Back in late September, photographer David Hobby (of strobist.com) posted a query on Twitter. He was looking for some volunteer help to take photos of the presenters and speakers at the TEDx Mid Atlantic conference in Washington, DC. I sent him an @ reply stating I’d be more than thrilled to help out. About an hour later, I received an invite from David to help him shoot this event.
I’ve been following David’s work on Strobist for a couple of years now and his lighting techniques and his teaching methods have made me excited about photography. I’ve admired his work and his career. To say that working with him would be an honor would be an understatement.
The conference met at the Sidney Harmon Hall in the Chinatown neighborhood of DC. It consisted of hour and a half sessions of speakers that would present between 5 to 20 minutes at a time. At the conference, David had me and two other photographers rotating positions to get the shots he wanted. After each session, we would turn over our memory cards to David and he would edit, process, caption, and upload the photos to the TEDx Mid Atlantic flickr account.
The lighting during the presenters was pretty low and David wanted us only shooting in available light (gasp!). This didn’t prove to be too difficult. The day before, David did some test runs during the presenters’ rehearsals to figure out the best metering. He figured shooting at about f/2.8, 1/125 seconds, and 1000 ISO would be great for getting good lighting off the speakers faces. The nice thing about the conference, was that the slides projected behind each speaker were also close to that lighting level, which allowed us to photograph the slides with the presenters in fairly balanced light.
Since the fastest glass I had was my Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens, I used that for a number of shots. The fun thing about shooting for David Hobby is that he has some awesome glass in Nikon mounts that he let us borrow. I got my hands on both a beautiful 24 – 70 mm f/2.8 zoom, a 70 – 200 mm f/2.8 zoom, and his 50 mm f/1.4 prime.
Not only was shooting this event a great experience, but it was incredibly inspiring. This was from both listening to the amazing speakers but also working side by side with some phenomenal photographers.