My husband, the kids, and I are all enrolled in tae kwon do classes at Defensive Martial Arts. We've been going for about 3 years (minus an 8 month hiatus while we lived in Mexico). On Friday Pepe and I had our blue belt tests and a group of wee ones tested for their yellow belts. I had the exciting task of testing and then shooting and then testing some more. Luckily, I am generally as calm as a cat trapped in a shower when testing and so often remembered that I needed to breathe in order to continue living.
Taking photos between my moments in the spotlight was actually very soothing for me. I'm not sure it had the same soothing effect on my subjects; they seemed a tad bit alarmed by the camera. I couldn't quite figure out the angles because I didn't want to be standing between their parents and them while they were testing (after all, we all know the rule about separating a mother from her cubs...)Another challenge is in the backgrounds that were present, one side was filled with parents, another wall is covered completely by mirrors, the third wall has punching bags and other gear leaning up along its entire length. I tried to just keep a tight enough frame around the subject and a shallow enough depth of field to keep the subjects primary in the images.
In post processing I realized how strongly the brightly colored red and blue flooring reflects onto the white uniforms - I had to isolate the uniforms and desaturate them in order to prevent it from looking like everybody was wearing a uniform they had washed with one new magenta sweater. I also desaturated the clothing of the people in the background - it would be great if I could just request that the audience members come draped in black cloth the next time...but I don't think that will fly.
I still have a lot to learn about shooting indoor action but I am at least beginning to figure out what some of the questions are to which I need answers. I need to learn more about how to address movement in lower lighting, do I need a flash? Should I just push up the ISO to 800? 1200? I was reading in Taekwondo magazine that they want images that have an ISO of no higher than 200 so I was trying to work within that range but it left things a bit slow, even when underexposing by 2/3 of a stop.
I shot with the camera in burst mode to take multiple shots quickly so that I could start before the kid put their foot through the board they were breaking and hopefully catch the exact second when their foot cracked through the target, however, I noticed that the camera would take 4 - 5 pictures and then need to 'rest' for a bit. I found some helpful explanation of why this happens and how I can learn what to expect from my camera at the Digital Photography School website in a tutorial by Darren Rowse. I'm going to have to spend some time going over the various factors that he addresses and figuring out what that means for my camera so that I can be more intentional about when I hit the shutter button. It seems less like an 'aha!' kind of fix than simply spending some time working out various details about my camera.
Anyway, all of this is part of the learning process...which is a process...I was really hoping more for a simply blinding flash of inspiration followed by genius.
More importantly though: my brothers beautiful baby Vivien Delilah joined the world yesterday at 7:29 in the morning!
Now, if I could just get down to Austin to do some infant photography...