February 15th, 2015

Shifting colors in a high school gym

I learned an interesting lesson last night about the lighting in high school gymnasiums. I was taking photos of my daughter’s color guard competition. Because the action is fast I was using continuous shooting mode. To get a fast-ish shutter speed (1/320 or higher) I had the lens wide open at f/2.8 and used ISO 3200 or higher. I set the color balance to fluorescent to try to keep the colors consistent from frame to frame. When I reviewed the photos later to my amazement the colors and lighting were all over the place.

You can see the shifting colors and lighting in the photos above. Notice how the colors change from green to red and other ghastly colors. Also, look at the shadows on the floor. Notice how they seem to shift around from frame to frame? It is as if the lights in the different parts of the gym are going on and off at different times. There’s probably about 1/20 of a second or less between the frames and yet notice how things change in that brief span!

I suppose there’s nothing I can do about it. Good thing I was shooting in raw!

Here’s a video of their performance:

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