In this post I want to show some of the image from the weekend, and go into the nuts and bolts of shooting the event - a sort of personal de-brief now that the dust has settled (and my feet have recovered).
|Sung worship. Canon 5D & 20-35mm|
Well, to start with, I used both of my Canon DSLR's - the 5D and the 20D - and set them up exactly the same. Both were set on centre weighted metering, tungsten white balance, AI Servo auto focus and ISO 1600. I also shot in AV (Aperture mode), wide open for the whole weekend. Both were also set to highest quality jpeg so I could download and hand-off the images instantly, without having to go through RAW conversion software. I decided not to bother with RAW + JPG since I thought I might be shooting a LOT over the course of the weekend and didn't want to have to be dealing with too many Gigs of images.
|PK Band. Canon 20D & 70-200mm|
I borrowed a Canon 100mm f2.8 to take because I thought I would need as fast a lens as possible - but at the last minute I also bought along my 70-200mm f4 L. And boy, am I glad I did! When I got to the venue, I set up the 70-200mm on the 20D, effectively giving me a 112 to 320mm f4, and attached this outfit to a monopod for better stabilisation. I found that I was getting anywhere from a 60th to a 125th second shutter speed, depending on the lights, and decided that this was fast enough. It's a big venue - even though I had the run of the place and was told that no where was out-of-bounds for me (except actually on the stage itself of course) - so I opted for reach over speed. Considering I used this set-up about 70 to 80% of the time, I'm happy that I bought the 70-200mm f4 L along.
|Lost in Prayer. 5D & 20-35mm|
I also bought a 50mm f1.8 with me (again, because I thought I might need super-fast glass), but didn't use it. Ditto my 580EX flash.
The wide angle allowed my to get in really close to the crowd and get some very emotive images - as well as step back and get in a sweeping crowd shot to fit in as much as I could of the venue. Both scenarios worked really well.
|Ian Grant. 20D & 70-200mm|
The event organisers wanted at least 10 good images of each speaker to choose from - but using the technique above I managed to give them twice as much!
|Corridor. Canon 5D & 20-35mm|
It's the image above, 'Corridor' and literally was a grab shot I took while going from one room to another. As I was about to go onto the top floor to get some wide crowd shots looking down from above, I spied this group just standing at the end of a long corridor. I swung the 5D to my eye, snapped one shot, and went on to get the photos I was after. This is 'my' shot for the weekend. I love the light, the silhouette, and enigma of this image, and despite it not fitting in with the brief, I'm glad I took it.
|Bill Subritzky. Canon 20D & 70-200mm f4L|
Overall, the weekend shooting at the Christchurch Promise Keepers event was incredibly positive - and fun. I was nervous going in to it since it was such an unknown quantity (photographically speaking), but it turns out I needn't have worried. I got some fantastic images that the PK event team are thrilled with, and at the end of the day that was all I wanted to achieve. I was very sore by the end of it (I have a problem with my ankles if I stand for too long), but looking back over the photos, the pain was worth it.
Even though I enjoyed the experience, it might be a while before I do it again. Next year I'm going to take my son Joshua to Promise Keepers to actually sit and be part of the crowd. He'll be 11, and old enough to take part in one of the break-out groups for young boys. He's very excited about going, and so am I. Only one year to wait! :-)