Color Guard Night Practice: Rifles

Took these pix while chaperoning the Arlington High School Marching Band trip to The Dome at Syracuse University. They’re warming up, if that’s the proper word for standing around in skintight uniforms on a 45-degree evening at Skytop, in preparation for their show.

Many Strobed Rifle Tosses
Many Strobed Rifle Tosses

The ISO 1000 setting on a Sony DSC-H5 produces absolutely terrible color noise, but sometimes it just doesn’t matter. These were taken under low-pressure sodium-vapor parking lot lights, with some mercury-vapor lighting in the background, so they’re basically monochromatic anyway.

Single Strobed Rifle Toss
Single Strobed Rifle Toss

The shutter is 1/8 second and the lights flicker at 120 Hz, so the rifles reflect 120/8 = 15 blinks as they spin. The similar included angles show that all the rifles spin at nearly the same rate: the Color Guard does very nicely synchronized tosses. They’re good!

Now, for one of my top-ten favorite pictures…

I moved around to put the mercury-vapor light behind her, which prevented flareout & added a crisp edge. The camera managed to get nearly the right exposure, even under considerable duress. This is a crop from a larger image.

She’s absolutely stationary with only her hands moving, exactly the way it’s supposed to be done.

Despite the slow shutter speeds, they’re both hand-held pictures. You simply don’t get to see my botches…

Oh, and by the way. The “rifles” are wooden dummies, carved out in a general rifle-stock shape, but without any metal parts or even a barrel. Frankly, I think the Color Guard should be trained up in marksmanship and carry actual rifles. Perhaps those would work well?