Photographing Ron B’s show, No Boundaries Up Close and Personal, with Sigma 105mm f/1.4 ART
Guess what? Recently I was, yet again, on No Boundaries Up Close and Personal, an MNN show hosted by HIV and trans advocate, actor and celebrity host Ron B. And, as it always happens on the panel, we got to talk some more about HIV, AIDS and related activism, among others, as well as A&U–America’s AIDS Magazine vital role in covering the AIDS epidemic since 1991 and counting. Being on the show is always a humbling experience, this time even more because on the panel was the amazing HIV and trans activist, and award-winning performing artist Reverend Yolanda.
While this was was the first time for me shooting the performances with the boker master, here’s my take on that experience:
It can be difficult to focus, even if the performers do not move too much.
Shooting with the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 in these circumstances can slow you down, quite a bit.
#1 One, because you have to shoot from a certain spot or not allowed to move too much or in certain areas of the studio (which is common sense). On top of that, using only a prime lens, in these circumstances, might limit the number of angles and vantage points from where you can shoot quite a lot.
#2 Two, because I find it quite difficult to handhold the lens and shoot verticals (portrait oriented images), especially when the subject is moving, even if slightly. Same or similar goes for shooting verticals during a portrait photo shoot. Hence, there could be a lot of missed or blurry shots. And, as a note, you might or might not be allowed using a tripod, depending on the event. Therefore, it would be a good idea to…try to become a human tripod yourself, if possible, hold your breath when pressing the shutter button, etc.
#3 Three, because of #1 and #2 mentioned above, it can be quite tricky to focus where you want to focus, while shooting stage performances with a Sigma 105mm f/1.4.
Therefore, once these kinds of shoots are doable with a Sigma 105mm f/1.4 and the results could be quite interesting, it’s also a good idea to use a zoom lens as a main lens for the photo shoot, and the prime lens as an additional lens. For example, zoom lenses, 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 allow for capturing pretty much everything from wide-angle to close-up shots.
The close-up shots posted above were taken with the Nikon 28-300mm zoomed in all the way to 300mm.
To reiterate, from what I’ve noticed so far, the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 can slow down the photo shoot quite a bit, especially when photographing shows like the one mentioned here, and even when photographing portraits, in studio and/or on location. On one hand, that’s a good thing because it allows photographers to focus more on the image at hand; on the other hand, there are situations, such as events and in particular sports, when being slowed down doesn’t help the photo shoot. That said, it was, indeed, an interesting experience photographing No Boundaries with the bokeh master. Such an experience, in a way, opens the mind to new ideas and possibilities in terms of how to best photograph such a show. And that’s a good thing!
Also, last but definitely not least, I’d like to thank actor, advocate and celebrity host Ron B. for having me on the show yet again, and for allowing me to talk about issues I truly care about. A big thank-you goes also to artist and advocate Rev. Yolanda. Both Ron B. and Rev. Yolanda are amazing, talented and inspiring individuals that I call “angels” for many reasons. I met Ron B. back in 2007, when covering a World AIDS Day event. “I was in Angels in America,” she told me then, and had me right there and then, at Angels in America, one of my go-to, favorite movies. And Rev. Yolanda, she’s gracious, funny, and inspiring. I met her in October of last year, also on Ron B’s show, where she performed “We Are Angels” (“struggling to be human”). Her voice and the song, itself, touched a chord and I ended up interviewing and photographing Rev. Yolanda for A&U Magazine. So, to both Ron B. and Rev. Yolanda, a big thank you!
And thank you, all, for reading this blog.