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.