A World of Theatre

For this weekend blog, I enter into a second passion of mine: Theatre.

My other passion : Acting and Theatre.

I have been seriously doing theatre and more recently TV, Film and Radio, since about 1993. While mainly working with independent theatre groups around the greater Perth area, I have occasionally worked at more professional levels. I have well over 50 various productions, commercials, films and recordings (in total) to my name and don’t see me stopping any time soon.

So when I began taking a greater interest with my photography, theatre became a testing ground. One thing I learnt very quickly was that I did not like using a flash. Firstly, when it did work it left harsh lighting and shadows, even when using something to diffuse the light and lowering the exposure settings. Secondly, the flash would not work over longer shots. So I experimented for a long while until I taught myself how to tack photos in low-light and without a flash. Having a tripod helped but was very restrictive. Instead, I practised finding improvised surfaces and using lower than normal shutter speeds.

Back-stage with some of the cast of A Servant to Two Masters.

One thing I very quickly learnt was the effect that ISO or film speed had on picture quality. I recall the days on my 35mm Pentax when ISO simply meant a type of film. I usually stuck to 400 as that was the most versatile, and occasionally switching to 200. In the days of film, you had to anticipate the types of photos you were going to take and load the right film before hand, or take two cameras. With digital photography, you could change the virtual speed of the film between shots. Still, changing over from a fixed film mentality took a little work.

Quality Street in Rehearsal. Learning about low-light photography. These images are somewhat grainy from using a high ISO or Film Speed in order to get enough exposure. I don’t like a lot of grain most of the time.

As digital technology has improved, so has the ability to take images in low-light conditions. Modern day cameras include noise reduction tools and are capable of some rather high film speeds. Couple that with the power to edit images in post production software such as Photoshop, and the results can be absolutely stunning.

This week, I will be looking at theatrical photos I have taken and some of the lessons I have learned. Hope you can join me.


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