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Murders with Some Drama

Well, not real murders of course.  I have been back to Heidelberg Theatre Company to photograph rehearsals for a new play they are doing.  The director is Paul King, and for those that have been following me for a long time will remember that I have worked with Paul before and I photographed his play Summer of the Seventeenth Dolls around 2 years ago.  He has asked me to come back and do the same thing for his latest production, Little Murders.

I stole this from the website, I’m sure Paul won’t mind.  This is what the play is about.  Little Murders is a pitch-black comedy about an everyday dysfunctional American family trying to survive in the urban jungle of late 1960s New York. This is a city where random shootings, garbage strikes, air pollution, power failures and obscene phone calls are the norm. When daughter Patsy brings her new boyfriend home to this embattled atmosphere to introduce him to the family, his passivity in the face of danger leads to more conflict – and comedy. The play was written by Jules Feiffer.

LeanneCole-htclittlemurders-20140526-9569It was nice being back and seeing a cast make it’s way through the dialogue and trying to work out where they were going to go or move.  The director trying to keep his head as a million ideas are thrown at him.  This was taken at the beginning, I think it was the first time they were doing this scene, so Paul was talking to them about what he wanted.

LeanneCole-htclittlemurders-20140526-9612Sometimes the director just has to get up there and talk to them as well.  Help explain what he wants them to do.  You will notice with most of these images the actors have their noses in their scripts for most of it.

LeanneCole-htclittlemurders-20140526-9563One of the things that I also enjoy is watching the set come together.  Slowly over the next few weeks this will evolve into a lounge room with a dining room up the back.  Walls will appear, some will have windows in them.  The furniture will change. By the time the play starts it will look like a real room,

LeanneCole-htclittlemurders-20140526-9614One of the things I was really excited about when it came to taking photos was getting to see how the Nikon D800 would handle the crap lighting in a theatre.  When I’ve photographed plays before I had my D300s, and while it was a good camera, it was terrible at low light and the noise in the images was shocking.  I have to say the D800 handled it like a trouper.  It was so good.  I hardly had to do anything to them to get rid of any noise.  I started at ISO4000, but ended up at ISO2000.  Now that I have seen the images, I will probably do things a little different next time.  The above image stood out so much when I started going through.  It was so crisp and sharp, I had a look and saw that I had taken it with the 50mm.  I think I love how that lens takes photos.  It is fast becoming my new favourite lens, well for some things.  Maybe I need to consider getting the 35mm.

LeanneCole-htclittlemurders-20140526-9656I forgot how much fun rehearsals can be.  There is a lot to laugh about, especially as some things are done over and over.  You do sit there and just laugh.  Sometimes I get so caught up in what is happening on the set that I forget to take photos.

Paul wants me to continue going back to get photos of the play.  At this stage I’m not sure whether I will do posts on it every week or every second.  I will try and include information about photographing the play and how I do it, where I can.  Here is a gallery with some of the images I got.

30 Comments
  1. worldwebcams #

    Great article and very lovely images

    May 29, 2014
  2. I’m very impressed with the crispness of the photos. Excellent work.

    BTW, I like your new theme. Theme changing seems to be the order of the day. Several other blogs I read have changed themes. I’ve been looking for theme to change on my own for the past year and found one I like.

    May 29, 2014
    • Thank you David, interesting being there again.

      Thanks about the theme, and I think WordPress have changed some things. I was told that my theme wouldn’t work anymore for somethings, like the AdWords, so I had to get a new one. I didn’t have to buy one, but I couldn’t find a free one I liked. I do like this. It is good when you find one you like, are you happy with yours?

      May 29, 2014
      • I’m quite pleased with the new theme. I was looking for a very sharp, minimalist-type theme. And, I wanted something that had a full width layout also.

        May 30, 2014
      • That’s great David, of course no theme ever works exactly the way you want it, but if you can get close, that is a good start. I wanted the sidebar, but I wanted it on the left, that was very important, but for my website I wanted the full width layout.

        May 30, 2014
  3. Very crisp! I have the 35mm f/1.8 but then I have a DX camera so it ends up being 50mm. I used it today in fact. I love seeing the theater shots!

    May 29, 2014
    • Thank you Laura, I loved the lens. I look forward to seeing your photos.

      May 29, 2014
  4. How fun!!! Would be great to see how everything evolves over time, charectures, settings, etc.
    Looks like you are getting a treat.
    Also am interested in hearing more how your iso settings progress – and if various lightings change with time and set development. Look forward to the next round whenefer you get the time.

    May 29, 2014
    • I think you will enjoy them then, I hope so. It is great seeing it all come together.
      I will see how I go with the settings and stuff. Though I am using the News Blog on website for much of that information now. Thanks Paul

      May 29, 2014
  5. Leanne, these are near and dear to my heart. I spent ten years in community theatre, working my way up from deck crew and props designer/master to stage manager. My oldest son, an architectural lighting designer, was trained as a theatrical lighting designer, and all three of my kids (and I) have taken our turn on the boards. It’s a home away from home. Thanks for these wonderful photos – brought back so many fantastic, fun memories!

    May 29, 2014
    • I have spent many years doing different things from time to time, I don’t have much to do with it now. I never did anything on stage though. So glad they have brought back memories for you.

      May 29, 2014
  6. What a cool project.

    May 29, 2014
    • Thank you Gypsy, always fun to see it coming together.

      May 29, 2014
  7. Theatre photography isn’t an area I have any experience in but the results look excellent to me.

    May 29, 2014
    • Maybe you should see if you can try it Rob, quite different. Thank you.

      May 29, 2014
  8. I recently upgraded from DX to FX. I was looking at the D800 but ended up going with the D610. I upgraded from the D7000 and noticed how much better the D610 does in low light. Another thing I noticed, which I also read about the D800, is that it has more of a dynamic range which allows you to take photos at a lower exposure because with the RAW image you are able to bring out more of the details in the shadows which helps with keeping the shutter speed up and the ISO down. I think your photos turned out very nice at that ISO. Makes me wonder how high we’ll be able to go in the future as they continue to improve the technology. I always like experimenting with my camera so I can get used to what it can do so when in tight situations I know how to react to get the shots I want.

    May 29, 2014
    • I do love the D800 and I am so glad I got it. I think the photos you get in low light are amazing. Though I believe the D610 is also a very good camera. I know what you mean about the future, who knows. Experimenting is a great thing to do. Thanks.

      May 29, 2014
  9. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    That was a departure from your usual! Very nice! It must be so interesting to watch the inner workings. 🙂

    May 30, 2014
    • I used to do lots of theatre stuff, while for a while, I don’t know how much people like it, but I do like photographing it. thanks Jackie.

      May 30, 2014
  10. Amanda #

    hahaha lol, take a look at bbcnews england online and that’ll have you thinking differently in no time…. real time real murders!

    May 30, 2014
    • LOL, we have enough here I think.

      May 30, 2014
  11. That must have been a ton of fun. I have acted in school plays over the years and I must say I enjoyed the experience. I often think about joining the local theatre company but wonder how I’d cope with some pretty big egos. lol

    May 30, 2014
    • Maybe you should try it Suz, amateur theatre is nothing like what is portrayed on tv, it is very different, at least down here it is. You might find a whole new thing to have fun with. I did really enjoy being there, I do love watching a play come together.

      May 30, 2014
      • I shall consider it. Along with all the other ideas I am entertaining right now lol

        June 1, 2014
      • Haha, there are always so many choices, it is hard sometimes. Maybe you could see if you could take photos, and then you can see what it is like and then decide.

        June 1, 2014
  12. Walter Hampson #

    I know what you mean about the old 300s, I used to use my D700 until it dies of water ingress. Shooting under stage light is a challenge at the best of time. Nice images again 🙂

    June 1, 2014
    • It certainly is, it was the only thing that really made using the 300s hard, so happy with the new camera, thanks.

      June 2, 2014

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