One of the things I most enjoy doing is taking photographs for friends upon request. I’ve done weddings, engagement pictures, civil ceremonies, family and children’s portraits. For the church that we attend I also shoot the Easter and Christmas plays, then post the pictures on Facebook. The plays are very professionally done, and the director, Romeo Ciolfi, runs his own independent production house.
The Nikon D700 and the Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 AF lens are a match made in heaven for this type of photography. The low light performance of the D700 is absolutely astounding, and the 80-200mm quick focusing and very sharp. The newer model 70-200mm with Vibration Reduction would be even better.
In the past I had used fast manual focus lenses, such as the 135mm f2 Ai-S on my D2X, but subjects move too fast making it difficult to keep up, and the shallow depth of field added to the problems as it necessitated spot on focus accuracy. The D2X isn’t all that flash at high ISO either, so noisy out of focus pictures were sometimes the norm.
Even with a fast auto focus lens, the technique is still a bit tricky though. Due to the huge contrast caused by stage lighting it is very easy to blow out the actor’s faces to a white blob of over exposure. This means I must set the camera to centre spot metering, get a reading on the actor’s face, hold in the exposure lock and recompose the picture.