August 29, 2021

Alphatracks

Sony and Minolta SLR Weblog

Bar Camp Charlotte 3 in available light

BarCamp Charlotte returned to Area 15 in Charlotte's NODA district. BarCampCLT just keeps getting better, and I really enjoyed my time at the "un-conference."
I shot this image of Emcee Philip Dodds with my trusty Vivitar 135 M42 lens at  an aperture of f/2.8. The ISO on the Sony A350 was 800.
I shot this photo of Philip Dodds, one of BarCamp Charlotte's organizers, with my trusty Vivitar 135 M42 lens at an aperture of f/2.8. The ISO on the Sony A350 was 800.

BarCamp Charlotte returned to Area 15 in Charlotte’s NODA district, and I was on hand for the third edition. BarCampCLT just keeps getting better, and I really enjoyed my time at the “un-conference.”

I’ve posted galleries of the pervious Charlotte Bar Camps on Alphatracks. For the third edition, I choose to shoot everything with available light; no flash. I also wound up shooting the entire day without using a single A-mount lens. My lenses for this shoot were the Minolta Rokkor 58mm f/1.4, the Rokkor 16mm f/2.8 and the Vivitar 135mm f/2.8.

I chose these lenses over my comparable A-mount lenses because they were the fastest lenses I own for their particular focal length. Most of my A-mount zooms feature a maximum aperture of f/3.5 or f/4 and I needed more aperture. So I used my older lenses with an A-mount adapter and would up setting the exposure manually for everything.

I wasn’t trying to be cute by limiting myself to non-auto-focus A-mount glass, it simply worked out that my fastest lenses for the task proved to be manual-focus lenses attached to the Sony Alpha A350 with an adapter.

I did bring a couple of flash units, but I elected not to use them, in-part because I had gotten nice available results at Area 15 in the past. Since the last time I was at the facility, however, the main room was extensively refurbished.

In the past, the walls were cream painted cinderblock and the ceiling beams were natural wood. Over the winter the artists at Area 15 gave the room a complete makeover. The walls are now covered in dark green and purple hues, while a dark brown color covers the ceiling.

The darker colors required shooting at a higher ISO, even with fast glass. I’m not suggesting the room itself is dark, as it is well-lit and airy. But the dark tones absorbed all the stray light, requiring me to use a higher ISO to capture the feel I was looking for.

The essence of Bar Camp is the participants vote to determine which pitches are presented. By shooting wide-open with the Rokkor 58mm f/1.4, I was able to use selective focus to isolate some marking their vote on paper.
The essence of Bar Camp: participants vote to determine which pitches are presented. By shooting wide-open with the Rokkor 58mm f/1.4, I was able to use selective focus to capture someone marking their vote on paper hanging on the wall.

Higher ISO, of course, creates more noise. The images still look good, but I think the flash images I shot in the past were cleaner overall. Still, it was nice to shoot candids without the flash alerting my subjects they were being photographed.

If you look through the entire BarCamp Charlotte 3 gallery, you’ll note the ISO I used varied between 200 and 1600. I shot RAW and processed everything in Adobe Lightroom. I used Lightroom’s noise reduction settings to clean up the noise in the 800 and 1600 ISO images.

Overall, I was pleased with the available light images. For the next Bar Camp, however, I think I may return to bouncing electronic flash off the ceiling for certain images.

Here is the Bar Camp Charlotte 3 photo gallery

The official Bar Camp Charlotte website

The Area 15 Website