Last Friday evening we caught the train into Wellington to see the Lantern Festival.  I wanted to photograph the lanterns and see how my Lumix G9 performed at night. I took a small tripod with me but in the end didn’t use it as there were so many people around it would have been impossible to use without it getting knocked or causing someone an injury.  So I photographed in the dark hand held!  Something I have never done before!

I started off shooting with AV priority and high ISO, but this didn’t work because the lights in the lanterns were flickering and I kept getting black lines on my images.  I kept some of these mistakes because I liked the abstract look when the rest of the image was out of focus.  To correct this problem I had to slow down my shutter speed so I switched to TV priority and 1/125 seemed to work fine.

As the night got darker I reduced the shutter speed down to 1/50 and the ISO ended up at 4000. I was thinking that this would give me blurred, out of focus, noisy images but to my surprise it worked beautifully!  I did do a little bit of noise reduction using Topaz and I love the way the images came out.  I am learning more and more of the advantages the Lumix G9 gives me that my old system didn’t.

I have so many images from the festival that I will probably split them over two blog posts. There were some dancers using LED wings that caught my attention in a big way.  I had so much fun photographing them. At one point I was stuck behind a crowd of people and had to hold the camera up in the air at full extension of my arms and still didn’t get a clear image.  Everyone else was using cellphones in a similar way.

This post contains a selection of lanterns and scenes from the evening.  The next post will be entirely images of the dancers from Society Event Entertainment with their stunning wings.  If you didn’t go to this festival which ran over two nights, then don’t miss next year’s event.  It was brilliant and while there were a LOT of people there, it was really worth the trip into town.

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