Cleaners should be partners

1/20s, f/4, ISO 1,600, -0.3Ev 10mm, 15.4MP NIKON D810 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6

“To flash or not to flash” was the question I was asking myself as the protest outside John Lewis’s flagship Oxford St store got going at around twenty past five on a November afternoon. I normally think of a major shopping street like this being brightly lit at night, but once you start taking pictures you find there are spots where little light reaches, and even with digital cameras that produce remarkable results at ISO 6400 things can be difficult.

1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 360, -0.7Ev  60mm, NIKON D750, 24.0-70.0 mm f/2.8

It was indeed so dark where I was standing in a crowd that when I was setting up the flash on the D750 that at first I managed to get some of the settings rather strange – and found myself taking pictures using spot metering and ISO 360.  I’d not been using the camera long and it isn’t so easy to change settings as with the other Nikons I’ve used.

But protests involving the United Voices of the World and supporters including Class War tend to be fairly dynamic events, and the 1/15 second shutter speeds in some ares without flash made recording them difficult, so most of the pictures I made without flash had some unsightly blurs. Sometimes – as in the top picture a little blur works to make a part of the picture stand out, but often it is just a mess.

1/60s, f/11, ISO 1,100, -0.3E 20mm, NIKON D810 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6

Although I work with two cameras I only use one flash unit – usually a Nikon SB800 that integrates well with the camera and using 5 AA cells gives reasonable recycling times (it will also work more slowly with only four.) But it is a little large and inconvenient on top of the camera, and using one on both cameras just makes things physically impossible for me. So I was using one unit, switching it from D750 to D810.

1/60s, f/11, ISO 4,500, -0.3Ev  14mm, NIKON D810 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6

Because of various problems – like my Nikon 18-35mm having seized up with very nasty rattling noises, I’d chosen to work instead in DX mode with a Sigma 10-20mm that I’d had when I used DX cameras. And because I knew the light would be low, I’d also taken the Sigma 24-70 f2.8 rather than a slower Nikon telephoto zoom. The Sigma is heavier but the extra stop at f2.8 does make a difference. So for once all the pictures are taken on Sigma lenses – and I think they do as well.

1/15s, f/5, ISO 5,000, -1.7Ev 10mm, NIKON D750 10.0-20.0 mm f/4.0-5.6

And for almost the last picture, I went back to using the wide angle without flash because with people close to the camera and perhaps 20 ft away there was no way to get even light using flash.

More on the protest and of course many more pictures, mainly taken with flash, at Make John Lewis cleaners Partners.


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