Bethlehem AD - The Photo Story

I'd be remiss if I didn't showcase the below item.

I presented it to the Bethlehem AD coordinator and some of the crew members on the final day of taking down the set in late January 2018.  It was a bit of a surprise.  I had it printed up at ZNO.

The idea behind it came from a friend who was a combat photographer for the U.S. Navy and he was put through an intensive three month photography school.  Much of what I've practiced in terms of photo composition, I learned from him.

He told me that one of his assignments was to create a photo story, which consists of a key photo in the center and about eight supporting photos.  It flows from left to right and tells a story.  I chose the manger as my key photo, versus the one with the angels looking down from heaven (or the rooftop) because the manger is the centerpiece of the entire Bethlehem AD experience.

Hopefully, the image above speaks to you the story of that Christmas night over 2000 years ago.

Bethlehem AD - Angels We Have Heard On High

Probably the most popular part of Bethlehem AD is the stable and manger, and the angels above it.  And it's a magnificent sight to behold.  Fourteen angels dancing above and around the manger itself, with music the brings back memories of 2000 Decembers ago.  (If that sounds like a song by Joy Williams, it is.)

This first shot was actually taken from the roof across the street while I was with the rooftop angels.  This was opening night.  The color temperature is correct, as that was lighting scheme that night.  I normally shoot photos with the X-T2 using the Pro-Neg Standard film simulation, which mutes the colors.  But since colors are important for this event, I shot with the Standard film simulation for both the X-T1 and the X-T2.  The X-T1 had the 50-140mm f/2.8 lens mounted, while the X-T2, during performance nights, had the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens mounted.  Some of the shots below are intermixed with the full dress rehearsal as that was the night I could get up close to the angels and give each one their own personal close-up.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 115mm   f/2.8   1/60 sec

This next shot is what the perspective of the angels is like looking at their counterparts across the street.  You can see that I'm really pushing the ISO this time around with the X-T2.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 1600   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125 sec

Next are a few close-ups of the angels, all shot during the dress rehearsal night using prime lenses.  Again, you can see that I'm going a little crazy with the ISO, but the results are still pretty good!

Fuji X-T2   ISO 2000   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125 sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 2000   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125 sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/160 sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   90mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/160 sec

Of course, more important than the angels is the manger itself, and the Holy Family seated there.  Each night, it's a real family and a real baby laying in the manger.  It's admirable that these volunteer families will stay there for over three and a half hours, playing their roles with dedication and diligence.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 50mm   f/2.8   1/60 sec

This next shot was one of the few moments where I was able to get all of the angels in motion.  I had to shoot from the side because this was on closing night and there were huge crowds watching off to the left of the frame.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens   f/2.8   1/50 sec

Of course, I have to end this blog posting with my key photo for the 2017 event.  This shot wasn't planned.  But when I was on the roof, I saw and had to go for it.  As you can see, I used the 56mm lens for this shot, which I think helped preserve the sharpness of the angels in the distance.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125 sec

That may be it for Bethlehem AD 2017, but 2018 will be its 26th year!  May it continue on and on!

Bethlehem AD - Romans

Yes, Romans!  If there's one group that really catches the attention of the crowds visiting Bethlehem AD, it's definitely the Romans.  While the villagers are within the walls of Bethlehem AD, the Roman soldiers and dignitaries are everywhere.  You'll find them walking the line of people waiting to get in -- just as in the photo below -- or walking through the village.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 140mm   f/2.8   1/60 sec

For the most part, the soldiers are always in motion, and thus hard to capture, except for moments like the next photo where they stopped and posed for the crowd.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800 16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 28.3mm   f/2.8   1/60 sec

There's even a small Roman camp located within the walls of Bethlehem AD.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Along the line of the crowd, one of the more interesting things is how some of the actors interact with folks.  Below is an actor playing King Herod's valet.  He's asking the little boy if the little boy has any information about the one called "the King of the Jews".  In his left hand, he's got some pieces of silver.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm   f/2.8   1/50 sec

And the next shot are King Herod and his entourage.  Herod and his valet have to stay in character for the photos!

Fuji X-T2  ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 24.9mm   f/2.8   1/50 sec

Next is a neat shot I took of the Roman soldiers just before the gates of Bethlehem AD opened.  I used just the available light and really cranked up the ISO because I knew the flash wouldn't make things look too good.  I wanted to make the shot looked natural.  I also used the 16mm Fuji prime lens for the shot.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 2000   16mm f/1.4 lens   f/1.4   1/125 sec

The high ISO and the slightly higher shutter helped me freeze them in action, and most importantly, eliminate any camera-shake on my part.  They were standing as still as possible for the shot, but I needed that extra buffer just to make sure because it really was dark.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 25.7mm   f/2.8   1/60 sec

Next week we'll take a look at the stable and the manger itself!

Michelle Lambert

Musicians and runners are some of my favorite subjects to photograph because of the sheer challenge of getting the right elements in focus.  Both are in motion, and usually the elements that you want to capture (facial expressions, instruments) are always moving.

Last Sunday was one of those days where I was at the Stonestown Farmer's Market and had heard singing and a violin playing.  And it was also one of those days where I had my X-T1 with me.

As I made my way to where the singing was coming from, I saw lots of folks sitting at tables, enjoying a bite to eat, while listening to musician, Michelle Lambert.

I had the the 50mm f/2 compact lens on the camera at the time.  Despite the focal length -- the 50mm on the X-T series mimics a 75mm lens on a full frame -- I like the compression and the depth of field at f/2.  My only concern was that it was a bright sunny day, but the aperture set at f/2 didn't exceed 1/3500 sec.  (NB: The X-T1's max mechanical shutter speed is 1/4000 sec.)

All of these shots were done one-handed as I was rushed for time and didn't think about putting my grocery bag down.  With the exception of the aperture, everything else was set to auto.  Camera settings provided below each photo.

ISO 200   50mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/2700 sec

I moved in a little closer to get a shot of Michelle with the violin.  Bringing her closer to the lens also made the depth of field more shallow, isolating just her face and the violin.  Her ring also popped out too, which I didn't think the X-T1 -- being only a 16MP camera -- would be able to capture as sharp.

ISO 200   50mm f/2 lens   f/2   1/2500 sec

For the final photo, I wanted to focus more on angles and balance.  I didn't tilt the camera, but waited until the violin was as lined up as close as possible with the lower right of the frame.  

I also went with the black and white conversion to shift more of the focus to Michelle so that our eyes are drawn only to her.  If you compare the above photo to the previous one, the background colors are a bit more distracting, especially the blue car and the red tail lights.

Have a look at Michelle's website for more info about her, video samples of her music, and booking!

Bethlehem AD - Animal Faces

One of the big draws at Bethlehem AD are the live animals.  They come from as nearby as Woodside, CA to as far away as the California central valley.  Most are very tame and docile.  I photographed only about half of them as there were so many!  Missed some of the rabbits and chickens and even a few of the donkeys and the horses, and didn't get very many good shots of the sheep because they were a bit skittish.

I shot all of the following pics with my Fuji X-T2 mounted with the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens, which is the equivalent of the 24-70mm lens on a full frame.


Sunrise at Bay Breeze

Yet another detour this week...

On Saturday I ran Brazen Racing's Bay Breeze Half Marathon at San Leandro Marina.  If you're running the half marathon, you basically start at San Leandro Marina and run along the Bay Trail until you reach the San Mateo Bridge, then turn around and head back.  I hadn't run the half marathon at this course in a while, so it was nice to be back at it.

I took the below shot with my iPhone SE using the Lightroom Mobile App.

What's amazing isn't just the shot itself, but also the automatic enhancements that you can do in the app.  I pushed one button and the software did an auto enhance.  It took up the shadows and vibrancy.  I added the temperature increase to duplicate what the morning sunrise looked like.  I couldn't believe it when I saw the intelligence auto enhance.  Somehow it knew how to enhance the shot in a pleasing way.  Of course, there's the lens flare again in the shot.  One of the hazards of using a smartphone.

Super Blue Blood Moon

This turned out to be a spur of the moment thing.  I heard about it the night before -- yeah, I don't watch the news that much these days -- and so the morning of the event, I grabbed my camera and the one lens that I figured would be best: the Fuji 90mm F/2.

I headed out to San Francisco City Hall.  Normally, I can see the full moon because it's this big massive thing in the sky, kinda like the Death Star.  But this time around, I couldn't see a thing in the sky.  At first anyway.  And then I saw it.  This dim image out there.  The way it looked, I thought the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were going to ride out of it!

I set up at Civic Center Plaza and decided to use City Hall as a frame.

ISO 800   90mm F/2 Lens   F/2.0   1/60sec

At first I thought that framing the moon with the flag pole might work, but the moon is still too small to see some of the details.  In retrospect, I should have used the 50-140mm f/2.8 Fuji lens because that has OIS and I could have used a much lower shutter speed -- maybe 1/30sec -- and perhaps a lower ISO.

Cropping the image a little closer does help.

ISO 800   90mm F/2 Lens   F/2.0   1/60sec

The picture doesn't really match when I saw on the way to Civic Center, probably because it was slightly higher in the sky when I saw it with my naked eye.  By the time I took this shot, it was maybe 20 minutes later and the moon was lower.  With the naked eye, it had more of a yellow-ish tint.

Still, it's one of those odd occurrences that one will have to wait another generation to experience, so I'm glad I captured it!

Morning Dew and a Lens Flare

A slight detour this week from blogging about Bethlehem AD as I'd like to talk about the following photo that I took with the Lightroom Mobile App.

Sometimes you don't have your DSLR/mirrorless camera with you, but you see something that -- if you don't jump on it now -- will be gone forever.  All I had on this cold morning in Mountain View was my iPhone SE.  And I didn't want to let this shot get away.

I didn't realize that there would be a red lens flare in shot, but it doesn't actually take away from the overall image.  In fact, because it's red, it adds to the sunrise image!  I did a few minor tweaks on the image after I'd taken it, like using the de-haze tool, increasing the shadows just a bit to bring out the dew drops, and then adjusting the temperature so that the image looked like the way my eyes saw it that morning.

And you know what?  I'm glad I snapped the shot when I did, because when I went back the following morning with my Fuji X-T2, the entire area was fogged over, bathing everything in a dull, boring gray...

Many a time I've seen a shot I've wanted to take, but didn't have my Fuji with me, and I didn't think it would look good if I captured it with my iPhone.  And many a time I've had regrets because the shot was only there for the briefest moment, kinda like some rainbows behave: here one moment gone the next...

If see a shot that you know, deep down, it’s the right one then take it.  That chance may never come again. 

Bethlehem AD - The Village

One of the first things you'll see upon entering the gates of Bethlehem AD isn't actually the village, but I wanted to showcase the village in this blog because it was actually one of the first set pieces that I was able to photograph during the dress rehearsal and then on opening night, just before the crowds were let in.  

During dress rehearsal night, I used primes, while on opening night I used the always reliable 16-55mm f/2.8 lens, which on a full frame camera has a field of view of 24-70mm.

In the following photo you can see the attention to detail that went into the market.  That's real fruit and real bread!  I think the bread may have come from Boudin.  On opening night it smelled so delicious!

ISO 800   35mm f/1.4 lens   f/.14   1/60sec

Next up is one of the townsfolk; she was actually practicing some traditional Jewish dances of the time.  I like the texture behind her.  But also had to make sure that I didn't get too close to the building facade back there because while the palms trees are real, the building facade is actually a painting!  At night though, with the lighting, it looks so realistic enough to touch.

ISO 800   35mm f/1.4 lens   f/.14   1/60sec

More dancers and more of the facade behind them.

ISO 1600   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

You'll notice in the above photo that my ISO was really high, plus the shutter speed, but that was the only way I could freeze these dancers in place.  I didn't use a flash for the above shot.  And also the higher ISO eliminated the need for a huge increase in exposure in Lightroom.  The Fuji X-T2 handles high ISO quite well!  Not sure I would ever take the ISO higher than 1600, but I'll have to do more experimentation.

The next shot actually found its way in a photo story that I'm constructing as a gift for Rise City Church; they put on Bethlehem AD every year.

ISO 1600   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/25sec

What the two townsfolk are looking at are actually the angels on the rooftop.  If you go back to last week's blog posting, you can see the image from the opposite side, from behind them looking up at the rooftop angels.

One of the many amazing things about the Bethlehem village set is that the following two men actually do metalwork and woodwork.  The metalworker will be hammering out small sheets of metal to form something each night while the woodworker will construct a small stool right before your eyes!

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 20.6mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 31.1mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

The next photo is my absolute favorite from the village.  It also has the most hits in the Flickr album I created of the event.  Kwame and Claudia are playing the roles of the innkeeper and the innkeeper's wife.  It was taken just before the opening night crowds were let in, and I wanted to get a few shots of them in character.  Although the funny thing was that, Kwame kept making Claudia laugh!

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

Next week, hopefully, we'll take a look at some of the animals in Bethlehem AD.

Bethlehem AD 2017 - Rooftop Angels

One of the first sights you will see when standing in line to get into Bethlehem AD are the angels on the rooftop.  It's a great intro to what awaits inside!

Fuji X-T2   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 51.6mm   f/2.8   1/80sec

The above photo is a scene that you'll see while waiting in line to get in.  In the dark, it's a magnificent sight, especially as the angels on the rooftop begin to move and the Archangel Gabriel appears at the side of the church to announce the birth of the Messiah.

From a photographer's perspective though, it's a very very difficult shot to capture.  Look at the right side of the photo and you see power lines covering the angels on that side.

And as you move towards the front of the line, which would be further to the right of the photo, the power lines become more prominent.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 140mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Although the glow from the lights masks the power lines, at least to the human eye.  The camera's eye though, combined with the sensor, picks up on things just like that of an animal, so the camera sees more of the above image than the one below, which is a view from within the town and how most people will see the angels.  

Fuji X-T2   ISO 1600   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

From having seen Bethlehem AD previous years, and also just from having experienced a little theater in high school and college, it's the folks in the background who don't really get their time in the spotlight, and yet also work just as hard as everyone else.  And I wanted to give them their own spotlight.  So what's a guy like me to do?

Join them on the roof, of course!

Fuji X-T2   ISO800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

I'm notorious for being a little haphazard when trying to get a shot and this was no exception.

Fuji X-T2   ISO 400   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 20.6mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

I'll leave you with three of my favorite rooftop angel shots.  When I see these, I'm reminded of how dedicated these folks are, dancing on the rooftop at night, in the cold, and sometimes in the rain and wind.

Hopefully these shots captured the spirit of what they did that night.

Fuji X-T1   ISO 800   50-140mm f/2.8 lens at 140mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 500   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

Fuji X-T2   ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 45.5mm   f/2.8   1/60sec

Bethlehem AD 2017 - Testing the Fuji X-T2's Dynamic Range

If you play around with your camera often, shooting in crazy conditions, you might be surprised what it's capable of.  I knew the Fuji X-T1 and X-T2 cameras had decent dynamic range, but didn't know how good until I started using them in really high contrast and dark shooting conditions.  What the X-T2 in particular is able to capture in its RAW file is just nuts!

Have a look at this original photo.

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 55mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

Even at 1/30sec, the above shot is dark.  I also had to stabilize the camera by holding it steady on a railing to avoid any type of camera shake.  Once done, I just hoped that my guess was right that the photo would look decent once I played with it in Lightroom.

Here you can see the final product.

The image Exposure was increased by 3.7 and the Shadows by 67.

Isn't that amazing?  The level of detail and the colors?  The color of the costumes was pretty well preserved.

Let's take a look at one more.

ISO 800   16-55mm f/2.8 lens at 28.3mm   f/2.8   1/30sec

This was a completely handheld shot.  I had nothing to brace the camera against, so I held my arms as steady as possible and then held my breath and snapped the photo.

In Lightroom, the Exposure adjustment was +5 and the Vibrancy was -56.  That produced the following image.

The Vibrancy had to be taken down because the entire image was awash in an ugly orange hue, and taking it down produced a somewhat more natural look.  Completely removing the color and going either sepia or black & white ended up showing too much grain, which I couldn't get rid of by taking the Clarity down, so the above image was a good compromise.

Now I know why the X-T2's RAW file is 50MB.  Perhaps it's also uncompressed, but either way, there's a lot of data preserved in that RAW file.

Not bad for an itty bitty mirrorless camera, eh?

Bethlehem AD 2017

25 years of Bethlehem AD; isn't it amazing?  And just like that, its three performance nights have come and gone.  But the heart of what it is remains.

I'll leave you with my key image for the event.  It's the image that -- for me -- took some work to get right with all of my jockeying for position to get just the right framing.  Clicking on the image will take you to the Flickr album with my highlights of the event.

 ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

ISO 800   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/125sec

I used my always reliable 56mm f/1.2 lens.  It's one of the best options for sharpness in low light.  I had to shift the perspective just a little bit because there's a spotlight directly in front of the angel on the right side of the frame.  But overall, I think it worked!  I wanted the perspective to be a heavenly one, that of the angels above rejoicing at the birth of the one the prophet Isaiah spoke of in Isaiah 9:6:

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.


I'll write more about this event next week, to include specific photos, camera settings, and the challenges and workarounds.  But for now, Merry Christmas!

Of Things to Come: Angels

Last year around this time, I found myself getting ready to take some photos of Bethlehem AD, mostly because I wanted to get some practice in and also because I wanted to capture the event and show family and friends.  As it turns out, the coordinator for Bethlehem AD liked my photos a lot and asked if I could volunteer my time as a photographer this year.  Of course, it will be in a challenging environment with areas of high contrast, a lot of shadows, and lack of sufficient lighting.  I never turn down a chance to practice, especially in an environment that will push the limits of my camera.

This past Saturday was set aside for set-building, rehearsals, and costume-fittings.  What I've included for this post are shots of the angels practicing in the worship hall at Rise City Church in Redwood City, which is the church that has been organizing Bethlehem AD for the past 19 years.

Enjoy the photos!  And check back on Christmas day for highlights of this year's Bethlehem AD!

ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/60sec

ISO 800   56mm f/1.2 lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

On the Run: Lost Lagoon

I usually run around Stanley Park whenever I'm in the Vancouver area, but this time around it was rainy and wet and I was cold and so I took a detour through Stanley Park and somehow found myself on the other side of Lost Lagoon.  Normally, I'm on the south side, but this time around I ended up on the north side.  

Now, being as cold as it was, all I wanted to do was get back to the car and head for the nearest Starbuck's for a cup of warm java.  But as I was running, I saw the buildings in the distance, and then the trees came into view.

And what a perfect frame the trees made!

I took the above photo with the Lightroom Mobile App.  There was some minor tweaking of the shadows because I didn't want it to look ominous, and I took the vibrancy up just a little bit to bring out the colors of the trees in the distance.

Doesn't it look like Christmas?

Trains in Japan

I took a trip to Japan recently, and while there were so so many things that stood out, the first thing I was struck with was just how many train stations, train lines, train tracks ... everywhere!  I mean, the trains are all over the place!  At least in the greater Tokyo metro area.  And being someone who used to be fascinated the model electric trains -- especially around Christmastime -- just being around them got me thinking about electric trains ... again!

This first shot was taken in one of the stations with my Fuji X-T2.  I made sure to get a little close to the moving train so that I could get it in motion.  I thought that the black and white conversion helped with the feel of the image.

These next two shots were taken while I was out on a run in the greater Tokyo area, and were shot with my iPhone using the Lightroom Mobile App.  It really really took a steady hand to get that motion blur while still keeping the other elements from blurring.  

From my archery days and learning to shoot a rifle, I remembered to hold my breath before pushing the shutter button on the iPhone and it seems to have worked!

Sunrise with the Fuji X-T2 and the Lightroom Mobile App

This past weekend, I ran the second half of Brazen Racing's Thanksgiving Runs. The second race was held at Quarry Lakes in Fremont, CA.  As is always the case, I usually show up early and sometimes help with setup, or just start taking pictures of people showing up and the volunteers setting things up.  I've gotten in a lot of good practice at these events, learning to anticipate a shot, what makes good framing, and sometimes learning what tells a story.  Each time is different, and with its own complications, but I never turn down an opportunity to take pictures and learn.

This first shot was taken with the Fuji X-T2 with the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens.

The color rendition is amazing!  I did tweak the above photo in post, taking up the shadows and the exposure, plus warming it up just a little bit.

This next photo was taken with the Lightroom Mobile App on my iPhone SE.

The results with the latest version of the app are quite impressive!  The adjustments made to this photo were roughly the same as the finished X-T2 photo.

Though if you look closely, you'll notice that there is a slight bit of grain to the iPhone photo, but that's only because the X-T2 has more megapixels and a superior dynamic range compared to the iPhone.  And yet, in a pinch, the iPhone comes through yet again!  I don't see myself having to turn either of those photos into a huge poster print -- I'm just documenting events -- so am confident in having the iPhone with me on the run!

MGWalk San Francisco 2017

Sometimes you need to do something familiar in order to get over grief.

It was this time last year that my mother had been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and my world changed, went into a tailspin that I didn't think I'd recover from.  Despite her diagnosis, I'd gone to the MGWalk 2016 to photograph that event because I'd made a promise.  It was a stormy day and I ended up with a damaged camera due to the rain.  You can see the photos in this Flickr Album.

This year, I went back with a fully repaired camera, though still irked that Fuji made me pay for the repair, and I photographed this year's event.  It was good seeing familiar faces and also being recognized by some of them too.

Most of all, it's a reminder that we all have our struggles.  Just like I lost my mother to cancer, many people at the MGWalk have lost a family member to myasthenia gravis, a debilitating neurological disease that still has no cure, nor is the cause known.  There's strength when we come together for a common cause, and this unity is even stronger when many are gathered, not for themselves, but for the sake of others who are suffering.

Click on the photo below to view the highlights of the event.  And remember too, that we all have our struggles.  You are not alone.

Of Things to Come - More Dirty Cello!

It's always a pleasure to meet up with the band Dirty Cello, and that happened this past Friday.  I previously photographed them giving a free concert, and then had the honor of taking band photos for them at the end of spring, just prior to their UK tour.  Here's a little teaser of a free concert they gave, and despite the rainy weather outside, their music chased away the gray skies and had people clapping their hands and stomping their feet.

I also tested out a new lens, the Fuji XF 60mm 2.4.  More on that and on this photo shoot in the next few weeks!

The Silent Film Star

Here's another photo from the Old Hollywood Glamour set at the Blast From The Past Meetup I attended.  It was set up by Rudy D. Vila, who was also responsible for the set of the "Siren of the Silver Screen" blog entry from a few weeks ago.  Except...

Well, there's something different about this one.  Yes, it matches many of the photos I studied regarding silent film stars, but...

This was shot with all natural light!

ISO 200   56mm lens   f/1.2   1/80sec

At the time, someone else was using Rudy's remote triggers and so our model, Meg, was there by herself, waiting for a photographer to photograph her, hopefully with the lighting setup.  But I trust my Fuji camera, and so when I saw exactly how the natural light was falling across Meg and the rest of the set, I knew I had a decent shot.  So I went for it, trusting what the camera would be able to capture and what I might be able to do in post processing.

It turned out better than I expected!