Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Shooting in the Theater

Our local theater company, The Mebane Acting Company, knows that I like to take pictures, so with their current show, Steel Magnolias, opening this week, they invited me to the dress rehearsals to get some shots for their scrapbook.

At first, I was hesitant to do it. After all, I lost my good camera a few months ago and haven't replaced it yet, so I wasn't very excited about what I'd be able to do with any of the point-and-shoots we have sitting around the house. Going backwards in equipment quality has really taken the wind out of my sails. Plus indoor shots in a dark room (preferably without flash) are tough under the best of circumstances, and trying it with snapshot-quality gear would only make it worse. But I decided to do it anyway, because they were going to get pictures anyhow, and at least I know how to use my cheap(er) cameras, so I should be able to get something usable, as frustrating as it may be

I was happily surprised! Using a tripod and the High ISO setting on my Sony DSC-H2, yielded some not-too-shabby pictures. There's blatant sensor noise in there, but it's not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. Kudos, Sony!

Steel Magnolias


Steel Magnolias: Shelby

And there were some other parts of the task that made it more fun than I had anticipated. First, since I was the "official" photographer, and it was a dress rehearsal (empty theater), I could feel free to go wherever I wanted to to get the shot. I was all over the place, and the actors were instructed to ignore me, which was perfect. That's so much nicer than trying to get a decent photo from wherever you happen to be sitting in a crowded theater, while not using a flash and not disturbing the other patrons. . . . and all that's assuming that photography is even allowed, which it usually isn't.

Another enjoyable part of the process is that I had my iPod on and cranked while I was shooting. Since Steel Magnlolias is really a chick-flick of amateur theater, I didn't really care about the dialogue. With the music blasting, the whole process was kind of surreal, with the disconnect between the sight and the sound. I highly recommend this process.

Once I took what I thought were enough shots, I left the theater and shot some surprisingly cool stuff in downtown Graham, using my same loud rock soundtrack in the process.

Courthouse Steps

Graham Furniture Mart

I left Graham that night feeling pretty satisfied with the work I'd done, and realized that this was the most enjoyment I'd had with a camera since losing my 40D in July . Photography is fun again.

UPDATE: 05-October-2008

The theater company was happy with my work, and asked me to return to shoot the remaining three scenes of the play. (It turns out that I had previously only shot one scene.) Since Jennifer wanted to see the show anyway, she came with me to the Sunday matinee, where she watched the play, and I got an additional 280 shots. Actually listening to the dialogue, I and the other three men in the audience (in addition to a few dozen women there) found some really funny lines, and some excellent acting.


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