Birthday quickie

Just a quick snap taken at my father-in-law's birthday (29th or 70th, I can't recall which he said it was) dinner.

The more comfortable I seem to become with exposing a shot the way I want it, the more I start to feel like a car mechanic. Stay with me for a second...

If you don't know jack about cars and your's decides to stop running right, you bring it to a mechanic who, after listening to your precise description of the symptoms ("shit's broke") and a cursory glance, tells you "You need a new serpentine belt tensioner. $129, installed with a new belt." How did he (or she) know and you didn't? Experience and understanding.

Similarly, I'm starting to be able to see what each light source(s) within a photo is contributing and which I need to adjust to get the exposure / shadows / texture / detail etc. that I want. This has started to allow me to make quick adjustments to what would have otherwise been a "full-auto" quick snapshot relegated to whatever the camera decided was "cool." Instead, I could dial in some more interest in the frame.

Aside: Not surprisingly, the name Photo Mechanic is actually already taken as the appropriate name for one of the most-used photo editing software applications around.

Strobist info: The flash here was on-camera (gasp) SB-800 zoomed to 50mm aimed slightly up to feather off the front row of people (could have done even moreso) and fired at ~1/4 power. Then I dragged me some shutter (1/30th) to bring up the ambient lights on the columns in the background and blow out the windows a bit.