Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tucson All Souls Procession and ISO 6400

I went to the All Souls Procession in downtown Tucson on Sunday to experience the fun and make some photographs.  This event seems to be bigger every year (now in its 21st year) and downtown was humming with activity.  The event started at 6 PM and, earlier in the day, I thought I'd find a flash to mount on my camera so I could get better images in the low light (and with better color balance under the sodium lights). Calls to a couple camera stores didn't yield any luck finding a Canon 580EX II which I had decided to buy, so I ordered the flash on Amazon and went flashless to the procession.  I was using my 135mm f/2 lens on the 5D mk II so, as I had done at the fire dance the night before, I used shutter priority with the shutter speed set to 1/200 sec.  I looked for a place that wasn't directly under the sodium lights and found a place near some fluorescent street lamps, not the best, and darker than last year, but at least I wouldn't drown in low pressure sodium light which I find hard to correct for even shooting raw files.

Blue eyes and the veil and hat make a great look!
With that shutter speed and wide open at f/2, I found I needed to set the ISO to 6400 to get reasonable exposures.  Wow, I haven't really used this setting much so I was concerned about the amount of noise that I'd see in the resulting images.  I did get a fair amount of both luminosity noise and color noise but the corrections for these in Adobe Lightroom are quite good and I was able to clean up the noise to a level that is satisfactory.  Next year I'll have a flash and will try that option, but I'm fairly happy with the results from this year.

There was a lot of face paint but I really liked some of the paper machete.
I didn't stay for the final show at the end of the event.  This means I missed a lot of fire, but, well, I don't like crowds much and I wanted to watch Masterpiece on PBS (Sherlock Holmes).  I guess I'm just not a enough of a party person :-)

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