Children’s Action Alliance

I recently had the honor of 2nd shooting the Children’s Action Alliance (CAA) with Holly Baumann Ambuehl .  The CAA is a very noble organization dedicated to serving the youth of Arizona.  Find out more about them at

The event was held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix.  I got there early to scout the rooms to get a feel for the lighting.  Holly had warned me the lighting was horrible from a photography standpoint.  Very dark with your typical spotlights in the ceiling.  This gives you hot spots at times and pretty much darkness the rest.  White balance is always tricky which is why shooting in RAW is the only way to go.

First on the shot list was to shoot the silent auction items.  These are various gifts donated by the community as a fund raiser.  I used a 1.4 50mm to handle the low light conditions.  Having fast glass for these shots was absolutely critical.  My Canon 40D maxes out at ISO 1600 and I never like to go over 800 if I can keep from it.  Enter dreams of owning a Canon Mark 2 shooting at ISO 1600 with no issues. Sigh.  Back to reality.

Once people were seated in the ballroom I staked out a spot in the back with my tripod.  Holly would be shooting all the up close stage shots of the speakers while I shot from the back.  For these shots I was shooting on the long end of a 28-135mm.  This arrangement would allow for a nice one-two punch coverage of the event. The ballroom lighting was typical for an event such as this.  Room at near pitch black with the speaker illuminated.  One way to help with this situation is to use the spot metering function on your camera.  It uses more of the light at the center of the frame to make its calculation for the exposure.  This will give you the speaker properly exposed with the crowd pretty much in the shadows.

These kind of shoots are challenging but are extremely fun as well.  They force you into manual mode and require you think about each shot as the lighting is less than ideal. Makes for a nice change of pace from portraits or landscape shooting.

You can find the entire gallery at Holly’s website:

A big thank you to Holly for letting me tag along.  Until next time…

Similar Posts