Josh's Photo Blog

May 16, 2009

Graduation 2009

Filed under: news — Tags: , , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 4:45 pm

I went to USC’s graduation yesterday mainly to see off some of my very good friends, but I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to test out my new D700 in the field for the first time.

I got there a little later than expected, but a quick flash of my Daily Trojan (school paper) press credentials and I was on my way into the press box for the main ceremony. (I actually DO work for the Daily Trojan, btw, but that wasn’t the primary purpose of my visit)

USC is understandably very restrictive about where one can be during the ceremony – they’ve got maybe 20,000 people packed into a relatively small square at the center of campus. I was confined to a pretty tiny box about 10 yards away from the main stage – not the best, but it could have been much worse. I wasn’t really interested in the speakers so much as I was in the students and parents. It’s their day, and they’re the ones carrying the emotional weight.

That said, I did get some close-ups of our Governator, “Dr.”Arnold Schwarzenegger, getting his honorary degree. He was the keynote speaker that day, and he gave us all some good laughs. I switched to the D300 to get this shot – it’s got a longer reach than the D700 due to its crop factor. With the 70-200 and a 1.4x extender, you’ve got a 400mm lens that’s compact enough to take most places.

I’ll be getting a degree from Marshall in a year, if things work out right..

I decided to get into the Engineering graduation – I figured my buddies would end up there eventually, and my research told me it would be one of the better-lit ceremonies. It definitely had much better light than the huge Business graduation, which took place in a really dim gym. Another flash of the credentials, and I was in.

There’s so much behind-the-scenes stuff at a graduation – they have people do last-minute adjustments to you to make sure your tassel is on the right side of the hat, and that you’re all zipped up and ready to go.

It’s surprisingly dim in the shaded areas – I was at ISO 800 at times. Normally this is entering danger territory, but I honestly didn’t see any difference in noise or image quality on the D700. This is pretty amazing.

After all of that ended, I headed over with a friend to catch the last moments of the B-school graduation. That gym was as dimly lit as I expected it to be – but I got my favorite pic of the day from it:

Can you tell this is ISO 3200?! I’ve got night vision now..

I was pretty beat after shooting all of this – it was decently hot out, and my cameras were pretty heavy. But it was a pretty awesome day, and a good feeling to go behind-the-scenes on such an important day. Congratulations to all the 2009 graduates!


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