Savoyard Light Opera Company
Carlisle MA,   November 2017

  A community production of the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic.  I helped on the lighting crew, and then put a fairly new camera through some tough testing by shooting the last run of the show.  I was quite pleased with how it turned out; more photographic observations made a little later in the text.

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The only part which has the set configured as a carousel [with motorized rotation!]

Mr. Snow





  Billy's persistence in distracting the "supreme judge" from hanging the stars representing the departed eventually gets him an opportunity to look down at life in the normal world, albeit 15 years later.  His daughter Louise comes *bounding* onto the set; a cast member clearly trained in classical ballet.  This was more of a photographic challenge -- to capture a rapidly moving person, with a point-and-shoot camera from the back of the room.  I've never really gotten into the SLR thing, preferring to keep my gear on the simple side, and after going through another recent buying and test cycle I'm *completely* sold on the new generation of one-inch sensor format compact cameras.  Where pushing sensitivity as high as ISO 400 on the previous small-format sensors would have delivered an almost unusably noisy image, here I was running between ISO 1250 and 1600 at f/5.6 or so and never shooting slower than 1/60.  So I was pretty much *freezing* action on stage, which I've never been able to do before.  To some extent I was employing my hard-learned habit of anticipating a brief stop in movement as when to fire, but here I almost didn't need to worry about it too much.  After catching "Louise" in mid-leap with minimal blur in the feet I realized that I was in a whole new realm of capability.

The camera is a Canon G7x-markII, the latest generation of Canon's high end "enthusiast" compacts and already quite a popular choice in the field.  These allow full manual control over all of the shooting parameters, which is important in tricky lighting situations, and its vastly improved sensor dynamics bring usable light-gathering power worlds apart from anything I've had before.  The zoom range is a little limited, simply due to the mechanics of compact-format optics paired with the larger sensor, but with 20 Mp per image even small crops come out quite well after reduction and minimal smoothing.  The originals have a token bit of "grain", most visible in the blue backdrop, but not in an intrusive way and it basically vanishes completely in processing to web-size.  I shot a little on the dark side anyway, to avoid blowing out too many bright spots, and brought out the shadows a little in post.


Louise's tumultuous social life

A star from the hereafter

Graduation day

Bows / curtain call Curtain call, audience invited to come up and tour set
Curtain call.  These are very wide images to more clearly show everyone in the cast; your browser may not render them full 1:1 size without a little help.

Semi-sneak shot of FOH control A semi-sneak shot of the folks at FOH

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