Technical & Testing

My Photography Techniques at Chicago Comic Con 2012

Usually I write a summary at the bottom of my articles that are primarily meant to update viewers about new photographs. This time I’m separating the technical into its own article so that I can go into a bit more detail.

On Friday I had attended a small photo session at Cantigny Garden in the morning and afternoon. Once that was finished, I had around 1.5 hours to spend at Chicago Comic Con. I made the most of it and ended up with around 100 photos of cosplayers and costumers.

Friday at the convention:
Pentax K-5 camera
Pentax FA* 24mm f2 lens
Sigma flash, diffuser, green flash gel placed in the diffuser.

Time was limited, so I used one camera and lens with a focus on covering what cosplay I ran into. I was pleasantly surprised by the level of activity so late in the day. There were plenty of people cosplaying, even more so than I remember seeing on the Sunday of Comic Con 2011. My intention with the flash gel was to equalize the color of the flash light to ambient. The gel wasn’t fully covering the flash, which in retrospect was a good thing. I thought the lights in the convention center had a green tint to them (florescent), but I’m not so sure now. It’s really difficult to judge the color of the light there. I’m seeing more of a yellow tone than anything else. A friend suggested that the lights are high bay metal halide, so I’ll have to research that to see what color temperature they generally are. The results were pretty good and the moderate level of activity in the evening worked out well with the somewhat wide angle lens (24mm + 1.5x crop).

Saturday at the convention:
Pentax K-5
Pentax DA 14mm f2.8 lens
Sigma flash and diffuser

This time I was expecting large crowds and was not let down. The wide angle lens was ideal for the situation and worked well for the most part. On occasion I got a bit too close to my subject with the wrong camera settings, resulting in a washed out photo because the flash put out too much light. The rectilinear nature of the lens gives a flat field even though there is a large amount of information in the frame. Aperture wise, I stayed consistently at f3.2 so that I could get a lot of ambient light in. The convention center, especially the main room conventions use for housing dealers, is dark with oddly colored light. I’m happy with the results, but I knew what to expect because that lens has been a consistent performer for many conventions.