Last April I was invited to Chiang Rai to see several choirs put on a show.  

Last April I was invited to Chiang Rai to see several choirs put on a show.  There is a huge difference between photographing such an event as an invited “photographer” and photographing the event as an invited “guest.”  A guest has no input with the lighting director, no special access to great shooting locations, and really shouldn’t make a pest of himself by dragging in long lenses and tripods.   Photographer or guest, I’ve learned to really enjoy these shows.  I’ve witnessed the months of preparation that go into the productions and tears in the eyes of the audience enthralled by the beauty of the music and voices.  I’ve been privileged.

When you work an event as a photographer the images should look like these.  Notice the lighting is near perfect and how the proper equipment was employed?  Any less wouldn’t be professional.

This feature photograph is significant because it represents what you as a guest, and amateur photographer, should be able to produce with modest equipment and just a bit of patience.  The lighting was terrible, a small spot shined in her face making exposure very difficult.  Her face remains on the edge of overexposure and outwards exposure dims dramatically.  Metering wasn’t possible in any of the automatic modes.  The histogram wasn’t useful either.  Using full manual control I’d take a picture, zoom in on the brightest area (her face) on the LCD, adjust the controls, and shoot again.  3-4 adjustments later I had the best exposure I was going to achieve.

Once the exposure was nailed, and with such an event there is plenty of time to do so, then you patiently wait for the part of the composition where the ethos of the performer shines through the brightest.  I think I captured this moment.  The young lady singing had the most beautiful voice and determined spirit.

 

This second image shoes the entire choir, conductor leading the background for the soloist, and this will give you some idea of scale.  I was roughly 100 meters from the stage.  

This second image shoes the entire choir, conductor leading the background for the soloist, and this will give you some idea of scale.  I was roughly 100 meters from the stage.

In the coming weeks I’ll share more of the images from this event.  Check out your local cultural centers, you might be surprised by how much “culture” there is in Thailand.  Between the three choirs we enjoyed music in English, French, German, Japanese, and Thai.  Outstanding!