When I started this project I knew there would be times I wished I had a longer lens at my disposal. Here we are, a mere 31 days into it and we have one of those days. My wife and eldest son both take Isshinryu Karate. Saturday, they both went in for belt testing. This is one of those moments when my wife expects pictures. She is not overly sympathetic in regards to my “project”. All she knows is that I blow a lot of money on camera equipment. In return for not bringing this up constantly, she expects good photos of big moments in our lives. This is why a day like yesterday makes me concerned about my blood pressure, and if I really lay a stinker, my lodging is in jeopardy as well.
The Dojo where the belt testing took place is rather large. It’s horribly lit, and the spectator seating area is about as far from the participants as could be in relation to the building size. So imagine me sitting some 30-40 feet from the action, with my little camera and its rather inappropriate for the job 23mm lens. Never mind the 11 month old baby I am holding the entire time.
With my options limited, I must concentrate fully on getting sharp shots. I know I will have to crop these rather heavily in order to get shots even remotely worth looking at. Keep in mind the goal here isn’t gallery worthy prints, but they still must be good enough that my wife doesn’t use her new found karate skills on me.
I am quite pleased at how well the files held up to cropping. More importantly my wife is happy with them as well. I shot everything in jpeg (as I always do) and did what minimal processing you see here using my galaxy tablet and snapseed app. These have all be cropped, some as much as 100% and I still feel the results are satisfactory. Someone shooting in RAW and processing in Lightroom for example would get even better mileage I assume.
In the end I feel good about this how turned out. It has given me a lot more confidence in the likelihood that this project will be seen through to completion, and a sense of relief in knowing how much I can get away with in terms of creating a usable image. The last part has to be taken in context for sure, but for family type shots, where internet viewing and 4×6 prints are the norm it’s more than acceptable. So I will say the day was a huge success, both my wife and son passed their testing and earned their new belts. My son was promoted to the rank of yellow belt with white stripe, and my wife promoted to full yellow. I am proud of both of them, and the camera as well ;).