Sunday, March 7, 2010

Oscar Night at Portland's Hollywood Theater

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I volunteered to help with a photography project at the historic Hollywood Theater here in Portland today.  The non-profit theater hosted the official Oscar party for Portland, and I took part as a "paparazzi" on the red carpet.

Although I am not an experienced event photographer, I am still pretty happy with how the shots came out.  Amazingly, I had way more quality shots than I could choose from... it was very tough narrowing it down to a modest amount for my blog.

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Normally when I shoot, I use my tripod and spend a ton of time setting up the shots... with these, it was mostly try to catch the people as they walked a very short distance past me.  I had a lot of trouble with focus and catching people looking normal.  Some people would stop and pose for the cameras, and I'd try to catch them as they stood still for ten seconds.

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Most of these required a lot of cropping and some degree of color manipulation.  The preceding photo, for example, was shot in color and was filled with a lot of wasted space.  I'm really happy with the way the BW cropped shot looks, but I still would rather have had some shots (like this one specifically) come out better.  Well, it was good practice all the same, and that's how I get better.

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It was a lot of fun to be taking pictures with a small group.  There were four other photographers, and we tried to do our best to make a bunch of flashes as people walked up the carpet.  I'm not sure how well it created the illusion of fame and fortune, but most of the people walking by seemed to enjoy it.

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Eventually I kind of got the hang of where people would be walking by, and how to properly get the shot exposed with my flash.  It was a real learning curve, I tell you what!  As the hour wore on, I set my focus to auto, tried to leave my zoom at 70mm, and just caught people right at one specific spot on the carpet.  It worked out really well, and I had shots that I really didn't have to crop much at all.  Unfortunately, I did have one of my best shots ruined (the woman above with the hat) with a too soft focus... well, I'll remember that next time.

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This was a great experience and I hope I am able to take part again next year.  After the red carpet festivities, I went inside and was treated to a delicious catered buffet and enjoyed some of the Oscar show on the big screen.  It was a really festive party, but unfortunately I wasn't really able to get any great pictures of the goings on.

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I had a few shots come out from inside the theater... shot handheld at ISO 1600, then brightened up considerably with Picasa.  I'd have loved to take my tripod... I didn't really think it'd be appropriate, although in retrospect it would have been just fine. 

5 comments:

ApdxB said...

Fun fun fun! Did you see Don B? I was at the Academy Theater, really fun there, too.

Sean G said...

I wasn't aware Don was there! There was one guy that I thought looked like him, but I figured I was wrong since he wasn't wearing the red sweatshirt.

zenmasterlauren said...

this is so awesome Sean! I think you did wonderfully and what a great opportunity! I bet it was a fun night-

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I'm the lady with the hat...my name is Trista Perez and I work for @Large Films. I love the photo! :)

Sean G said...

Thanks Lauren. It was fun, although holding that camera constantly for an hour really started to wear on me! I really do take that tripod for granted.

And thank you too Trista for stopping by! I'm glad you liked the photo, I was very lucky to catch you at just the right moment.