Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dance Photography, Westminster Arts Center

Nina Brewton

Rie Sueyoshi, Nina Brewton, Jennifer Bocian




Nina Brewton, Nahoko Sugiyama


Morgiana Celeste Varricchio

Morgiana Celeste Varricchio

Rie Sueyoshi, Jennifer Bocian

These are a few images from a set taken at the tech rehearsal of the Mosaic Dance Theater Company performing at the Westminster Arts Center in Bloomfield N.J.
Prior to the tech shoot, there were some lighting issues that the techs were trying to resolve but had not been completely ironed out during the shoot. Still, we managed to capture some fine moments of the performance.

I really enjoy photographing these dance performances. They are quite challenging due to the low lighting and movement of the dancers, but rewarding as well. Also challenging is having a large group on the stage at one time and getting the entire scene as well as isolating individuals.

When talking shop with other photogs, questions about settings and technique often come up and so here is a basic run down of how I approach this.

I used to shoot in manual mode and manual focus as I found it a bit more reliable, but lately I have been shooting in "Shutter priority" mode with auto focus while manually selecting focus points.Shutter Priority mode offers quicker flexibilty for me when it comes to changing settings.

In this performance I had the camera set to 1600 ISO. WB is set to tungsten for consistency. Using Shutter Priority mode allows me to quickly slow down or speed up the shutter release depending on what effects I wish to achieve for any given capture. Slowing down the speed of the shutter can give motion blur to hair, veils etc, while speeding it up can freeze the action. Due to the dark areas of the stage such as the black curtains I find its best to reduce the cameras exposure by about 1 stop. That would be EV -1. The black background fools the cameras meter into thinking it needs to increase the exposure. If I allowed the cameras meter to have its way, I would have lots of detail showing in the curtains and the dancers would be too bright with loss of detail. Spot Metering is not a good option in this situation. Most all cameras with any manual features at all have the ability to adjust the EV (Exposure Value). This also help to tweak out as much shutter speed as I need from the low lighting situation of theater.

I compose and wait until I think the timing is right and then fire off a burst of three or four shots, hoping everything falls into place and one of those bursts hit the right moment.

The good fun is looking over the several hundred images taken during the performance and seeing the magic of these wonderful dancers come out on the screen.

Editing and importing is done through LightRoom 2.5 and work requiring more extensive editing is brought into Photoshop CS4. All of these were cropped and tweaked to bring out the best exposures and detail in LightRoom only.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Katherine fighter pilot

Katherine fighter pilot
Katherine is a very talented graphic artist/ illustrator with a style like a mix of Mark Ryden and Tim Burton. She wanted weird and quirky portrait shots and this is one from the batch. This was one of her personal choices.

I initially shied away from it because of the "huge" smile, but what was I thinking!

She chose it, I worked on it and this is the result. She is very happy, as am I and is even using it as her FaceBook profile pic.


I am inspired to produce more quirky characters. . .

Strobist info:

This photograph was captured in a small studio using two 580EXll speedlites and a Vivitar 285HV. One speedlite shooting into a Photoflex 24x32 softbox. The other speedlite into a 33" white bounce umbrella with black cover for fill (softbox was main)The vivitar 285HV is hitting the background with a warm color gel. Post processing in LightRoom 2.5 and Photoshop CS4.

Love the grin