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Mirrorless Pro-Class Cameras with Interchangeable Lenses Sony A7, A7R and similar high end cameras that can serve as the sole cameras on Pro-event assignments.

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Old September 7th, 2014, 01:29 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Default The Sony A7R at the Hollywood Bowl at Night!

In this narrative, I'll explain as I go on, limitations of lens and camera choice and the challenges one faces in musical performance photography. In locations where there are tens of thousands of ticket-paying fans, there's a fear of photographers for both good and silly reasons.

Obviously, in a classical music concert where people are paying 50 to hundreds of dollars for a seat, there must be no distracting flashes going off! Clicking of loud shutters is so rude and annoying. However, experienced photographers know to only take pictures as the soloist is introduced or later as the audience applauds. If one is super-disciplined, one can time a shutter release with a loud portion of the music and take just a single isolated performance shot that will disturb no one. That's what I planned to do, if possible, tonight!

But first one needs a lens long enough to reach the center of the stage with enough pixels devoted to the soloist. Unfortunately, they check for any large lens as one enters and a smart security fellow considered the Sony A7r with a 55mm Zeiss lens obviously too professional, (I so regretted having the lens hood on adding nearly 3" in length). Meanwhile, folk with digicams and 8-40 MP phones phones poured past me through the gate! Well I had no chip or battery in mine and the chief fellow there let me through! A lucky break!

This concept of cameras being "evil" is so obviously silly at a time when cell phones make excellent video with pretty good sound recording of the concerts! If one looks carefully, there are always 2-3 people somewhere within viewing distance filming the performance with a cell phone camera! So why was I so concerned to get pictures this night of all nights?

Well this was a very special evening. Simone Porter a 17 year old violinst from the Colburn School of Music, was the soloist. I have photographed her for years. This talented youngster has, for years, commuted from Seattle to Los Angeles to be tutored in the famous Heifetz Studio at the Colburn School of Music by the acclaimed pedagogue, Bob Lipsett. His violin studio has trained an unstoppable series of talented violinists. To join this elite group, one has to not only be already talented, have mastered much of the expected classical repertoire, but also face competition from scores of other equally remarkable violinists, (11-18 years old).

I have photographed her in the Heifetz Studio at various concerts and at a recital for School "Supporters" and Board Members in my own home.

It's a thrill for me to have also had the opportunity to record, as best I could, Simone at her inaugural solo appearance at the packed Hollywood Bowl, a natural amphitheater built into a valley below the surrounding hills.

So I'll be posting pictures of Simone. But first, I'll go to the very end of the evening's program with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and share with you a an ambitious project of stitching some 70 shots of the fireworks display over the orchestra's shell. The only lens I could smuggle in was the 55mm Zeiss 1.8L FE for the Sony A7r. It has sufficient acuity to get the orchestra on stage and low light sensitivity to capture the fireworks and detail of the stage with it's very challenging high dynamic range - the over-bright stage and the deep darkness all around. I should have also brought with my favorite must have digicams, the Ricoh GXR with a fine 50mm lens and the superbly built Ricoh GR with a focal length of 28 mm and an add-on lens reducing that to a fine 21mm. But it was not such a day!

Asher Kelman: The Finale at the Hollywood Bowl for Copeland's Appalachian Spring

40 of 70 images from the Sony A7r with a Zeiss 55mm f1.8 lens using Autoano Giga

AP Giga took 7 hours to stitch the images and often crashed for lack of memory,
I gave up further editing within AP Giga and just saved my result.
The stitched image was then corrected for orthogonality with DXO Perspective
and edited for blending explosions occurring at different times,
using the Clone stamp and Eraser tools in separate layers in Photoshop CC.

The 17" Macbook Pro with 8GB of RAM was monitored by the app, Memory
Clean, to purge the memory when free RAM dropped below 1200 MB.

To get a sense of the architectural richness of the entire area and diverse community of students at the Colburn School of Music, on Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, opposite The Walt Disney Concert Hall in glistening stainless steel, by Frank Gehry, you might also enjoy looking at these pictures of the Colburn Conservatory Orchestra from 2009, a 360 degree Pano of the inner quadrangle between the main buildings of the Colburn School Campus on Grand Avenue and one of our favorite cellists, then age 15, performing in concert.

Your comments are most welcome. This picture is from the "out of camera jpgs" (as Autopano giga can't handle Sony RAW file format), and will be rebuilt from the RAW files, processed to .tif form and then, the much larger files assembled, for which I need to seriously update my computer RAM, LOL!! Still, I didn't want to hold back this jpg-derived draft image until then, so I hope it gives you as much enjoyment as it has for me.

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