Remember back in March when my amazing artist friend Jessi got us all plastered? Well, tonight there was a gala unveiling the 88 pianos that had been decorated by artists and which will be distributed around the 5 boroughs June 1 – 16 for people to enjoy. After that, they will be donated to various schools, healthcare facilities and community organizations along with visits from Sing for Hope artists to bring the joy of music to those who might not get the opportunity to experience live performance.
The location was a gutted floor of the old New York Times building. Just a raw space, but with 88 pianos, lots of uplights on walls and columns and a few well spaced spots on some of the pianos, it felt like a trendy loft!
There was a wide variety of inspiration for the pianos. Most were painted, but some were adorned with feathers, tile work, an octopus or vinyl grass. Each one had its secrets and its stories. I’m sure that they will thrill those who come across them during their stay out in the city and certainly those who have the pleasure of receiving one at their school or center.
I tried a couple new things out today. I tried shooting auto ISO. I’m not sure… I did like the fact that it managed the ISO for me — and the lighting was so varied, I would have been going nuts riding all three variables (ISO, aperture and shutter speed). However, I did notice that I wasn’t always happy with how “perfect” it tried to make the scene — it was hard to shoot under or over “well exposed” without the camera fighting me. So I did, in fact, go back to manual about half way through the night. I may try it on a theatre shoot in the near future. It did work well at getting me in the zone ISO-wise.
The other new(ish) exploration was my flash. Obviously, I never shoot with a flash when I shoot a show and this has turned me into a bit of an ambient light snob. But this room was very dark in many places and to get the detail of the pianos without too much noise, I broke out my old Speedlite 430 EX II. The batteries even worked, I was impressed! I’ve been doing a lot of reading and B&H video watching about flashes lately, so I had some things to try. I was shooting on camera, but kept the flash angled up or even behind me to cut down on harshness. I’m not comfortable with it yet, but I’m definitely going to rope S. into a flash aided headshot session soon.