Monday, 14 October 2013

Photography is all about light. Good light can make for great photos with little effort as long as you know the basics of composition and your way around the appropriate settings on your camera Throw in bad light and getting good images from the same camera gets a little trickier. Now you might need to know how to use flash lighting to get the same result. But when using flash isn't an option and you are in a dark environment where the subject is fast moving you better know your way around the camera and have at least one low light lens to get anything useable. To get the shots that will give the viewer a sense of the action some educated guessing of where the action  might take place and the timing of it, and a little luck helps.

On Thursday when I was getting ready to shoot the show at the downtown theater that my wife is lead singer for I was excited for the opportunity but apprehensive as to what the final results might turn out like. As a photographer I'm used to shooting in daylight, I don't do a lot of night shots, even less with fast moving action. Normally when I am doing so its on the basis its for my wife's own personal facebook and it doesn't matter much. For this event though there was no other official photographer so the stakes were higher. I wasn't too concerned about getting shots of the band. The low light lens I had at my disposal would do a reasonable job at that.

Getting pictures of the dancers, aerial, fire and Brazilian material artists throughout the show were going to be a whole lot trickier and all something that I had struggled mightily with in the past. This time though, although it was a new show with new routines, I was somewhat familiar with what to expect action wise. That certainly helps. As did somewhat knowing my way around the lens I was about to use a bit more than I had previously. Still on the Thursday night I was just largely trying to shoot the action by guesswork, not really sure what the lighting might be at any given moment or where the various performers may stand, dance, jump etc. I was totally underprepared for the theater to be darker than expected for the opening act of the aerial performers. The images were useable but I was hoping to get better shots on the Friday performance. I did some research for the following night's show as to what to do from some dance photographers blogs online, and it turned out I should have stuck to my gut and just marginally changed my settings from the previous night, because on the second night that same segment of the show got worse results. It's a shame because it was a very impressive element of the show.

Thereafter though I did stick to my instincts and feel like I got better results on the second night for the faster moving elements of the show. Now because I changed the settings on my camera all that much from the previous night, but because I was there the first night I was more able to better guess the positioning and movements of the dancers and martial artists.
Timing, and luck is everything, but be aware of the action going around you and trust your instincts regarding your own cameras settings and those special one off moments can be captured.


Some Chilean Woman said...

Just because you never gets comments anymore...

Love you.

Kim Ayres said...

I remember the first time I did any kind of performance photography and discovering it was about as far removed from the portraiture I was doing as I could imagine. With portraits you get to control the background, the lighting, the composition and you can interact with the subject, asking them to move this way or that. Of course none of these things are possible when photographing performances!

When photographing bands it's a little bit easier. You can stretch the ISO settings to the max and then in post production put them into black and white and suddenly it looks like a music-press photo :)