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General photography questions and answers: Discuss A question for the experienced snapper...In a couple of weeks I will be photographing a major local event. It's a big procession (the local "Rose ...
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Old 31-05-2008, 08:24   #1 (permalink)
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A question for the experienced snapper

In a couple of weeks I will be photographing a major local event. It's a big procession (the local "Rose Queen") followed by awards and a fair so I will need to be pretty mobile. Primary objective is to get 'people pictures' but I also want some 'scene' shots as well.

My plan is to use both bodies, one with the 70-200mm f/2.8 for isolating individuals on the floats or on the stage and the other with either the 10-20mm or the 28-135mm IS for wider angle shots. Along with the two cameras I plan to take my 430EX, either the 10-20mm or the 28-135mm (whichever is not on the second camera body) along with spare batteries, CF cards, etc.

Obviously I would be grateful for any tips on additional gear I should take along but my main question is about how to carry the two cameras. Ideally I would have both cameras available so I could quickly swap between close-up and wide-angle shots of the various scenes but I have never tried to carry two cameras at the same time and I'm worried about them bashing into each other plus how do I sling them so the straps don't get in the way of each other?

Am I just over-complicating this? Should I stick with just one body and lens at a time? What do/would you do if you have something like this to cover?

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!
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Old 31-05-2008, 08:46   #2 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

I tend to carry mine one in each hand (1 body + 70-200 2.8 & 1 body + 300 2.8) or the the 300mm on a pod over my shoulder but have to put one of them down to shoot.....I just make sure I'm stood on the strap to keep them light fingers away

I can only suggest having the 70-200 over your shoulder.....strap left to right across your chest if you know what I mean and have you thought of a toploader? for the shorter lens that you can have waist height at the front.

What ever you decide have fun
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Old 31-05-2008, 13:42   #3 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

I would say you were definitely over complicating it.
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Old 31-05-2008, 14:25   #4 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

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I would say you were definitely over complicating it.
So what would you do then?
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Old 31-05-2008, 14:36   #5 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

My advice would be taken one body with the 70-200, and one with the 10-20.
With regards to wearing both, this is when investing in a good strap comes in useful. I have a Lowepro Voyager-C, and so does Martin (VikingPhotography), him being the pro , but as for me, I can wear 2 cameras slung across my chest like a bag would be- with the 2 in opposite directions, and swivel them round and up to my face when I want to shoot.

I hope that made sense, please say if not , but that's how I'd do it.
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Old 31-05-2008, 14:39   #6 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

relax first off haha - you're not getting paid for this are you? And i seen last years photo's from the procession, looks like a mellow day out for the family...
just take the 1 body and maybe two lenses - wide and telephoto. Always shoot in RAW+JPEG if you can, take a couple memory cards and a shoulder bag - wouldn't bother with a tripod unless you have some pocket wizards and are planning some off camera lighting crusade for some portrait photo's haha...
If the event is mostly outdoors and you aren't going to get within 30ft of the winner then you will not need any flash. Forget pristine, noise free photo's for an event like this - shoot with an ISO of between 400-800 when and if it gets darker. keep your higher shutter speeds and feel free to play with your aperture to get the oh so coveted DoF control that everyone loves so much
Shoot in Manual and adjust your white balance to cloudy - oh yeah, a good starting point would be around 1/200s F8 ISO 100 (depending on body) WB Cloudy - and have fun.
you don't have to photograph everything, but get every float thingy mabob you can and then have some more fun!!!
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Old 31-05-2008, 15:57   #7 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

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Am I just over-complicating this? Should I stick with just one body and lens at a time? What do/would you do if you have something like this to cover?
Personally I would approach it from knowing how much access you have, if you can get right in amongst the action on the street you might find a one camera setup + EF28-135 and flashgun would be enough to get full length shots of the performers, some wide shots from the sidelines and some head/detail shots when zoomed in. If you don't have that kind of access then one camera + 70-200 at hand and another camera + lens over the shoulder would probably be a better set up and not too cumbersome.

For the awards, again depending on how close you can get a one camera set up + 28-135 and flashgun may well be enough to allow you to get the wide shots of everyone together as well as shots zoomed in on the individual awards being handed over. It might be best to stay with the one camera setup here even if your not quite close enough as flash will be important (even if it's a good day). Trying to change over the flash due to using a two camera setup here will no doubt be too time consuming and thus cause you to miss important shots. Personally I'd choose cropping the image if the 28-135 doesn't get you quite close enough.

That's about all my thoughts... keep your shutter speed up and use fill flash where you can (especially at the awards), then if you just keep the rest of your gear handy so your prepared if the situation changes you should do fine.

...Oh, and don't forget to enjoy yourself!
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Old 31-05-2008, 17:01   #8 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Camera bag over shoulder containing camera not currently in use (but can be accessed quickly) and other around neck

I often use my backpack and clip camera to the shoulder straps so always available and other around neck but it's not quite so flexible (backpack is slightly ungainly) but it does mean I have anything I'm likely to need

You might want to think about rain (it's bound to, isn't it? ) - preferably have someone with an umbrella to keep off the rain. I use a chamois in spitting/drizzle draped over camera as it absorbs drips (which are the killers, electronics-wise) but have a rain hood for real rain!
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Old 31-05-2008, 18:04   #9 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Cheers all.

Last year I shot the procession mainly from a 'going out and having fun' point of view (my son was on one of the floats). This year I want to use it as a bit of a training ground for maybe doing a fee-paying event in the future. Also, as the village is fairly small I know a lot of the families who will be on the floats so I'm hoping if not for some print sales then at least some free give-aways and some word-of-mouth marketing from it.

Good advice on thinking about the access. Last year I only had the 18-55mm kit lens on the 400D and that was no way close enough (as you will have seen if you have looked at the gallery). Having said that, the 28-135mm might actually be good enough for covering the floats, I hadn't thought about that.

For the awards they pen off an area with the stage at the back and I'm not sure I will get into that area so may well need the 70-200mm. Having said that, I'll be covering the whole thing for the local parish mag (volunteered for the job to get more experience) so I might be able to claim that I am an 'official' photographer and get inside the enclosure.

I'm really looking forward to this. It's the big annual event in the village and a chance for me to get some practice and maybe get myself noticed (will be handing out lots of business cards if I get the chance). Probably a waste of time from a business perspective but I'll be having fun at the same time so nothing ventured nothing gained.

Regarding rain, in the past I have tended to use a large golfing umbrella. I find that I can clasp the shaft in with my arm and rest the brolly itself on top of my head and that provides reasonable cover for the camera. The chamois is a good idea though, I reckon I'll keep one of those handy. So far in the past 4 years that I have been to it the weather has always been good - so statistically we are probably due for rain!

Thanks again to everyone for all the advice. It's a surprisingly big step from being able to take pictures to being able to do so in a way that might allow you to make a business out of it!
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Old 31-05-2008, 18:17   #10 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

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With regards to wearing both, this is when investing in a good strap comes in useful. I have a Lowepro Voyager-C, and so does Martin (VikingPhotography), him being the pro , but as for me, I can wear 2 cameras slung across my chest like a bag would be- with the 2 in opposite directions, and swivel them round and up to my face when I want to shoot.

I hope that made sense, please say if not , but that's how I'd do it.
Not sure it entirely makes sense. I'm guessing that 'sling style' means having the strap diagonal across your body, with your head and one arm through the strap? Do you have both cameras on the same strap? Assuming not (I can't see that really) I kind of assume that one strap is always going to be over the top of the other and so getting in the way when you use the 'bottom' camera? How do you work around that?
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Old 31-05-2008, 18:55   #11 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

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Do you have both cameras on the same strap? Assuming not (I can't see that really)
Not what Jack meant, but certainly possible - Op/Tech Reporter Strap
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Old 31-05-2008, 19:12   #12 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

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Not sure it entirely makes sense. I'm guessing that 'sling style' means having the strap diagonal across your body, with your head and one arm through the strap? Do you have both cameras on the same strap? Assuming not (I can't see that really) I kind of assume that one strap is always going to be over the top of the other and so getting in the way when you use the 'bottom' camera? How do you work around that?
It doesn't really work with stock straps, but it does with better ones...I dunno, the other camera kind of gets of out the way somehow
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Old 31-05-2008, 19:18   #13 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Well I worked with one body today but tomorrow it will probably be two.......I will just carry one in each hand.
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Old 01-06-2008, 12:05   #14 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

You can cross over like a Mexican with 2 bandoliers, have one around your neck and one over a shoulder, one over each shoulder (my preference) or clip one or both to your bag straps if that suits. 2 bodies is usually much better as you are less likely to make do with the wrong lens because you can't be bothered or don't have time to change for just a couple of shots. It's not too tricky. Have a practice.

The big thing is rather than trust to luck re access on the day is to contact the organisers in advance, if you tell them you are shooting for the parish mag I am sure they will accommodate you, it doesn't hurt to ask, be specific about the awards pen and maybe some time with the winners afterwards.

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Old 01-06-2008, 13:57   #15 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Personally I now carry two bodies, before the event I work out what I will use the most have one 2.8 on one and the flash with zoom on the other usually. the rest goes in my back pack and I can wear this and carry the cameras relatively easily. I tend to flick one cam over my shoulder and it rests comfortably without much garotting.
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Old 01-06-2008, 16:38   #16 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

You should do this the "pro" way, which is very simple

1st body: Wide to medium zoom lens e.g. 17-55mm, 24-70mm or similar, worn on one shoulder with flash mounted.

2nd body: Medium to long zoom lens e.g. 70-200mm, worn on the other shoulder with flash mounted.

I'd set the cameras into fully manual mode and fix in an aperture of f/5.6, 1/160 sec and ISO 400 for each as a starting point. Put your flashes into TTL mode to take care of the rest but dial in flash compensation of -1EV to make it less blinding and more natural.

Wearing a two body rig on your shoulders takes a little getting used to so practice it before you head out. The most comfortable position is usually so that the lens points down towards the floor with the flashguns riding in a position close to your kidneys.
Good quality straps that don't slip are the key here, so look for a third party strap like the LowePro Vogaer series.

If you're shooting for extended periods, don't forget spare CF cards and AA batteries for your flashguns. Also pack a protein bar and take a bottle of water along too - you might not get the chance to break to eat/drink, so go prepared.
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Old 01-06-2008, 17:30   #17 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Really appreciate all this help. I have just ordered a pair of the Voyager-C straps (been meaning to get some new ones for a while) so hopefully they will get here soon enough for some practice.

Biggest pain now is having worked out that I have a focussing problem on the 10D I need to get it to Canon for a service and back again before 12/June which could be tight. I guess if it isn't going to be back in time I'll just have to look at hiring a 40D for the day (which would be a terrible hardship I know).
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Old 04-06-2008, 08:03   #18 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

I'm starting to get the feeling that I am missing something obvious here but I still can't get this thing with two cameras to work.

Two Lowepro Voyager-C straps turned up in the post yesterday and I fitted them onto my two main bodies. First observation is that there doesn't seem to be much adjustment available; with the twin ladder-lock system I was only able to extend the length by about 4cm which makes the strap shorter than the Canon brand ones I was using previously. Admittedly the Voyager ones are more comfortable. I am thinking about ditching the second ladder lock to gain a bit more length?

So, I put the two cameras on, one running from left shoulder to right hip and the other from right shoulder to left hip so they look like a bandolier kind of arrangement. Lifting either camera to my face the length of the strap makes it tight to hold the camera in landscape and nearly impossible to rotate it to portrait mode. If I try to use the camera with the 'bottom' strap the 'top' strap cuts into my throat.

All in all I'm not convinced that I have properly understood the instructions above as this just doesn't seem to be a comfortable setup for carrying the two cameras. I guess what I need is an idiot's guide.

Edit: Having re-read this thread I have realised that Martin at least is talking about having one camera hanging from each shoulder, not having them diagonal across the body. I can see why that would take some practice, I would be worried about dropping one of them. I guess I have two weeks to work on it.

Last edited by Larne; 04-06-2008 at 08:28. Reason: Updated
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Old 04-06-2008, 14:17   #19 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

To be honest it is just personal preference i think, what works for one person may not work for another.
I usually have 1 body with the 100-400 is on over the shoulder (not neck) and the other with wide to medium zoom or wide angle and flash on round my neck.
Vikings advice about an energy bar and a bottle of water is a very good one and after been burnt more times than I care to admit I would advice a small bottle of sun cream as well.
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Old 04-06-2008, 15:41   #20 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Cheers for all the good advice, keep it coming.
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Old 04-06-2008, 19:32   #21 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

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I would advice a small bottle of sun cream as well.

Indeed amongst the (several) non photographic things I keep in my camera bags is a sachet of sun cream.
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Old 20-06-2008, 22:33   #22 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Tomorrow is the 'big day' so hoping to put all the advice into practise. I feel surprisingly nervous, all things considered. I know I'm not getting paid for it, or anything like that, but I am trying to do things 'properly' and I also have an editor with 4 magazine pages to fill with my pictures so there is a certain amount of performance anxiety.

The fact that the weather forecast is for "heavy rain" is not helping matters either. I don't have rain covers for either camera so I will just have to cross my fingers and a bit of prayer never hurts!

Wish me luck - I'll let you all know how it goes!
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Old 20-06-2008, 22:40   #23 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Good luck mate, you'll do fine... enjoy yourself!
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Old 21-06-2008, 07:24   #24 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Good luck mate ......been watching the weather forecast myself and it doesn't look good
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Old 22-06-2008, 17:17   #25 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

All done and dusted and just finished sorting through all the images. All the advice really helped and I learned a lot of lessons over the two days as well.

The weather was miserable but it could have been much worse. By late morning it was throwing it down but by the time the procession got under way (2pm) the rain has all but stopped. So lighting conditions where a bit poor but at least I didn't have to worry about my gear getting too wet.

Lessons learned as follows:
  1. If you are using two bodies make sure the time is set the same on both or else your images are all out of sync when you load them into your workflow application
  2. Totally flipped out during the falconry exhibition and forgot the set a high shutter speed so 90% of the pictures of the birds in flight were rubbish
  3. The shammy cloth over the camera worked very well for keeping off light showers but not with an external flash fitted to the camera
  4. ETTL flash is a pile of garbage and I am never using it again. Every shot inside on the Saturday was rubbish. Used both camera and flash on manual on Sunday - a real pain in terms of work but much better results
  5. Speedlite 430EX is not big enough for this kind of event - need a bigger flash
  6. One external flash across two cameras doesn't work - if using two bodies again I would need to get a second Speedlite
  7. Look like you are supposed to be somewhere and people let you get away with a surprising amount
Last, and by no means least, I have come to the conclusion that the 400D is totally useless for anything like this. I was using it as a second body (28-135mm IS on the 40D and 70-200mm f/2.8 with Speedlite on the 400D) and it is just too slow. Too slow to focus, too slow to take pictures, too slow to change settings, just too slow to do anything and everything. Okay, perhaps it is unfair to contrast it so closely against the 40D but that's what I was using and in the end I was swapping lenses around anyway and pretty much using the 40D exclusively. I will be thinking hard now about how I get a better second body but I guess I need someone to start paying me to take pictures before I spend any more on gear.

Overall it was a great learning experience. I made some stupid mistakes and a few things didn't work out as I had expected them to. Next time I will do a bit better I am sure, but most importantly I had fun!

If anyone wants to see the pictures they can be found at the link below.
Photography by Niall Pagdin

Thanks again to everyone who contributed!
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Old 22-06-2008, 17:38   #26 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Some really nice shots there,it looked a brilliant day out.
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Old 23-06-2008, 19:10   #27 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

Some great shots recording the days events

What was that vicar drinking
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Old 23-06-2008, 19:18   #28 (permalink)
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Re: A question for the experienced snapper

I would bet it was alchohol, knowing him - I threatened to get that picture put on the front of the AGM publication for next year

Believe it or not a lot of Vicars are perfectly normal people. Douglas drinks, plays lead rock guitar, and is a huge rugby fan! I seriously doubt I will ever see him drunk though!!
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