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Always a Party Illegal

Once a month I get called up by Party Illegal,(https://www.facebook.com/illegaldurham), to photograph at the Pinhook. The lighting is tricky, the dancing is awesome, and the dj's know how to play! It is always a challenge but is tons of fun. I love dancing while I photograph, actually, you have to dance or there's no way to make your way through the crowd! If you've never been, and you like dance raves, definitely check it out. I also enjoy the challenge of photographing the same event many times and getting the chance to look for new and interesting shots every time.

For Photographers

Shooting in the dark

Photographing in the low light conditions at the Pinhook and other events can be very tricky. The Pinhook environment includes almost complete darkness accompanied by wild strobe lighting and a fog machine. First and foremost, if you are in a dark party situation, bring an off camera flash if at all possible. I leave my off camera flash on my camera but aim the light towards the ceilings using a high setting so that the light is a bit more diffused. If I want harsher, grittier lighting I aim my flash unit at my subjects on a lower setting. I have also found a good shutter speed, 0"3, that allows the colorful strobe lights to show up in the image and also almost guarantees that the moment the flash goes off is sharp and in focus. But play around a bit to get the right setting for your environment. If you are having difficulty with your autofocus (totally understandable in the dark) switch to manual focus. I find it useful to calculate the distance between me and my average subject and just leave the focus there, usually somewhere between 1 and 2.5 meters. I would only recommend this solution in dance party situations where there a lot of people and someone is bound to be in focus. Also, go ahead and take a lot of photos, some will be out of focus and that is perfectly fine, weed them out when you edit. It helps also to have a fast lens, f2 or so, HOWEVER, I have photographed the Pinhook with my 24-105mm f4 just fine. I did photograph this Pinhook shoot almost entirely with a 35mm f2 on my 5D MK II. (It is a new lens and therefore of course my current favorite) It is a great lens and using the old version which is still beautiful can save you a few hundred dollars. In any case, feel free to reach out if you have any technically related questions for shooting in the dark!

Cheers,

Zoe

 

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