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Poker Faces II

Discussion in 'People' started by Uncle Frank, May 7, 2007.

  1. Poker games are great places to study people. I gathered these images at a local poker tournament that Nancy and I play in twice a month. Most of the photos were illuminated by a single on-camera flash, using ABetterBounceCard.

    Texas hold-em poker can do strange things to people. Even at a low stakes table, there's enough tension to cut with a knife.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Emotions are magnified, and personalities are altered. Try as they may to hide it, you can usually see the relief on people's faces when they get dealt a good pair of hole cards...

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    ... but that's nothing compared to the elation of drawing a winning hand on the final card, which is called "sucking out on the river".

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    But for sheer joy, winning a tournament... being the last person standing... can't be beat!

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    The game can drive you crazy. Just ask Michael why he went "all in" with a jack-three off-suit, and you'll get a response like this - poker body language for "it was a bad beat".

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    Check out Bill... a distinguished and reserved gentleman.

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    But put chips in his hand, and watch him go nuts.

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    Here's Big Dog game face. You'd never know that he's a nice guy... but then again, maybe he isn't :eek:  .

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    Eric seems stunned every time he loses a hand...

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    ... and Ernesto always seems to know what you have in your hand. I think he may be peeking.

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    It was a great game on Saturday night. I got knocked out early enough to take pictures, and Nancy, who was the defending champion, made it to the final table again, and finished 3rd. The game ran late, so the last two players split the prizes.

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2007
  2. Ray C.

    Ray C.

    Nov 7, 2005
    Frank, these are okay and all...but I think that your off camera flash journey will provide much more rewarding results. Or possibly even balancing the flash with the ambient and getting a little subject motion or something...As is, the light and images are kinda flat and pedestrian.
  3. Thanks for the feedback, Ray. I see your point, but in this series, I am concentrating on poker expressions, and refining my single flash on-camera technique rather than CLS. There are numerous people floating around the tables at this venue, so off-camera work isn't really practical.
  4. ja6ke


    Dec 28, 2006
    U.S. D.C. area
    I like them all. I am especially impressed with the shadow control given a single on camera flash. I have followed your posts and have adopted the abbc as you suggested. I would be more than happy to get results like this.

    Can I ask what settings you used on the first pic? The hallway in the back is well lit yet you have what appears to be a large dof. Is this just a very bright location?
  5. Glad you liked them, Jake. The exif data for the first shot was 1/50s f/4.0 at 20.0mm iso250. I shot in manual mode, and selected those settings so that the far background would be illuminated by ambient lighting.
  6. ja6ke


    Dec 28, 2006
    U.S. D.C. area
    Does that mean you are spot metering off the wall before refocusing and then letting CLS handle the subject exposure? Or do you have a different way to get the two exposures correct?

    Thanks for the information.
  7. I'm matrix metering on the room, and then backing down the exposure by a stop by adjusting the aperture setting in manual mode. Then I'm spot metering on the subject, so the flash will expose them properly. There's no CLS involved... just standard flash work.
  8. Awesome serie, really love the 3 pictures and all the captions. Thank you for putting this together :smile:
  9. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    How do you use two different metering modes at the same time? My D200 makes me choose one of three, but I can't use two different modes at the same time. I would think that once you switched from matrix to spot, it would negate the meter reading from the first.

  10. The technique is called "dragging the shutter". For those of you struggling with the concept, this tutorial may help.


    The key points are made in this section.

    The essential difference is that I chose my settings.
    I only shoot in manual mode, hence *I* decide on the results I want to get. And I got it.
    By shooting in Program Mode, the other photographer allowed the camera to make the decision - and the camera set a shutter speed that is too high. I wanted ambient light to register, and I set the
    f-stop and shutter speed to where I could see from my camera's built-in meter that I would get ambient light to register.

    Even though the type of flash lighting used in these shots were quite different, the resultant look is nearly entirely dependent on the fact that I took the ambient light into consideration (via my camera's meter) and purposely set my shutter speed accordingly. btw, I used a Quantum Q-flash bounced into an umbrella behind me, and the other photographer used a Speedlight on-camera.

    This technique of using a slower shutter speed to allow ambient light to register, is usually called "dragging the shutter." With this, you'd use your camera's light meter like you normally would ... but instead of using it to expose perfectly for just the ambient light, now you use it as a guideline as to how much ambient light you would like to register. And somewhere around 1.5 to 2 stops under-exposure will still give you enough detail in the background - and then you use flash as your main light source, and use the light from your flash to expose correctly for your subject.

    To sum up,

    1. use matrix metering to determine a shutter/aperture/iso combo that will expose the background properly
    2. switch to manual mode, and dial in those settintgs
    3. change any one of those settings to underexpose the background by 1 f/stop. It doesn't matter if you do it by increasing shutter speed, using a tighter aperture, or lowering the iso.
    4. leave the camera in manual mode, but change the metering method to spot metering
    5. shoot with flash in ittl mode. the subject will be properly exposed, but presented against a subdued background, as in this example.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  11. Gr8Tr1x

    Gr8Tr1x Guest

    LOL, Frank, I'm not struggling with the concept of dragging the shutter. Thanks for the tutorial though. You first mentioned taking a matrix metering and underexposing it; that part is clear. But then you mentioned spot metering the subjects face, which didn't make a whole lot of sense. In the second explanation your fourth step is to switch to spot metering (but you don't mention metering again, like you originally did).

    The flash will properly expose the face and does this automatically when it send out preflashes that are emitted and then bounce back before the shutter opens and closes. When swithced to spot meter, the flash mode reverts to standard TTL. Why meter someones face if your exposure for the ambient light has already been determined.

    So, if you could clarify the part about the spot meter portion of your explanation, that'd be great.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2007
  12. What a range of emotions. Good job on these Frank.
  13. Great series Frank, but hey... no green on the table!!! :eek: 
  14. ja6ke


    Dec 28, 2006
    U.S. D.C. area
    I suspect the link was more for my benefit. I have seen this but it was good to go back and go over it again. Thanks UF.

    After reading this and other sites I have been doing something like.

    In manual mode,
    Set aperture for desired dof.
    Spot meter off something in background.
    Set shutter speed until background is underexposed 1 or 2 stops.
    focus on subject, shoot and let iTTL do its magic based on my focus distance and aperture.

    My results are much more hit or miss though than UF seems to get.

    Based on these pics I will give UF's two metering approach a shot.

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