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Photography Question 
Mary Guiher

Shooting a Circus Indoors

I am shooting slide film for a class this week. I am going to be shooting a circus indoors. Should I use daylight or tungsten film? Also, if I use a flash, how do I set the built-in flash for manual mode for a Nikon N80?

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2/27/2005 6:04:52 PM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  First, you'll need to check whether flash pictures are permitted. (I recently shot some pics at N.Y.'s Big Apple Circus, where flash photography isn't permitted.)
Then, you need to determine how close you'll be sitting to the circus ring(s). This will give you some idea of how effective the spot lights will be relative to you camera. Generally, circuses are very well lit, except for those acts where dimmer lighting is part of the show. I actually used an Olympus Stylus 115, with fixed aperture (probably about f/8) and fixed shutter speed (about 1/40th sec). Got great results.
That being said, I'd use daylight film. There will be many different colored lights. Sure, some will be "incandescent," but daylight film will probably give you more saturated effects with the brighter colors.
On general principles, I'd use ISO 400 film (I like Fujichrome.)

Can't help you with respect to setting your Nikon built-in flash as I use Canon equipment. But, as I said at the outset, there's a very good chance you'll not be able to take flash pictures anyway.

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2/28/2005 6:47:23 AM

Dan W. Shallenberger   I agree with John here, but I have one thing to add. You mentioned using your built-in flash... even if flash photography IS allowed there, your built in flash will be no good for anything further than maybe 15 feet away. I doubt that other than some clowns roaming around, you would not get close enough to anything for the built-in flash to be effective. You would need to invest in a more powerful flash to use on the hot shoe, like an SB-28 or SB-80.

Do you have to use slide film? While I love slide film myself, and it would look great, negative film has a larger exposure latitude, and might save you some shots that would otherwise be over/under-exposed. But, then again, slide film is a great learning tool.

Have fun!

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3/1/2005 2:17:21 PM

Mary Guiher   Thanks for the information. There is an hour period before the circus starts where people can go into the ring and meet some trainers. This is what I will concentrate my shoot material on since I have no idea how close I am to the actual stage. I did get first pavilion seating, but am not sure how close that is. I do have to shoot slide film for class. The funny this is, my professor had no real suggestions for me. I'm glad I posted my questions. If you can think of anything else I'd love to hear it. Thanks Again,

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3/1/2005 5:09:05 PM

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