Before and After — KDH Dance Company

The Before and After series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

An older shot from a 2010 KDH Dance Company rehearsal.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • With both knees bent curled in this way, all lines lead to the dancer’s head.  Really, everything looks wound up around the center, and all those limbs conveniently lead outward to the corners too.  The image probably would have been better without the mirrored reflection, which is a little distracting and pulls to the right.  I centered the subject anyway and operated on the assumption the viewer would separate the reflection in their head and in a sense not consider it part of the shot.  But it would have been better without it.
  • I left the very faint bar in the mirror showing at the top to balance out the overall darker bottom of the image.  While the subject is well grounded here and white space above would have been acceptable, it felt too empty at the top and heavy at the bottom without it.

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March 31 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After – Miko at Cafe Dance

The Before and After series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Miko rehearses for KDH Dance Company’s 2011 end of year production.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Given the somewhat precarious position of the dancer up on her toes, I kept everything else static, aligning other elements with the edges of the frame.  That de-emphasizes them, increasing the attention of the viewer on the only thing moving (Miko).
  • I could have easily wiped out the window frame in the upper right corner but chose to leave it in as a counter-weight.  It’s one thing to use negative space, but sometimes you just get a big distracting hole (particularly with the rail in the background running the full length).  If I had removed the window, I would have rotated the shot counter clockwise so that the eye would fall back toward the subject instead of wandering a bit around the empty space.
  • The shot is a bit bright to the right, which I think works to its advantage, further reinforcing the more solid elements to the left and pulling the eye in that direction.

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February 10 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo — Roxy and Erica

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Roxy and Erica rehearse for the KDH Dance Company.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Unlike sports, where motion and direction can often be anticipated, movement in dance can change on a dime and without warning.  Unless I’ve shot a piece several times, I usually have no idea what’s happening next.  To compensate for that, I’ll use the center AF point (instead of one of the outer ones) and try to allow a little breathing room on both sides to re-crop later.
  • On the flip side, shooting early rehearsals does make it easier to capture a specific image, because dancers work on short segments of a piece repeatedly until they get it right.  Later rehearsals involve longer, less frequent run throughs.  Once I saw the expressions of Roxy and Erica at this point in the piece, I focused on it and shot it as many times as they rehearsed it.
  • As an added bonus, the lines in this image run right through the faces, leading your eye there regardless of where you start in the frame.

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April 20 2009 | Photography | No Comments »