Fort Lytton at Night Performance Photography

I recently shot the Fort Lytton at night performance at Fort Lytton as a volunteer. It was incredibly challenging, because I wasn’t able to shoot with any additional flash. All photos had to be taken in the dark, with just the spill lighting from lanterns being carried by all guests.

Due to the extremely low lighting, the most obvious lens for the job was the Sigma 50MM prime lens shot at F1.4 throughout the entire performance. The actors were also quite animated or were moving during the play.

So not only was my camera struggling to focus in the dark (I would normally use Infared light from a flash to focus in these conditions) but the depth of field for focus was about 5CM. For still portraits that is a challenge, but when the subject is also moving it becomes very tricky indeed!

Considering the word photography literally means “drawing with light”, it does become a challenge to take great photos when there is basically no light! Having said that, the combination of a wide open aperture prime lens and very high ISO (pushing over 10000 ISO at times) meant my camera was literally seeing more than the human eye.

High ISO photography comes with high levels of noise and some loss of detail and contrast, but when noise reduction and contrast are added to compensate, photos tend to have a painterly look which I think suits this setting.