I had the privilege of attending all three days of the Catalyst Conference 2010 in Atlanta (October 6-8) at the Gwinnett Arena. Catalyst is a leadership conference that is geared towards the Christian community. While many of the attendees work for a church or ministry, there are a number of people who attend for the leadership focus of the conference. As a result of the my 2009 Catalyst photos being picked up on the Catalyst Blog, I was provided an “all access” pass for this year’s event. The pass allowed me to go anywhere for photography purposes.
Part of a Team
There was a team of about ten photographers shooting the event so I was not alone (thank goodness!). While most of the other photographers were down at the stage or shooting in the staging area/green room, my goal was to capture the event more from the participant perspective. Many of my shots are taken from a seat or from within the crowd. I did take advantage of my access pass and went down to the stage on a couple of occasions.
Shooting an environment like Catalyst can be challenging. Most of the time I was shooting at ISO 3200 as my preferred lens (Nikon 18-200mm VR) is a 4-5.6 lens, which is not very fast. I did pull out my trusty 50mm 1.8D lens a few times when I was next to the stage which allowed me to drop the ISO down to 1600.
Over the past year, shooting events like Catalyst and North Point Community Church, I have learned to ‘dial-down’ the exposure on my camera. Basically, the camera is seeing all this black in the background and attempts to compensate for that by increasing the exposure. The results are speakers/musicians that are over-exposed. Therefore, I typically ‘dial-down’ my exposure 1 or 2 stops when shooting events.
While there was a lot of great music, the noise that I encountered was the type you find on digital images. Because of the high ISO, there is going to be noise. Fortunately, the Nikon D90 is pretty good at 3200 and so when I process the photos in Adobe Lightroom 3, I slide the Luminance slider to 20 which removes most of the noise.
Catalyst will be using some of my photos over the next few months on their website and in their emails. I have also been able to share my photos on Flickr and Twitter which has helped gain more than 6,500 ‘views’ of my Flickr Catalyst photos (you can also view them on this site’s Catalyst 2010 gallery). In addition Brad Lomenick, President of Catalyst, even Tweeted my “Human Cannon” photo which has garnered more than 600 individual views.