Photography Weekend Part 2 - Taking Photos

See previous post: Photography Weekend Part 1 - Packing My Gear.

I apologize for not getting this post out sooner; the first weekend of Steubenville St. Louis went by so quickly that I simply didn't have time to write more about my process over the weekend.

In this entry, I'm going to speak a little bit about the gear I use while I'm out getting pictures. Note that this setup is what I'd typically use when doing photojournalism-style event photography—not what I'd necessarily have when doing studio shoots, portraits, etc. (more controlled environments).

Jeff Geerling with Nikon camera gear shooting

Camera Bodies and Lenses: Since the Steubenville conference is primarily held in a few very large venues, where I can't easily get within 10-20' of the people I'm shooting, I typically leave a long zoom on my main camera (in this case, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR), and have a medium zoom on my secondary camera. For this event, though, since I didn't use wide angles too often, I forewent the second body and strapped my Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 DX lens on my belt with a medium-size Adorama Slinger bag (black bag on the right side of the picture).

Vertical Battery Grip: Almost every time I shoot for more than a few minutes, I put a Neweer Vertical Battery Grip on my D7000, so I can switch between portrait and landscape effortlessly, and not have my arms flailing about, thus drawing attention to myself. I used to use the Nikon grip, but sold it after finding the 5x cheaper Neweer model works just peachy for my needs.

Girls praying at steubenvilleMemory Cards and Image Uploading: This was the first time I've used my new Eye-Fi Pro 8GB card for anything serious, and it was a mixed bag. A full review will be posted to the Reviews section soon, but I'll go over a few quick notes here. The D7000 was in RAW+JPEG Small mode, and I set the camera to write RAW files to my normal 16GB SD card in slot one, and JPEG files to the Eye-Fi in slot two.

I set the Eye-Fi to only upload photos that were 'protected' (if I wanted to upload a photo, I would hit the 'lock' button while previewing the photo, and I set up the Flickr login for stlyouth's account on my computer. I also had to use a private network I set up through my iPhone's MyWi app (my iPhone is jailbroken), and I set up a connection to that network while the card was plugged into my computer.

During shooting, the first 10-20 minutes of uploads usually went pretty quickly, but after that, I often had to cycle the D7000's power, then sometimes also toggle the WiFi network on my phone. With MyWi on my phone, I could see exactly when photos were being uploaded, and it was odd that sometimes the Eye-Fi would wait for a power cycle to start uploading more photos. Eventually, though, all the photos would be uploaded. Not quite real-time, and each 2-4MB file took about 10 seconds to upload, but it was pretty awesome to not have to run back and forth between my computer and the venues to dump off pictures.

Speaker holding guitarShoulder Strap: This was the first major event at which I used a shoulder strap (instead of 1-2 neck straps) to support my camera. I bought the OP/TECH strap-sling to replace the Domke Gripper neck strap I've been using for a few months. It didn't save me from some normal back pain, but my neck and shoulders felt much better at the end of the weekend due to the nice padding on this strap. I like how I can quickly disconnect my camera from the strap, I like how the camera lays against my body (on my right hip) while walking, and I like how the camera slides up and down the strap for shooting. The only downside is that I need to push the clip out of the way when shooting portrait.

Overall: I worked with two new pieces of gear this event: the shoulder strap and the Eye-Fi. Both had some very positive benefits, but both also caused a slight amount of grief. That's the way things are, though. My back is still hurting after the event, but my neck and shoulders feel so much better due to the new shoulder strap. And my stress level this year was much lower, since the Eye-Fi saved frequent trips to my computer to dump pictures off the camera manually.