In the heart of darkness

San Joaquin County supervisor district 1 candidate Carlos Villapudua talks with supporters at his election night party at Centrale Bar and grill in Stockton. (Camera: NIkon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 38mm. Exposure: 1/15th sec. @ f/2.8 w/ flash. ISO: 800)

The thing I hate most about covering election nights are the parties. Most candidates have them at a restaurant or bar to be with friends and supporters as the election results come in. The problem is many of those places are nearly as dark as a moonless night.

I shot San Joaquin County supervisor district 1 candidate Carlos Villapudua’s gathering at the Centrale Bar and Grill on the Miracle Mile in Stockton. The lighting was barely adequate directly under the meager ceiling lights that were placed far apart. Unfortunately, Villapudua didn’t spend much time under any of them. I was using a flash so exposure wasn’t a problem. Focusing was another story.

Away from those overhead lights, it was so dark that the camera couldn’t autofocus. The lens would hunt back and forth, trying to lock onto something. I couldn’t even see well enough in the dark to focus the camera manually. More than half of my shots were out of focus.

On every lens there’s a scale measured in feet and meters. It can tell the photographer how far away the point of focus is from the camera. I guessed how far Villapudua was from me and then set the lens’ focus until the scale read about 4 feet and then just tried to keep that distance from him when I shot.

There are times that even as a professional photographer I have to shoot on a wing and a prayer, fortunately it’s not that often.

This entry was posted in General news, lighting and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Categories

  • Archives