Shooting a church service

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Ray Creveling, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. I may be shooting a church service this week. The primary lighting will be
    candles and I'm pretty sure flash will be a no go. I was planning on
    shooting with my Canononet G III QL 17. I'm thinking of going right to 3200
    speed B&W and just under exposing by 2 stops (Meter tops out at iso 800).

    Any advice is welcome.
    Ray Creveling, Sep 14, 2004
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  2. Ray Creveling

    PGG Guest

    Consider a tripod so you can get sharp pictures at shutter speeds between
    1/4 and 1/30s

    P3200 B&W film works well in this situation, however I think it is
    important to use speed-increasing developers such as Microphen. If you
    use a lab for developing, you might be out-of-luck unless you ask what
    they use. They may very well use X-tol or T-max RS which would work well
    PGG, Sep 14, 2004
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  3. Ray Creveling

    Roger Guest

    It's probably too late to take some trial shots, I'd suggest you
    bracket your shots. A good handheld meter to baseline an exposure
    would help, bracketing in manual mode also helps. A tripod will make
    bracketing a lot easier and it really improves the results. The
    possible blur from, and perception of slow shutter speed is much
    easier to grasp and accept if some background elements are rock solid.

    Good luck and I hope everyone is holding a candle. If so be sure and
    situate yourself so you can get some faces in the picture.

    Roger, Sep 14, 2004
  4. Ray Creveling

    Peter Chant Guest

    Candles with magnesium wicks?
    Peter Chant, Sep 14, 2004
  5. Ray Creveling

    Roger Guest

    Well, if they are magnesium wicks, I hope they are not holding them.
    Might be a good way to get a tan (in the UK?). Sounds like you've been
    on one too many underwater salvage missions :).

    I was serious about the candles, our church holds candle light vigils
    for some of the religious holidays and the light from 300 candles
    (each person holding one) allows for some remarkable photographs.

    However, I appreciate the brightness of a magnesium wick :).

    Roger, Sep 14, 2004
  6. Ray Creveling

    Bob Hickey Guest

    Ask the
    Priest if you can restage. Then shoot NPS or Portra @ 100 with flash. Set
    the aperture by the flash and drag the shutter to get the candles and use an
    81B or something like that to make it look like candle light. Fast film will
    mostly give you a fuzzy shot and tripods won't do it in church.
    Bob Hickey
    Bob Hickey, Sep 14, 2004
  7. Ray Creveling

    Peter Chant Guest

    No, I've never dived.

    I have managed to get sunburnt in both Wales and Scotland!
    Must be impressive.
    Peter Chant, Sep 15, 2004
  8. Ray Creveling

    Mark M Guest

    This is an example of a situation where a DSLR can be of GREAT use.
    You'd be able to gage your images on the spot, and adjust.

    My dad just got a 10D a while back, and even though he didn't know
    much...came back from Romania with some nice candle-light photos in a church

    Here are a couple of his shots:
    (Click thumbs, then click again)
    Mark M, Sep 15, 2004
  9. Ray Creveling

    st3ph3nm Guest

    You may want to take a hand-held meter, and expose manually. IIRC,
    the QL17 won't meter in manual mode, and it may lock out if it feels
    that it can't get the exposure right. Mind you, that might not be an
    issue - some churches are brighter than others, and it'll depend on
    the time of day.

    st3ph3nm, Sep 15, 2004
  10. Ray Creveling

    st3ph3nm Guest

    Depends on the service, of course - I wouldn't want to be asking
    someone to restage a funeral...

    Flash in a church I'd only do if it were a wedding, personally.

    st3ph3nm, Sep 15, 2004
  11. Well, now that the assualt weapons ban has expired, your options aren't
    as limited as before.
    Brian C. Baird, Sep 15, 2004
  12. Ray Creveling

    Matt Clara Guest

    Your dad's got an eye for it!
    Matt Clara, Sep 15, 2004
  13. Ray Creveling

    Roger Guest


    What great pictures. Tell you Dad to keep it up. One of the things
    that leaps out at me is the color balance. I expect that the result is
    dependent somewhat on the venue (the highlights in the gray hair
    appear to be sunlight). However, in my experience with film the
    indoor lighting in churches is such a low color temperature, that when
    you add candle light you get a terrible mess of reds, never anything
    as dynamic as what you are showing here.

    There appears some overall softness in each of the pictures, but it
    doesn't appear to be due to motion or focus. Is this just dependent on
    the camera software (e.g. internal sharpening or lack thereof in this

    Thanks again,

    Matt, I know this is on your thread but somehow my mail feed missed
    the original.
    Roger, Sep 15, 2004
  14. Ray Creveling

    Mark M Guest

    I'll pass on your thoughts (and Matt's) to my Dad, who will be absolutely
    THRILLED to hear your opinion. He's 68 years old, and not computer/digital
    savvy at all. It's all a bit overwhelming to him, and this is just the sort
    of encouragement that will fuel his fun.

    I did adjust levels *slightly*, but nothing else--no color, or sharpening.
    It's true, I think, that the older gentleman in the picture had some sort of
    window light adding a bit, but the others were candle light only (for all
    practical purposes). It was blurry in part because I'm sure his 10D was on
    "P" (since he's new to this), and relied on what the camera thought up in
    terms of shutter speed, etc. Also, he was just hand-holding without IS or
    anything, so it wasn't the sharpest... He shot it at 105mm (that's more
    like 160mm when you add the 1.6x factor, which does translate to perceived
    camera-shake) at a relatively slow 1/60th of a second (it was in the
    meta-data). He did quite well considering it wasn't an IS lens. :)

    Mark M, Sep 16, 2004
  15. Ray Creveling

    Mark M Guest

    I'll pass that on to my somewhat intimidated 68-year-old,
    non-computer/digital savvy dad. You and Roger will absolutely make his day!
    I told him the same, but I'm his son... (that's kind of like when your mom
    tells you you're cute...)

    I actually put together a DVD show centered around his shots from inside
    that church. It had a "prayer" theme, and incorporated other shots from the
    struggling country. It includes music, and is actually quite moving. I'll
    try to post a link to it, though you have to allow a little player applet
    download (totally legit...kind of like a PowerPoint viewer applet). If
    you're interested in seeing it, you can find it at:

    Click the following link to view the 3 minute show:
    (Click the "Dad-Romania" show, then click the thumbnail. To view it full
    screen, right click on the show, then select full-screen. If you've got a
    decent bandwidth and video card, it's fabulous quality for a free
    show-sharing service!)

    You need a fairly up-to-date computer with a fast connection for it to be
    worth it...

    If you're not familiar with Photodex's "Pro Show Gold" program, it is
    It is simple and powerful, allowing creation of shows with motion, panning,
    zooming, text-effects, and allows output to DVD, CD, e-mail, free posting on
    their web-site, screen-saver, video CD, exe files, and more. It can really
    transform images into fantastic presentations that are easy to share.
    Click the following link to view the collection:
    I just did a 25 minute show for a 20 year High School reunion, and they were
    standing and cheering by the time it was over.

    Mark M, Sep 16, 2004
  16. Ray Creveling

    usenet Guest

    You can pass on my congratulations too. :)
    Even though the 10D is possibly the perfect camera for shots like that,
    it's still far from trivial to get that good a result.
    My tip is to shoot in shutter-priority at the slowest speed your hands
    are capable of, (1/15 to 1/25 for me), with a fast prime (I use the EF
    50/F1.8II), at ISO 800 or 1600. A little bit of fill flash can help a
    lot, but you need to turn it down a stop or two to stop it from drowning
    out the available light.
    Eg: <>
    (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)
    usenet, Sep 18, 2004
  17. Ray Creveling

    Mark M Guest

    Perhaps fill-flash could have done something, but the main thing it would
    have done would be to get him kicked out. After all...this was a prayer
    room with dozens of people praying by their candles...
    Mark M, Sep 18, 2004
  18. Ray Creveling

    usenet Guest

    Yeah, okay, you got me there. ;)
    usenet, Sep 19, 2004
  19. Thanks all for the advice. Tonight was the service. It was an emergent
    service with various prayer stations.I shot everything with Kodak TMY 3200
    pushed 1 stop. I figure if I get 5 good images out it will meet my need. The
    exposure even with my 50mm F1.8 was between 1/30-1/60 in the darkest areas
    at 1.8. In the brighter area I got all the was up 1/90 :). I'm sending the
    negs to a lab tomorrow to be developed and scanned. I then plan on printing
    anything worthwhile
    Ray Creveling, Sep 20, 2004
  20. Ray Creveling

    Alan Browne Guest

    Mark M wrote:

    The other day I was photographing some flowers in a park with a half dozen other
    devoted photographers. I bounced some flash off of a white panel to illuminate
    the BG a little ... some SOB begins praying quietly behind me. I booted his ass
    out of the park.
    Alan Browne, Sep 22, 2004
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