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob.

Interesting, I'll keep that in mind. I was trying to use the slowest shutter speed I could hold, but hadn't thought about the zoom. The flash didn't seem to be helping, but I wasn't sure I would get much better without it. Had I been shooting with a D40, since I'll have one in like 5 days, would the approach be the same, in the case of no tripod (ie lower shutter speed, wide end of the zoom)? I was thinking that with an slr I could have bumped the ISO up to 1600 which might have helped a bit. Am I right that higher ISO would help in this situation?.

Thanks for helping me!Jamie.

Http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbphotogrl/..

Comment #6

Absolutely the D40 will help you. DSLRs provide excellent results at 800 and even 1600 iso. 1600 iso provides two extra stops over 400 iso which is considerable. That gives you more flexibility with exposure time (shutter speed) and f-stop..

Depending on the level of light (or darkness, as the case may be) you might still want to pull back a little on the zoom. Most zoom lenses are about 1 stop or so faster at the wide end. Not only does this let in more of that precious light, but again, it makes camera shake a little less obvious (assuming the image is printed/viewed in it's entirety)..

Using a faster FFL (fixed focal length) lens with a wide max aperture will also help for your night shots. I'm not familiar with Nikon's lens line-up, but I imagine you can get a 50mm f1.8 (or similar) for cheap. That'll give you another two stops, at least, over what you have now. So now we have at least a four stop advantage over what you presently have. That's a huge advantage that will make all the difference in your night shots..

Of course, f1.8 will yield less depth of field, so focus carefully and hopefully the subject isn't too "thick" front to back..

Http://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #7

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