Back to the past. Just a little.
Generally, whenever I photograph something I don’t self edit in the field. I photograph whatever I see. As I work through my take, I curate pictures that don’t fit into — Oh, let’s say Mardi Gras — but were made at the same time into another collection.
This is one of those pictures. I made it as I was leaving the staging area of a parade. The school buses in the mid ground have just dropped off a high school marching band. Eventually, once some streets have cleared, they will make their way to the end of the parade to pick up their exhausted band members. Well… the buses won’t do anything unless the drivers get into the act.
I have a nice little portfolio of these kinds of semi-Mardi Gras pictures that I’m going to start sharing with you over the course of the next few days. I think that I’ll mix them with some new spring work.
The picture. Newer gear means easier tricks. This picture is hand-held. I was walking back to my car when I saw the scene. I made a few frames without anybody walking in the street as sort of insurance. I waited until somebody crossed the street. This was one of those rare occasions when you can wander in the middle of the street because it’s closed to traffic. The cars you see in the background are police or sheriff’s cars. Once I made the picture that I thought I wanted, I left and headed to my car.
There is one trick that I can tell you about. If you are in low or changing light set your ISO to automatic, even if everything else is manual. Not only does this compensate for changing light, but because cameras these days are really small computers, they also make much better exposures. For instance, at this time of day you might set your ISO to 2,000. But you might not need an ISO of 2,000. By setting the ISO there you might introduce a lot of noise into your image. If you let the camera pick the ISO, even if it says 2,000 it might really be seeing at an ISO of — just guessing — 1875. Better exposure and less noise. Also less work in post production. And, if you are shooting JPEGS you are probably dead on.
Of course, the best way to meter light is with a hand-held meter and all manual settings. But, sometimes when the action is fast paced you just don’t have time to do that.