Thursday, October 19, 2006

Nikon D2H Shoot: Preserving Sukkot (and the lighting scene, too)

As dusk fell, I made my way to Columbia to catch up with Rabbi Susan, who invited us to document the holiday of Sukkot. Feel free to check into Sukkot and what this Jewish holiday represents.

Sukkah on deck

Never hearing of the celebration myself, I thought the dinner would take place in the kitchen, with the smells of cooked food filling the home. But I was invited to the rear of the home, where a hut stood on the deck! Ooh, wee, I do love surprises, and one that strips the traditional approach from my mind is even better. Not only did this present a fresh type of photography, it also opened a challenge, which is lighting.

Walking inside the hut, I looked around to see where the source of light came from. A single lamp with a metal shade provided the main illumination, as it was hung from the bamboo ceiling, focusing light on the center of the table. The family and guests ate dinner, as light bounced back towards their faces.

The night was cool as dinner continued, and Yonatan kept jumping up for his family and guests, bringing them things to keep their comfort enjoyable. At one time, he asked his grandmother what kind of hot tea she wanted, which made an interesting frame.

One can shoot inside or outside, but one objective was capturing the relationship between inside and outside. A wide angle 10-20mm zoom (made my Sigma, a lens and camera manufacturer I do swear by, and it's currently highlighted on the splash page) revealed the inside of the hut while keeping the exterior in view, showing the sliding glass door of the home. Inverting the camera did the trick again while Rabbi Susan brought out the soup as the light essentially mimicked the style of light inside.

But don't stop there. Step back from where the subject is, to see whether you can capture an image that gives an even clearer view of the relationship of the subject to his / her / its environment, and you may be able to find a cool shot.

Sigma has some interesting lenses available, and they tend to be very well-crafted. I'm not certain of every one; they have some pretty wide-ranging zooms hat I can't imagine could have been attempted as far as design is concerned. But that 10-20mm definitely did the trick for me, this time.

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