Emotion in the Motion

Motion! Emotion! Putting dance into a still photo almost sounds sinful.  Dance is the art of moving one's body, and that of others to create visually pleasing sights though motion.  So it definitely sounds nuts to capture the soul of dance in a single frame.

This capture is one of the better ones from the night.  Beautiful motion frozen with just a tinge of motion in the dresses, hands and feet.  Then I caught some excellent emotion in the dancers faces conveying joy in the act of dancing.  It was that emotion that really set this photo apart from a similar one take a few seconds later.

To achieve this I had to be careful with the shutter speed and experiment...the variable of course is also that the speed of dancer motion which of course varies greatly in any one routine.  Since this shoot occurred only with available light, and no flash, the experimentation was critical to know my gear's capability and the type of scene I could reasonably expect to capture with some quality.

So experiment...be thoughtful and look for the emotion in the motion to sculpt a wonderful photo.



Dance It is that time of year to enjoy the wonders of dance in my house!

My daughter's dance company just put on their annual production, and it was quite nice.  Since our family moved last year before her recital in Virginia, its been two years since I was able to see her really perform.  One trick she learned this year from her teachers was to have confidence and smile while dancing.  It really made her start to glow up on stage, and display the fun she has performing.

I learned a lot this year while shooting dance.  After shooting several years at my daughter's old studio I discovered the different challenges that come from choreography styles.  In the old studio I could easily predict when a worthy frame was coming because I knew the style.  They also used a smaller stage, so formations were tighter.  Here the stage is larger, and the staff uses it.  So it looks just as nice, but as a photographer I needed more zoom than I had to get the proper elements for a good frame.  If you are going to shoot dance I will always recommend you attend a rehearsal or multiple shows before you have to get the captures you want to keep.  This way you can know your subject, lighting and the choreographers style before the big dance.  It just makes your subject and you look so much better in the end product.

That brings me to another point, lens choices for a concert or dance.  I recently sold my 50-135 f2.8 zoom.  On a crop it is a 75-203 zoom with a depth of field around 4-5.6.  For this show it would be perfect.    Since I had not replaced it yet, I was stuck with my excellent 60-250 F4, a 16-50 F2.8 and a set of primes.  The F4 would not give me enough light to capture at the proper speed to blend motion and frozen faces I like.  The 16-50 would not get me close enough this year.  Some of my best photos in previous years came from my 50-135 and my 43...one was not there and the other would not get me close enough this year because of my location choice.  So I shot with....a 100mm F2.8 macro!  Great lens, but I was really out of my mind shooting dance with it.

A few more lessons to post this week...