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Youth Sunday

April 15, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Yesterday was Youth Sunday at our church, Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis. This is absolutely one of my favorite Sundays of the year. The youth of the church plan and deliver the entire service. All the kids choirs perform and short sermons are delivered by some of the High School Seniors. I always leave the Youth Sunday service with great hope for the future. These kids are so talented and dedicated, they can't help but do great things and make this world a better place.

I've been teaching in the 7th and 8th grade church school class for several years now...long enough to have some of my students go on to college. It's so great to see these young adults so excited to set off on their own paths. I feel fortunate for having had the opportunity to get to know them.

Yesterday was a busy photography day for me at church. It started with photographing the various youth choirs and continued with photographing throughout the service. I debated which camera to take, my Nikon D800 or the D700. For event photography, I will often opt for the smaller file sizes and faster continuous shooting rate of the D700, but yesterday I grabbed the D800. I had just installed the new firmware update, so I thought I'd like to see how the camera performed after making that update. My D800 didn't have the left AF issue, but I did notice the color improvement on the LCD when using Adobe RGB color space. I alternated between the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 during the service. In retrospect, I probably should have brought both cameras and kept one lens on each. That would have made eliminated all the lens switches during the service. The lighting in our sanctuary is on the dark side, so most images were captured using an ISO of 5000. I am happy with the way my D800 performed. I was able to pull significant detail out of the shadows while avoiding blown highlights. The dynamic range of the D800 is impressive.

My workflow for my church photography work is to output smaller jpegs (1920 x 1920, 300 dpi) to a Dropbox gallery. I then provide a share link to the interested parties. I captured over 400 frames yesterday. Of those, 76 were selected and uploaded to Dropbox. Because of the huge file sizes of the D800, I've taken to immediately deleting anything that doesn't rate at least one star. In my workflow, one star means the shot is technically and compositionally acceptable. Then I go through and give two stars to any images I'm willing to share. If I don't delete the unrated D800 images right away they get propagated to my Time Machine backup and then my offsite backup service, Backblaze. I figure it's a good discipline to just delete the images right away. The odds of my deleting a future Pulitzer Prize winning photo are slim to none.

All in all, yesterday's shoot was successful. I was pleased with the results and so were the folks at church.


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