I don’t know much about event shooting (besides the fact that it makes me nervous), but I figured having some photos of the crowd would be a good thing. Since the crowd at the Acres of Darkness event was standing in line for the haunted trail, I figured that’s where I needed to be.
This presented a special challenge: Large groups of people clumped along a line that spanned about 50 yards. Add to that, ridiculously little light. Even with my ISO setting all the way up to 25600, with an aperture of f/22, I needed a 1.3 second shutter speed to get the shot of the line.
Funny, I don’t remember ISO 25600 being in the table of reciprocal settings to get the same exposure with different ISO, shutter speed, and aperture combinations. I still shake my head, remembering how excited my dad was when he discovered 800 ISO film.
In any case, getting 50ish people strung out in a line to all hold still for 1.3 seconds was not an option. I experimented with even longer shutter speeds to see how much blur I got and whether I liked the effect or not. I like the mood the slight blurring creates for the halloween theme quite a bit, actually. The motion makes it seem more interesting somehow.
I might have gotten a bit carried away when I decided to try to create ghost images as people entered the trail. I asked several groups to “slow walk” as they started down the trail in the hope of creating some really great apparitions. This didn’t work out so well. The people created more of a haze in my image instead of actual ghosts. Next time, I will have them stand still for approximately 1/2 the time my shutter is open and see if that creates more of the effect I’m looking for.
On a more positive note, I added an entertainment factor no one expected. The people I asked to slow walk turned the assignment into the hokey pokey, robot moves, imitations of the 6 million dollar man (although I’m not sure any of them were old enough to have heard of him), and even a brief line dance. I, on the other hand, did not do any dancing.
I find it an interesting psychological experiment: ask people to perform and unusual but simple task and their self-consciousness causes them to turn it into something more usual, like dancing. Or, maybe it’s more of an act of embracing a moment of silliness and just rolling with it? Whichever the case, we all laughed a lot.