Change Is Gonna Come
This was the first Cowboy home game after the Daylight Savings Time (DST) change. Why do we continue to observe DST? Anyway, now that the sunset's at 5:25 PM, I was concerned about the lighting on the stage. In this blog I'm going to write about how I handled the changing lighting situation. Be warned, I'll get a little technical in this blog.
The first set of performances on the Miller Lite stage, which is on the west end of AT&T Stadium, started at 4:50 PM, no issues here as the stage was lit by the sun. It's actually my favorite time to shoot as the low horizon of the sun creates beautiful light. In photography circles is called the Golden Hour, and it's a great time to take photos outdoors because the intensity of the sunlight is reduced and it's more indirect sunlight.
The second set of performances began at 5:21 PM on the AT&T Plaza stage, on the east side of AT&T Stadium, although we were in the shadow of the stadium, there was still plenty of light. By this time the stage lights were on causing some uneven lighting, but not enough to cause a big problem. But you can see that the middle of the stage is where the lights are directed. I like shooting on this side of the stadium because the shade creates soft even lighting. But most of the time the sky is blown out because I have to expose for the shade and using flash doesn't make sense for a variety of reasons. So far so good.
The next performance on the AT&T Plaza stage was at 5:45 PM, now the sun has set and we are on the shaded side of the stadium. To my chagrin, the stage was not evenly lit. The spot lights were focused on the middle of the stage, so the dancers would be in the spot light and the shaded areas of the stage at that the same time. Now, what do I set my exposure to?
I know I want to shoot at 1/500th of second. So I set my camera to Manual mode. I set my shutter speed to 1/500 and took a series of shots, adjusting my Aperture and ISO, until I got to an acceptable exposure. I ended up at f/5.6 at ISO 6400. ISO 6400 is to high for my liking, but it's something I had to live with. Freezing the action is top priority. I chose f/5.6 because I like a little wiggle room to get the shot in focus. There were a ton of images that were under exposed, I had to up the shadow slider in Adobe Lightroom quite a bit. I didn't do any noise adjustment because the D750 does really well at high ISO's.
That's my tale on how I dealt with the changing lighting patterns due the DST change. Veteran's and those who are serving in our military, where also being honored on this day. I'm a military brat and my father served 30 years in the Army, including two tours to Vietnam, I can certainly appreciate Veteran's Day. Here are a few more shots and some video of my day AT&T Stadium.