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  1. #1
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    Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    We are headed to San Diego at the end of the month to attend a friend's retirement ceremony after having served 24 years in the Navy. There's both a formal ceremony, as well as an informal reception later in the day.

    Having never been to one of these retirement ceremonies, and only having visions of boot camp graduations in my mind, am I going to need a longer lens to get useful images of my friend? Or are these ceremonies usually smaller on scale, and something in the 100-200mm range would work fine? I probably need to find out if this is indoors or outdoors too.

    Anyone have any experience they can share?


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  2. #2
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    Re: Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    Impossible to say for certain but most likely the venue will be more intimate than amphitheatre.

    I'd probably pack a 70-200mm for the ceremony and a wide-ish prime for the reception. But then my compositions tend to be on the tighter side.
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  3. #3
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    Whiskeyman's Avatar

    Re: Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish View Post
    Impossible to say for certain but most likely the venue will be more intimate than amphitheatre.

    I'd probably pack a 70-200mm for the ceremony and a wide-ish prime for the reception. But then my compositions tend to be on the tighter side.
    I agree with Horoscope Fish on this. Unless the retiring service member is a flag officer, or the highest level of NCO, the ceremony is likely going to be smaller than a basic service training graduation. Some retirements are inside, and some are outside, so that is something to find out about as well.

    Do bring a flash with you. Even if they don't want flash during the ceremony, which would be an individual decision, you might want it for after the ceremony formalities are over.

    Also, be aware that there may be an "official photographer", and if so, talk with them before the ceremony. (The retiring service member should know.) If so, find out what their experience level is. I know of at least one local military organization that makes a newly arrived junior officer the squadron photographer, no matter if they can spell photography or not. There are some ceremonies where there was not more than one or two in-focus photos from the ceremony because the camera operator had no idea what they were doing. (Back-in-the-day, they would have shot the ceremony with no film in the camera, or with film improperly loaded.) In other words, you may be the best photographer there!

    Enjoy the trip and the activities; it is a very special time for the retiring service member and their family. And congratulate them for me, letting them know that their service is appreciated!

    WM
    Last edited by Whiskeyman; 08-19-2017 at 07:12 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    Thanks guys!

    He's not a flag officer, I believe he ranks Captain, but does run a department at the naval hospital there in San Diego.

    I like the idea of taking the 70-200. It sets me up for different lighting environments, and worst case I can crop the images as needed.

    Thanks guys, and I'll pass along the appreciation as well.


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  5. #5
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    nikonpup's Avatar

    Re: Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY @gqtuazon A ACTIVE MEMBER RETIRED FROM THE MILITARY AND I THINK POSTED SOME PICTURES FROM HIS RETIREMENT.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?
    Quote Originally Posted by nikonpup View Post
    IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY @gqtuazon A ACTIVE MEMBER RETIRED FROM THE MILITARY AND I THINK POSTED SOME PICTURES FROM HIS RETIREMENT.
    Thank you for the tag.

    I think if you bring your camera and a fast medium range zoom lens (24-70mm f2.8) and a flash would do the job. As a photographer, you will be able to go much closer to your subject. There are plenty of retirement ceremonies on youtube, just type in navy retirement ceremony and it will show you the typical sequence. It won't be in a big stadium like the boot camp.

    Here are some of the pictures of my retirement ceremony that I downloaded from my fb. I hope this helps.

    Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?-glenn-retirement1.jpg

    Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?-glenn-retirement2.jpg

    Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?-glenn-retirement3.jpg
    Last edited by gqtuazon; 08-20-2017 at 01:19 AM.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member

    Re: Military Retirement Ceremony - Ideal Focal Length?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horoscope Fish View Post
    Impossible to say for certain but most likely the venue will be more intimate than amphitheatre.

    I'd probably pack a 70-200mm for the ceremony and a wide-ish prime for the reception. But then my compositions tend to be on the tighter side.
    I agree with this. Shot my friends retirement ceremony in a VFW and I did all of it with a 70-200mm except for a few 24-70mm shots showing the crowd


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