Sony #BeAlpha Seattle and Hiatus
Hi there! Before I get into this post, there’s just some general housekeeping I’ve got to take care of with you all. Content on the blog is going to slow down to a drip for the next few weeks as I’m getting married in under a week and I’m shifting all of my focus to that and the honeymoon! So this will be the last post for a few weeks, but I’m hoping to return with more content!
Last night here in Seattle, Sony held a community event, inviting the photography community at large to come, have fun, try out various Sony Alpha bodies and lenses, and shoot different subjects in different scenarios while mingling over cocktails and color science. Part of what makes Sony Alpha brand special isn’t the cameras; they’re fantastic tools that enable creatives to do amazing things, but it’s the creative community at large that makes the brand stick out among others. Look at the Sony Alpha feeds on social media, and you’re bound to find daily inspiration from a member in the community whose photo they’ve chosen to promote. They have events like this where they invite both the converted and the curious to try out their products in REAL situations, and not static simulations.
Upon getting to the event, Sony Ambassadors Jason Vong and That1CameraGuy were there documenting for their respective YouTube channels. Once inside, visitors were greeted to a choice of the Sony a7 III, a7R III and a9 for rental as well as a variety of lenses. Inspired by Alpha Collective photographer Jake Chamseddine (Panic! at the Disco) and Elliot Ingham (Fall Out Boy), I decided to rent out the a7R III for the duration of the event, and my first lens choice was the 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens.
One of the models, Jahni, was lit in neon purple and green, and styled in retro chic autumn fashion. The a7R III’s low light capability, in conjunction with it’s Eye-AF, was able to lock on to her eyes with no problem here. It was at this moment I felt a freedom I haven’t been able to achieve with my current kit - low-light shooting that came out as clear as my daytime or studio work. Had I shot this on my own personal kit, I would be cranking up the ISO levels, and here, it was nearly effortless to shoot with little noise.
One model area had two models in a frame, with a pink backdrop behind them. Together, they were well lit, creating a very vibrant image. During this set, I was being filmed by the cinematographer as I captured this photo.
When it was time to shoot the skateboarders, it started to drizzle. I wanted to try something different when shooting them. Originally, I wanted to test out the 85mm f/1.4 G Master, but its popularity had it rented out for the majority of the event, so I chose the 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master instead. The compression combined with the aperture would make for wicked depth of field. As skaters made their way up and down the ramp, the 70-200 was able to give me the perfect amount of reach to zoom in and get the fine details while keeping everything else blurred out.
One of the talent groups included parkour, which made for a great chance to use the continuous burst mode on the a7R III. Not only did the camera keep up with the subject flawlessly, but having that high of a frame rate allowed me to capture all the in-between motions. This part of the shoot brought to my attention two things. One, for shooting around 9 frames per second, and writing 42MP images two cards at once, the camera is a beast. Secondly, the size of those uncompressed images completely devoured my memory cards. I noticed a difference when I had to switch from UHS-II cards to UHS-I, as the camera slowed down since it can’t clear the buffer as quickly. From my experience, I would strictly use UHS-II cards with this, and cards 64GB and higher if you’re going to be using the full resolution 42MP files.
For the final outing of the evening, I chose the 50mm f/1.4 Zeiss lens to take photos of the models provided. Depth of field was fantastic as expected, and was just the perfect size to be nimble in the crowd. This would make a fantastic part of a kit. This is the part of the shoot where I had exhausted all my memory cards, but I had captured everything I needed throughout the day.
It’s great to see events like this happen, where creators are empowered by the people who make the products we use, fostering community and creativity, for that, hat’s off to Sony. I’m hoping that I get some more hands on time with these tools in the future.