Clowning around

This was the first visit to a cuircus in many years…last time it was me looking for the candy floss and not my own 3 sons. SO, a photographic opportunity arose…
I tried to check what shutter speeds and f-stop to use but the initial lighting for when the crowd flooded in was different than the acts but I had to start somewhere. I shot the entire time on Aperture Priority mode. It didn’t take long to see that ISO800 was required at f2.8…oh the joys of a 2.8 lens. The WB had to be left at auto as the colour lighting was changing by the second and the fact that I was shooting RAW I wasn’t too concerned anyway. I also found out quickly that if you use evaluative metering you get the crowd in the darkness coming into view and slowed down your shutter speed…which was useless as the performer was a blur so I went to centre weighted light metering on the performer and that worked.
The announcements came – no flash photography or videoing as it frightens the animals…that was me covered…I was safe. A rotating ring that went way into the roof of the tent moved too fast so I missed it. Then this guy came out and when he stayed still it was worth a few shots. Animals were a non runner as even at ISO800 and f2.8 I was still only getting 1/30sec thereabouts so it was futile. I considered going higher in ISO but with such bright lighting it would have been even less of a useless exercise. Some balancing and juggling worked well as the guy was still and the 5 balls were at varying levels of motion so that worked well. Overall a good evening.

To summarise if you want to go to a circus to take shots – high ISO depending on lighting is a requirement so assess your cameras capabilities. Use a fast lens and use spot metering or center-weighted metering for the lighting. You don’t need a wide DOF so go as low as you can…f2.8 if you have it. Shoot in RAW so that you can cope with the changing light temperature.
If you want to see the original image before processing just click on the image above and you will be directed to my site. Oh yeah, have fun!!

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