The basic storyline centres around a local community hall circa the 1850's where the bumbling bushranger Captain Cats takes the local community hostage.
I had the great honour of attending one of their final dress rehearsals at Dereel to capture portraits of the main characters.
The shoot itself had many challenges. The outside temperature was 40 degrees C. The hall itself has basic air conditioning but when you're wearing heavy 1850's style clothing, it was barely comfortable for the actors. The costumes worn for the shoot, at that time, were not quite complete with safety pins in place of buttons on a few of the costumes. The hall itself had only one place for power-points, and the "set" was quite basic - no fancy artwork for a backdrop or anything like that, just plain walls.
But to capture the essence of the characters, I knew that I would need to isolate each character as much as possible and use artificial light to illuminate the subject in such a way that they are illuminated but that the light falls away quickly so that the plain backgrounds are not too much in shot so to speak.
Using an Olympus FL-50R flash triggered by a cactus IV transmitter on my Nikon, I set up the speedlight on a stand and angled it toward the subject at the classic 45/45 angle. I love the FL-50 flash and given that the Cactus IV does not transmit TTL info, it works very well off-camera with any make of camera. Leigh sat down at a small table on the stage with that portable dressing room and the chocolate wheel in the background.
I kept the ISO at 200, F5.6 and used 1/200th sec shutter speed to limit the amount of ambient light so as to create a "dark corner of the pub" type look. I then just got Leigh to toss cards toward me for effect.
For the below shots of Captain Cat's wife, we used the same door as a backdrop. However her outfit was still without buttons and was being held together with safety pins. To disguise this, I had her hold her fan in such a way as to cover them up. The version on the right is the result of running the photo through Nik software to create a vintage feel in keeping with the spirit of the play.
A big shout of thanks to the cast and crew of Captain Cat's Theatre for having me along to capture the characters. Don't forget, details of the shows are at the top of this blog post. If you're in the area and want a fun night out, book early!