This past Sunday night I had the privilege of attending my first "Henna". It's basically the Sefardi version of a L'Chaim or Vort (engagement parties) with way cooler clothes and some fancy skin coloring ceremonies (replete with lilili'ing and all). Sharon and Oscar make a really cute couple, and I wish them all the blessings for a wonderful marriage together. Oscar is from India (hence the Henna) and drives quite the gnarly bike (stat).
I was there as the photographer, and I got the chance to use that 24-70 lens I picked up recently on craigslist (actually I picked it up at the Coffee Bean, if you care). I really am enjoying the wide angle part of it. It feels like you're smack in middle of everything (that's why most journalists spend a majority of their time with wide angles). And the longer end is good for not-so-tight portraits (examples to come soon).
What I really had a hard time with was the lighting. Inside, the ceiling was low (as in not ballroom high) and the light was from many small circular lights, which looked great in real life, but gave anyone with even a hint of a receding hairline bright white spots on their foreheads. Outside was nice, until it got dark (well is was still nice, it was just dark). I didn't want to use my flash because a. I'm not that proficient in it's use yet b. there was nothing to bounce it off of (the sky doesn't bounce light very well) c. It would have ruined the ambiance of both the event and the pictures.
As always I made the mistake of lowering the shutter speed instead of raising the ISO (I didn't want to go past 2000, I should have though), noise is better than blur (I need to make at some sort of mantra and stick it on my wall, or even better, inside my viewfinder).
Also I should have made more tome to chat up the family and get comfortable around them (more them around me), so a. I get more shots of them and b. they don't look so posed in all of the shots.
On the brighter side, I did take some wonderful pics. I discovered that converting to black and white gets rid of a lot of lighting/coloring/white balance issues, and I me'od like the combo of wide angle and black and white.
I know I mentioned this already, but I am very into (attempting to) getting pictures that capture the feeling of the event more than getting pictures of those that were there (including family). Portraits and even group pics are nice (and getting a few won't kill anyone), but in 5 or 10 years you don't want to see formal looking pics of the people there, you want to see pictures that remind you how you felt at the time, you want pictures that instead of saying "wow, I sure looked beautiful", it's "wow, I was so happy and we all had such a fun time". That's also why I'm so in love (more like, in like) with the wide angles (and now i'm ogling the 24 f1.4..., someone help me).
On to the pics (mostly with the 24-70 and the 50, and a few with the 105):
Mrs. Kaplan hard at work (and Eli doing his thing)
Meet and greet
Carol and her beautiful step daughter
The drink table (always an integral part)
Eli's sister and her über cute daughter
For some reason before the actual Henna, it seems that the couple is tomb chased to their seats by a bunch of woman carrying plates of cookies. Not the worst thing in the world.
The cookie dance.
Behold: the Henna.
The happy couple.
No, that's not the High Priest. It's Phil.
For now. Toodooloo. Too. Doo. Loo. That's how they ask children in the UK if they have to go to the bathroom.
I'll post some more pictures from the Henna tomorrow (I'm at the cow farm and it takes forever to upload pictures to flickr from my iPad out here).