The shoots I will be going on with the Cheltenham Guardians will be taking place in the night between 11pm and 7am. This means that lighting will be limited to tungsten street lights, and signs from shops/clubs. There is also a chance that the car the Guardians use will shine their headlights onto the subject/activity in which case,the lighting will be improved greatly.
I intend on doing a few night shoots on my own before going out with the charity to get used to shooting in dark conditions. For all of the shoots, I plan on using a Canon 70D with an 24-105mm lens and a 50mm lens. These should enable me to ‘capture’ the action from a safe distance, possibly without some of the subjects being aware that I’m taking their picture, as well as portraits if I am given the opportunity to do so.
To make the most of the minimal lighting I am anticipating, I will use a high ISO setting of around 6400 and the lowest aperture I can depending on the lens I eventually decide on. I will likely use a shutter speed no more than 1/60, again to maximise the lighting for the images.
I plan on taking a speed lite with me which should give me a ‘punch’ of light is I think it’s necessary. I’d also like to experiment with using a 50mm lens and possibly a fish eye lens on different shoots. I would like to take portraits of some of the Guardians during the shifts I join them for. The 50mm, 1.4 lens should provide a good depth of field for a standalone portrait. The likelihood is I’ll shoot this portrait with a flash to ensure the image is not noisy, and that it is exposed correctly. Alternatively, if I specifically shoot portraits on the night, I could position the subject under a tungsten light or by a shop window (the latter would be better as it’s likely to be less noisy). Either way, by positioning the subject near a brighter light source, the exposure would be better. I could also bring up the lighting during post production. I think the fish eye lens would give an interesting effect to the series, especially for the contextual shots as the lens is so wide.
I have considered using a tripod to stabilise my camera and enable long exposure shots for the project. However, I suspect that the events taking place will be too quick and the Guardians will move too fast for this to be successful. However, I think this may be a good idea to come back to if the nights are less eventful than I anticipate them to be.
(Disclaimer: The images used in this blog post are not mine. They were taken from the Cheltenham Guardians Facebook Page)