Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nikon Show 2009: Model Shoot-Out

Did I not say recently that I would snatch this weekened away with only one single purpose: to have lots, and lots of shutter therapy sessions. And the first session began with the Nikon Show 2009: Model Shoot-Out at Mid Valley Center Court, earlier this afternoon. Thanks to a beautiful colleague from work who tipped me off the event, and hence I stormed through the dangerously crowded KTM train to Mid Valley. Of course, one of the elements that truly define the pattern of this blog is the photos of models hitting poses on the stage. I had fun snapping the photos of the models away, and I sure hope you guys have just as much fun seeing them here !!

The shoot-out session was scheduled in late afternoon, around 3.30pm. I have arrived at Mid Valley at 1.30pm, and as I made my way to the center court where the Nikon camera/photography exhibition was, I found that there were already two rows of photographers surrounding the main stage !!! Previously in the Lumix Model Search, at least it was an hour plus before the event and I still managed to grab the front position, but here at the Nikon show, the photographers seemed to be more fierce in getting what they want. Seriously, two freaking hours before the show, this has become quite an interesting event photography culture in KL, especially if it involves models and girls posing free publically.

Two hours is a very long stretch of time. I found myself having not much of a choice but standing at the third row and waiting patiently like the others until the time came. Half an hour later, even I can't seem to find myself moving around that easily anymore, because the whole area has been flooded crazily. I am not exactly one of those guys who can stand around and do nothing for two freaking hours. And the idea itself was not very pleasing, but sacrifices have got to be made if I do want to get some decent shots, or else standing too further away from the stage would have resulted in lots of hairs, flash heads, reflectors, flash diffusers, hands, elbows, and what nots blocking my line of camera aim. I have got to stand my ground, and finally, by pure luck I advanced to the second row as some photographers in front of me gave up waiting.

It is a weird feeling standing amongst a crowd of other photographers. Judging from the prizes of the shoot-out competition, the aim was mainly targeted at younger and newer audience. No, I did not intend to join the competition, I was there just for the heck of it, and grab some photos of babes to add on to my collection. Nonetheless, it was quite unsettling to see that so many people would stand there doing nothing for two hours. Almost everyone had the camera strapped around their heck or wrists, and testing some setups, angled the flash up down left right, fired a shot or two, then review the picture. Then they aimlessly pointed the camera around for some random shots, and the whole process repeated itself for two hours. I wonder how they can call themselves sane. As for me, I had my camera stuffed in my sling bag all the time, until 5 minutes before the show then I whipped out my Ollie to be ready for action.

What is the point of showing off the camera? Surely, some would say that the DSLR is the ticket and permit one would need to be standing so dangerously close to the stage front, but these days, who would not recognize the ungodly bulk of a DSLR bag? Also, you can evidently see every photographer there looking at one another, not on the persons but on the cameras, lenses and other equipments attached. Scouting for threats, and maybe, if they found others using lower end cameras than they do, they will find some twisted sense of satisfaction. There were some people who even probed me from the side and asked why not I take out my camera and do some test shots. I shot back at them, but very politely "It is pointless to do test shots now, the stage lighting is not even turned on at the moment. Once the models are on stage, the lighting condition will be different". They found themselves agreeing with me.

The stage was tiny, if compared to many other model shooting events I have attended. There was not much room for the models to move around. Lighting was bad, but bright enough to light the models. There were some shots that I have purposely taken without the use of flash to get more 3-dimensional feel out of it. At least the tone of the light was warm, and this can be easily corrected by various means possible. This was also the first time I have seen any event started waaaaayyy ahead of time. The schedule stated that the model shoot out was 3.30pm, but it actually started close to 3.10pm. This was probably due to their observation on the many photographers (me included) that have been standing there since two freaking hours ago.

Considering the fact that I stood extremely close to the stage, it was not very advantageous for me to compose my shots. Though the background was plain, simple and favorable, but somehow, I was shooting the models from a low angle, from bottom up, creating a very uneven balance on the body and head proportion in size. And using the tele lens, 40-150mm was not very flexible, as the models move closer to the front, I needed to crop off some part of the body and limbs to fit in my photo. On the other hand, I was standing at the second row, meaning there were people in front of me, and I could not capture the full body view, from head to toe of the models even if I wanted to, being blocked by those front people.

The photo outcome was not very desirable, but nonetheless I did enjoy the whole shooting event. The models were quite good, and better than average model fashion shows that I have witnessed before. Their poses were very natural, and they made eye contact with photographers. Nikon has got to be praised for hiring the good models for this session. I guess all the other photographers enjoyed the show too, judging by the loud cheers and whistles I heard from time to time.

This weekend has been very relaxing for me. I needed this rest, and time to do things for myself. Past weeks have been unforgivingly hectic and traumatizing for me. Therefore, more shutter therapy coming this way !!

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