Knight Fever

Last weekend, I got the chance to shoot in theatric lighting conditions.  Or that's what I call going to my granddaughter's birthday celebration at a Medieval Times. The king at Midieval Times

If you've never been to a Medieval Times, they serve you a meal at tables that surround a small arena.  You are treated to a performance, set during the time of kings and queens, princes and princesses.  There is a loose story line surrounded by jousting, trained horses and falcons, and sword play.  Each section cheers for a different knight during the games; we had the yellow knight.   He was one of the good guys.

The Yellow Knight

Unless you have a special invitation to photograph the show, you're going to have to deal with the limitations, and there were quite a few.  You can't use flash, so that means increasing your ISO as high as you can before the noise level becomes unbearable.  Even then you probably need to use slow shutter speeds to get enough light.  We had seats on the front row, which gave me something to brace against for a good steady hold.  I put on my fast zoom because I didn't have room or time to change lenses.  All this meant I was going to miss some of the action shots - and I did.  You can see I had the right moment, but the shutter speeds were just to slow to capture the fast action.

photo ruined by a shutter speed set too slow

The lights are constantly changing in color and intensity.  To get consistent exposures, I switched to manual mode and locked in my color balance setting.  When you're shooting through theater lighting that changes frequently, the camera will react to the changes and try to change exposure values - manual mode eliminates that problem.  Find your best exposure; set it in manual mode; and you'll get better photos.  If you're shooting in RAW, locking your color balance will make your processing much easier when your shooting light changes with the mood of the storyline.

the prince is captured

The king leads a toast

You can't move around, and that means all your photos will have the same point of view.  The place was full for our show, so I probably couldn't have moved much any way.  During the jousting, they lower a safety net to ensure the audience isn't hit with debris from the lances, so that interfered with several photos.  The mesh was too small for me to poke my zoom through it, and I didn't want to end up in the dungeon so I let those shots go.

The Green Knight at Medieval Times

Though I've discussed the challenges you'll encounter when you try to photograph the show, our staff was very friendly.  You can take your camera without worrying about whether they'll allow you shoot.  Even the waiter was careful not to get in my way as he was bringing food and drink.  I will bring my camera the next time we go, and we have another grandkid birthday in April, so our next trip might be right around the corner.

Medieval Times

The kids loved being so close to the show.  The yellow knight posed with them afterwards for photos.  One whispered, "He was really nice, but a little old."  Yeah, the poor guy must have been 32....

Before the show, they have plenty of areas where you can pose the baseboard banshees for photos.  They even have adult beverages to reward the old folks for bringing the kids to the show.   We had a special treat for the birthday girl: she was "knighted" by the king.  (No, I didn't tell her that girls were not knighted in those days.)  She was thrilled, and the night was a success.  I keep telling you that photography is supposed to be fun....

Can a little girl become a knight?