Buried Child

Buried Child isĀ  a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama by Sam Shepard, and the first production I shot for a young production company, Bay Area Stage. The first thing that struck me before action was called was the amazing attention paid to set design, art direction, and construction. It was easily the best set I’ve seen on a production of this size (as of yet–Bay Area Stage has a tendency to top themselves time after time).

Because of the general mood and tone of the play, it was a fairly dark show. Especially a challenge when you depend on (and hope for) as much light as possible to make sharp, clear photographs. More than a few times, I had to bring my shutter speed way below my normal level of comfort and employ Joe McNally’s “Da Grip“. I wouldn’t have had nearly as many keepers had it not been for this technique.

The other issue I had was storage. I had 20Gb with me in CF cards and I damn near ran out of space. the 7D makes huge raw files, anywhere from 23Mb to 32Mb in size, and in any given show I will snap the shutter 900-1000 times. I didn’t have a choice but to switch to JPG in the last few scenes. Luckily I did a custom white balance before the show and really concentrated on metering as accurately as possible, so all was well. But I’ll admit I was sweating shooting in JPG and not having the cushion of RAW. Still, I captured everything I wanted to, and I could see a marked improvement in exposure accuracy, composition, and my ability to click at “the moment” over the last couple of shows.

Either way, one of the bigger lessons here is that storage is cheap, and you should definitely invest in as much of it as you can.

See the whole set here.

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  1. […] which to shoot; powerful and plentiful. And after remedying some storage shortages mentioned in a previous post, I was free to be as trigger happy as I wanted with the shutter. Which brings me to one of the main […]

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