So I was invited to photograph my fitness model Nicole at a local event recently,
the only information I had was from the event website that it would be held in one of my areas schools. Having photographed school events in the past I knew it was not going to be a piece of cake...the lighting, stage, background and seating are usually
atrocious if it is in an 'old' (older than 30 years) school which this one was..
I prepared my gear as follows : my new Nikon D7100, my autofocus normal F1.8 lens, and my trusty ancient ..and heavy 80-200 F:2.8.
As it turned out, seating was an issue but since I was photographing a contestant I was allowed to be in the second row behind the 'officia' event photographers.
To my left were these photographers one with an 'old school' Nikon D2x which I still have one of those with a monster 300mm F:2.8, the other photographer had a Canon 7D with what looked to me to be a 70-200 F:2.8.
The Official photographers were using a Conon 5D with what looked like the 24-70 and a Nikon D90 with one of nikons consumer telephoto lenses and a flash.
I checked my initial exposure and WB and I certainly had to make adjustments, the WB was FAR too warm and the lighting atrocious...I re-set my camera to a slightly bluish custom WB, ISO 3200 and an exposure compensation of +5...because lighting varied and autofocus had a problem finding contrast points to lock in to, I set my autofocus to single point AF and the metering to MANUAL mode..I set my 'minimum' shutter speed to 1/320 and clicked in 1/500 to start with.
Because of the extremely narrow seating I was unable to use my monopod and my old lens does not have 'VR' something I need to address in the future...
For good measure I decided to use Nikons new 1.3 crop factor and...well my results were better than I expected !
Both my 'photo buddies' congratulated me on my results as I went along, and the photographer to my right with some version of a Lumix actually asked me to photograph his wife which was competing, and I sent him those images to his content.
Even the event photographers turned around and checked my result..noise was acceptable and the WB as tamed as it could be ...still a bit orange-ie for my tasted but..not bad.
For my model I did have to add about 20-30% contrast the yellow lights and yellow mustard curtains (old and worn) removed a lot of contrast as well as play havoc with WB. As far as noise I did encounter some chroma noise but zero color noise which was a welcome thing!
I did have to apply about 25-50% 'smart sharpening' in photoshop 5.x the D7100 does a great job but it is not perfect.
Overall Im glad to have used my new basically untested camera for this critical assignment, my model is continuing with me and that makes me pretty happy!