So what did I do after playing with Crocodiles?
On the evening of the same day, there was a by-invitation-only Fashion Show happening at the Spring shopping mall, Kuching. For some unknown reasons, I have got myself a set of VIP passes, and I went to the show with Allen and Brandon Eu. I know I have gone fashion show frenzy just the weekend before I returned to Kuching, and little did I expect to attend one in Kuching.
Since this was a by invitation only event, the place was not accessible by the public, which was a good change of not having the whole place being jammed pack with people. There was the photographers stage set up auspiciously for us, and this marked the first time of me standing on the stage shooting fashion shows.
All my previous attempts of shooting fashion show was on the floor level, approximately half meter below the runway level. This was not ideal since I was shooting from bottom facing upwards to the models, and shooting not exactly anywhere near the center was also undesirable. This time, it was refreshing to be standing on the photographers platform, same level as the models, and very much close to facing the middle of the runway. There was no need to worry about distractions, and the shooting position could not have been more ideal.
I have seen previous fashion shows in Kuching through some of my fellow Kuching bloggers coverage, and judging from what was presented there I did not have high expectations. Unexpectedly, the fashion show turned out to be really good. The selection of models were good, though not the usual glittering, glamorous professional looking type of models, but at least they can do proper catwalk and pose on stage properly !!! The display of clothings were fantastic, and arrangement of the whole theme and timing was beautifully executed.
It was when we were snapping the fashion show halfway that the producer, Irene Teo came and checked on us if we were ok and if we needed anything. That was a genuinely unanticipated but very pleasing surprise.
I felt very modest with my tiny camera and lens compared to some heavy hitters present that day !! Allen was shooting with two camera bodies, one with prime lens and another with tele lens mounted. Brandon took out his big gun to play, the ZUIKO (Super-Pro grade) 35-100mm F2.0 which was considerably larger and heavier than the Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS !! Looking at those two fellow photographers somehow made me realize that my set of equipments does seem very.. humble.
Here is the list of things I wish I could improve on photography side of things:
1) Natural Lighting with a kiss of Flash
It was not an easy task balancing the natural lighting while adding a tiny boost with flash. The stage lighting was not much of a help, and the whole frame seemed very dim even shooting at ISO 400 (on my F3.5-4.5 lens). The flash was used to reduce the shadows on the faces cast by the spotlight, and obviously to add the “catchlight” (glowing spark) effect on the model’s eyes. Shooting at ISO 800 could solve the problem, but that would create other issues such as high ISO noise which my camera can’t handle very well.
2) Subject isolation
It does seem that I have met the end of my satisfaction line when it comes to how much bokeh my lens can produce. No thanks to Brandon’s F2 lens of course. I was never a bokeh crazy kind of person, but you have got to admit there is something orgasmic when you can cream the background. Fortunately the background was plainly set, and even without adequate bokeh I found no trouble in using simple composition to isolate my subjects. Kudos to the organizers !!
3) Skin tone
I could not quite figure out why yet, but somehow the skin tone did not come out as smoothly and evenly lit as my previous attempts in KL Fashion Shows. This issue was prominent at areas where the models stopped at the end of the runway and strike a few poses. Probably it has got something to do with facing the models directly from the front. I suspect that the stage lighting did not cover the front area entirely, rendering such unevenly lit circumstances.
On this entry, the apparels displayed by the models were from ESPRIT. I do not think I own anything from ESPRIT, but I do have some friends who wore everything ESPRIT on them all the time.
ALLEN, LOUIS and ME
Photo Note: Picture above stolen from http://brandoneu.blogspot.com/
On the whole I did enjoy myself tremendously that night. That was not the end of the show, it continued on the following weekend, but I was on my way to KL already.
I did feel that one week of holiday was barely enough !! Two weeks would have been ideal, but I am afraid I might not find my seat anymore when I return to work after such a long holiday. Nonetheless, it was one full week filled with events and activities that I was happy to be part of.
I wonder when my next trip back to Kuching will be !!
I do have a lot more fashion shows pictures from subsequent sessions, but I shall "probably" post them up later.