Creating the Publicity Photo for the Musical Oklahoma

Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, ISO 500, ƒ/4, 1/8000

This morning we shot promotion shots for Roswell High School’s Theatre performance of Roger & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma. We were shooting a variety, and then we will pick the one favorite we all have for the 12′ x 8′ banner we will put in front of the school.

Oklahoma Banner [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/400]

This is me and the setup for shooting the first photo that Dorie, my wife, took of me. I am shooting a High-Speed Sync of 1/8000 to make the sky darker and create more of the “Big Sky” look you would have in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Banner [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 400, ƒ/6.3, 1/4000]

This was the first photo we started shooting.

Oklahoma Banner [Nikon D5, Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1400]

Here you can see my setup. I am using [2] Alienbees B1600 for the lights. To power them, I am using the Paul Buff Vagabond batteries. To trigger the lights, I am using Pocketwizard AC-9 pugged into the Alienbees B1600 and then into the Pocketwizard TT5. This is receiving the signal from the Pocketwizard TT1 with the AC-3 to dial in the exposures on the camera.

Oklahoma Banner Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/8000

I am shooting low again to emphasize the big sky.

Oklahoma Banner [Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 400, ƒ/8, 1/640]

I tried to keep it simple by not moving all around the farm but instead using more time at the exact location and varying the camera angle.

Oklahoma Banner [Nikon D5, AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, ISO 100, ƒ/5, 1/4000]

Last night we watched the movie of Oklahoma with Shirley Jones starring Laurey Williams. This last photo has the same look and feels as the movie.

I wonder which of these might be our banner photo to promote musical Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Banner

Here you can get a feel for what we are creating when all the type is added.

Nikon D5 & Fuji X-E2 Shooting Live Theatre

Nikon D5, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 22800, ƒ/5.6, 1/500

I have a daughter in theatre, and I enjoy using my photography to connect with her through her plays and musicals.

I have been shooting the latest performance using Nikon D5 and Fuji X-E2. Let me start by jumping to the end for you. I wish I could blend the two cameras, and then I would be happy.

What I loved about the Nikon D5 was I could shoot at ISO 45600, which also let me use the shutter speed of 1/500.

Nikon D5, Sigma TC-2001 2x, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, ISO 45600, ƒ/5.6, 1/500

What I loved about the Fuji X-E2 is that because it is a mirrorless camera, it is much quieter.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 800, ƒ/4.4, 1/60

Now the Fuji lens has image stabilization. As long as the actors were still, I could get excellent images. However, most of the time, ISO 6400 was the top I could get out of the Fuji, which limited the shutter speed to about 1/200. This was only possible when the stage was well lit.

They often dim the lights in theater to where you need a much higher ISO.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/4.8, 1/200

Now I tried shooting with the Nikon D5 in Live View, which lets you shoot silent. It grabbed a screenshot. However, it is only a JPEG, and most of all, the autofocus sucked. Even Nikon tells you as much. This is on page 45 of the manual.

The only reason I wouldn’t say I liked the Nikon D5 was the noise of the shutter as compared to the Fuji. In every other respect, I preferred it.

The Fuji images put side by side with the Nikon D5 were very acceptable. As long as the actors were not running around, then they were excellent.

The main downside of the Fuji is the focus didn’t lock in as fast as the Nikon D5. If it went out of focus, it would hunt.

Then Nikon D5 was extremely quick with focus.

If I could have made the camera as quiet as the Fuji, I would have never shot the Fuji. In live theatre, you don’t want to draw attention to yourself and distract from the performance because of the camera.

I chose to shoot more with the Fuji based on the sound of the camera more than anything else.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/4.8, 1/200

Here are some more photos for you to see, the camera, and the settings.

Get-R-Done is being performance driven

Nikon D5, Sigma 35mm ƒ/1.4 DG Art, ISO 360, ƒ/1.4, 1/100

Comedian Larry, the Cable guy, is attributed with the American phrase Get-R-Done. I will let Larry explain its origin and what it means.

For the last five weeks, I have watched my daughter and her friends Get-R-Done with Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night.

My daughter is right in the first photo with her friend Jessica. They are also president and vice-president of the high school theatre club.

The highest levels of performance come to people who are centered, intuitive, creative, and reflective – people who know to see a problem as an opportunity.

–– Deepak Chopra
Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 2000, ƒ/3.9, 1/60

I watched my daughter as she designed the costumes for the play. Some from scratch, buying clothes at the local thrift store and then modifying them for the period. Her shopping all happened just five weeks ago.

By the way, the rest of the cast also was just as busy. They made this quite an elaborate set. There was much more work in this project than the musical production they did last year for ten weeks.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 800, ƒ/4.4, 1/60

Now at the same time, they are memorizing their lines. If you haven’t listed and read any Shakespeare, let me say this is like learning a foreign language. It takes time not just to say the words but understand what you are saying.

I did a quick recording of the play last night for my parents, who couldn’t come to the performance. Listen to some of it and see all the set and costumes for yourself.

Fujifilm X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 2500, ƒ/4.5, 1/60

I watched the students’ passion rise so much that tears would pour down their faces. They were frustrated when the lines just were complicated and did not come as quickly as other material had in the past taken to memorize.

I watched the cast struggle with the old English of Shakespeare.

Then I watched as the students would calm down and then take the time to work with each other and help them understand a scene and how they worked to improve it.

Learning their roles in the play is also helping them to figure out their societal roles. First, they knew how blocking and purpose were necessary for their part and how they act even when they have no lines but are on stage.

How about you?

You have a lot on your plate for your work. Do you Get-R-Done? As Larry, the Cable Guy says, this is when you give it your all and give 110%.

Like all these high school students realize, they repeatedly practiced, so the audience understood. They wanted to perform at the level where the storyline moved the audience to laugh and cry.

Is all the stuff you are working on today behind those closed doors going to WOW the audience? Are you passionate as these students about their play?

Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.

Ralph Marston