I had the opportunity to photograph an electrician at work for a website I was developing. The shoot was the first of a couple we did of a Victorian side-return extension in St Margarets.
I learnt that trained electricians move fast. This one can trim and strip three wires in about five seconds flat. I had my tripod, flash and reflector with me, but I soon decided to shoot handheld with available light, which was the only way to keep up.
The scene was lit by a series of Velux windows and a builder’s lamp, which had very different color temperatures. As Carter moved about the lighting would often change dramatically. As a result a lot of the exposures were guesswork.
I pretty much always shoot manual, with manual exposure settings and manual focus. Partly this is a matter of habit and partly it’s good practice because it means I know what compromises are being made. It’s also pretty much essential to use manual focus in situations like this where the depth-of-field is shallow and the ‘right’ focal point usually isn’t the closest object.
The flipside of shooting manual is that sometimes I get it completely wrong where the camera would have muddled through okay in auto mode. Fortunately Capture One, which I used to post-process the shots, does a great job of salvaging shots with dodgy exposure or color-casts.