Maintaining focus

Working events with the X-Pro 1 and X100s

Aboriginal youth complete internship program

I just finished a couple of days of shooting award presentation events for work. Although not the most glamorous work, I know that these events are very important for the participants. I shoot higher profile events in my job, with more illustrious participants, that get lots of attention. These events, not so much. Yet, I come away from these events feeling like I have done something worthwhile.

I am providing the award recipient with a photo that memorializes that moment. The award is important to them and a photo of them receiving the award has value. It is something that can be shared and placed on a desk or hung on a wall. That photo has meaning.

Because I never want to say to someone, “sorry, I missed that shot. I don’t have a photo for you,” it is important that I maintain focus when working this type of event. I mean “focus” in all of it’s possible connotations (see notes below).

So much of photography is like this, fleeting moments that can’t be recreated. It is what makes it both challenging and rewarding. Photographing an awards ceremony, a graduation or another event might not seem newsworthy, yet for the people being photographed, it will always be important. And, I’m very happy to be able to participate in that.

Notes: to see recipient shots, visit the BC Government Flickr set. For the examples included here, the black-and-white shots were captured in available light with the X100s Monochrome, with the exception of the close up of the performer (XP1 + Zeiss 135mm Sonnar). All colour images were captured with the X-Pro 1 and XF18-55mm zoom lens, using a Nikon SB800 flash and external battery pack.
With both cameras, I shoot in Manual Focus, using focus peaking and the zoomed preview as focusing aids. I also switch to BW film mode, although shooting RAW, to have the preview in BW. It definitely helps with focus peaking, making the highlighted area more obvious. This method of focusing is both quick and accurate, and I find it more reliable than using AF on any camera. Really.