cajunzydecophotos > Collections

As usual, I attempted to photograph as many bands as possible at 2017 Festival de Musique Acadienne et Créole during Festivals Acadiens et Créoles, criss-crossing Girard Park multiple times as I moved from Scène Ma Louisiane to Scène Mon Heritage to the Salle de Danse tent and across the park to Scène d’Anniversaire. This year, Scène Atelier—the workshop tent—was enclosed and air-conditioned. It was also very dark, so, not wanting to disrupt the well-attended workshops by using flash, I decided not to take any photographs of the workshop panels. I tried to photograph as many musical groups as possible, but, inevitably, I missed several great bands.

I used a Nikon D5 camera to shoot Bonsoir, Catin and Jeffery Broussard and the Creole Cowboys Friday evening, Oct. 13, 2017. On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 14 and 15, I used a new Nikon D850. I had previously used it at a couple of other events without any problems, but, when I began switching lens Saturday, I discovered that, after I mounted a different lens, autofocus sometimes would not work. I had to re-mount the lens at least once—sometimes more than once—before autofocus would operate. This happened sporadically but frequently enough that I was afraid the autofocus function would go out completely. I had agreed to take photographs for a publication of one band that played near the end of the day, so, by early afternoon, when I mounted the 24-70 mm lens and autofocus worked, I decided that I wouldn’t change lenses again until I had taken those late afternoon shots. Thus, for several bands Saturday afternoon, I was limited to one lens. Once I got the photos I had agreed to take, I resumed switching lenses. I continued to have sporadic problems getting autofocus to engage, but it didn’t get any worse, so I used the D850 for the rest of the festival.

I still don’t know why I’m having autofocus problems with the D850. It occurs with all lenses. I’m not having any problems with the D5. For some reason, when I switch lenses at home on the D850, the problem rarely occurs. When I used the camera two weekends later at a festival in Eunice, the problem seemed less frequent. Since this issue is intermittent and happens only occasionally when I attempt to duplicate it at home, I’m not at this point going to try to send off the camera for repairs.

Apart from the inconvenience of having to verify that I had autofocus each time I changed lenses, I was pleased with the D850. Before the festival, I tried to confirm that my lenses were focusing correctly by using the autofocus fine tune feature (only 1 lens seemed a bit off) and stupidly somehow managed to set the default adjustment at +6. Thus, all of the photos I took at the festival are technically out of perfect focus, but that misadjustment does not seem noticeable even at high magnifications, though I made other errors—letting the shutter speed drop too low and failing to get the focus point in the right place—that spoiled some shots. As always at the festival, depending on the time of day, sharp contrasts between sunlit and shady areas on stages created challenges. The D850 performed well in low light situations, but I think the noise level of high ISO shots looks better with the D5, though that comparison does not take into account the different resolutions of the cameras.

Before processing photos from Oct. 14 and 15, I waited until Oct. 26 for the Lightroom update that included conversion of D850 files.
I’m now 70 years old, so I don’t know how much longer I’ll be lugging a camera bag with lenses around Girard Park for two full days. This year, temperatures climbed in the low 90s each day, but I managed to keep going. The festival itself gets better and better each year. My photographs depict only the musical performances at the festival. There are arts/crafts and food booths, plus a variety of other activities and events. For more information, go to www.festivalsacadiens.com/ or www.facebook.com/festivalacadiens/.

For a listing of Cajun and Zydeco bands and Mardi Gras photos included on these Flickr pages, go to www.cajunzydecophotos.com or www.cajunzydecophotos.com/mobile.