Benny Gettinger: Photo-Graphic Artist

Up a Creek Without a Flash

Fog on the lake illuminated by lighted bouys.

Yesterday evening I was on assignment 2 hours from home at Laurel Lake in Kentucky. There was a dinner taking place on a houseboat there, followed by a speaker, and then a small live performance. I arrived precicely at 6:00 pm. As I was getting out of my car, I started gathering the equipment I brought down: Camera body/lens, extra camera battery, extra flash batteries….. my heart sank as I realized that I had left my flash at the office. 

Live Performance on the dock.

The dinner and the speaker for the evening would be inside the boat, so I figured I would have plenty of light for high-ISO shooting. The scary part would be the live musical performance outside on the marina after dark. The band had stage lights, so I knew that would be fine, but I was sure that I would need to take photos of the small audience (20-30 people) as well given the intimate setting. The big concern then was how to light the audience. Thank God for the guy in charge of the boat! He showed me how the awning above the marina had rows of LED rope lights. Not much light output really, but at least it was SOMETHING. 

Thankfully, I shoot with a Canon 5D mark II and the 24-70 f/2.8L . Shooting at f/2.8 was a big help, but even better was the 5D’s ability to shoot at ISO 25600. If not for that, combined with Lightroom 3’s amazing noise reduction, I would be completely screwed. 

The 952 pictures I took turned out fine, and nobody will be the wiser. But without professional equipment, it would have been a failure. 

After the evening festivities were over I was released to go home. As I walked down the quarter-mile dock I noticed that fog had settled on the water, and was backlit by lighted bouys. Being without a tripod, I rested the camera on a post, and took a 10-second exposure at f/2.8 ISO4000. I wasn’t sure if it would turn out becuase I could feel vibrations on the dock from foot traffic. I try to get at least one good creative shot whenever I go on assignment, even if it’s just some boring dinner. 

PS – I also made a wallpaper of this photo if you’re interested.

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