Hanging Out At The Waldorf

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Spent last Thursday and Friday at one of the most auspicious hotels in the world: The Waldorf=Astoria (check out the Notable Residents and Notable Events section of the Wikipedia entry. Pretty cool.)

I was asked to shoot a two-day conference – get all the speakers, shoot those attending, get some general shot to help build the story. Let me tell you…it’s not as easy as it sounds.

The conference was held in the Starlight Room – the same room where, in 1985, the NBA Draft was held and the New York Knicks, with the number one pick, selected a young center from Georgetown, Patrick Ewing. It was a big room with a high ceiling and windows on the far side. There was a mix of ambient light, fluorescent light and stage lighting.

It took me a while to find the sweet spot on my 50D, the proper settings that would allow me shoot some decent images without chimping. Eventually, it seemed like f/4 at ISO 640 and my white balance set to fluorescent. That’s just in general. I changed it up as needed. I’d shoot, chimp, and adjust accordingly.

For my gear, I was shooting with two 50D bodies. One held my 17-85mm lens and another my rented f/4 70-200mm lens. I knew I would need a faster zoom than I had, and this proved to be the ticket. (Thanks to Borrowlenses.com for coming through!)

The one thing that too me maybe too long to figure out was to set my camera to burst mode and just shoot. I missed quite a few shots because, while I thought I was getting the speaker at the right time, when I’d look back, the eyes would be closed or the mouth open at a weird angle. So, I started shooting in four or five shot bursts and one usually was what I wanted. That’s what surprised me – shooting stationary speakers isn’t as easy as it seems. Allow some slack to make sure you get the shot you need.

I also came away with too many that weren’t as tack sharp as I would have liked, especially with the heavier lens (though not so much so. My “Canon Elbow” didn’t really act up). A monopod may have helped.

Overall, though, I felt comfortable. I “worked the room” – going from side to side, wide to close. Got low for some shots. Tried to vanish into the background whenever possible.

Now comes the tedious part of going through the files and sending off about 100 selects. I’ll do that in the next few days, and also put a slide show together for the client. The two earlier shots in the post will be used to “set the stage” – as will this one.

Throughout the conference, I also just kept my eyes open for that interesting face or engaged expression. But sometimes an empty room gave me all the expression I needed. I kinda like this one….

I kept expecting a guy with a fedora and a gat tucked under his arm to walk in while I was shooting this. Maybe the ghost of Bugsy Siegel.

Or Parker.

© Mark V. Krajnak 2010 | JerseyStyle Photography | All rights Reserved
Unless otherwise noted, images captured with a Canon 50D, SanDisk digital film, finished with PS2 or PSE6 and Nik Software.

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4 thoughts on “Hanging Out At The Waldorf

  1. I agree with Monte. That last image is really something special. Your black and white work always leaves me wanting more!

  2. That last shot is excellent. Maybe I will try to match it when I hit the bar of the Adolphus Hotel this week (I can think of a similar spot)…if I survive this cold.

  3. Pingback: Conference Overview « JerseyStyle Photography Blog

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