First, the details. This was a 9 shot bracketed series taken on a D700 with the Nikon 14-24mm lens. The aperture was set to f/11 and the shutter speeds varied throughout the series. I processed it from Lightroom using Photoshop’s Merge to HDR Pro, then some minor retouching to remove distractions and then back to LR for some post-processing. On to the story…
I walked in to the church with my tripod and camera in hand. As you know, anyone with a tripod is automatically treated like a criminal so I was prepared ahead of time. The security person at the front informed me that I could take photos but not use the tripod in the main isle for safety reasons. Knowing the shot I wanted was in the middle I went for plan B (even though I didn’t have a plan B yet). I walked around the church for about 15 minutes trying to work a different angle but I just wasn’t happy with anything. So I decided to throw a Hail Mary.
I saw my opening. The people had cleared the center isle for a few minutes. Off to the side, I set the camera to a 9-frame bracketed series, turned on continuous shooting mode and tested the height of the legs for the shot I wanted. Then I quickly and covertly walked into the center and put the camera/tripod down. Nobody was in site so I just kinda fake-leaned gently on the camera and held my finger on the shutter. Almost making it look like I wasn’t really shooting (yes, I’m sneaky like that). Since I had my camera set to continuous mode it would continue the auto bracketed series as long as the shutter was pressed.
“Click” – went the first shot. “Click” – 2nd shot. “Click” – third. YES!!! I thought I was in the clear. But as I got to the 5th and 6th frames the shutter speeds started creeping into the 8-10 second range. “Uh oh!” I thought.
Now, anyone who shoots HDR knows that these are the most crucial frames because they give details in the dark areas. Well during the 10 second exposure a security guard walked up and told me I had to move. I asked if I could just have 1 more minute and she said no. Then I asked if I could come back later (“Click!” – only 3 more frames to go) in the day when no one was there. She said no. I proceeded to ask if I could come back early in the morning, maybe before they opened. Oh and by the way “What time do you open?” I asked. She said they opened at 8am but that I had to move now (“Click” – 2 more shots to go).
At this point I still had a 20 and 30 second exposure to go so I had to start talking really slow. I was really getting desperate so I asked if she was married and would like to go on a date. She said no
The Moral of the Story
Ya know, I don’t know what the moral of the story is. I guess I kind of felt like I beat the tripod police for once. I totally understand the need to keep the walkways clear for safety reasons but there wasn’t anyone there for me to pose a safety concern to at this point. So I’m OK with my choice. All in all, I got the shot I came for, didn’t get arrested and didn’t hurt anyone along the way.
What would you have done? Thanks!