Before and After — Shari and Carissa

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.

Shari and Carissa rehearse for the KDH Dance Company.

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

  • The initial focal point for this shot is Shari, but I’ve got her set pretty far to the right in order to give equal space to Carissa.  Normally I wouldn’t want to space two subjects evenly like this due to the tension created for the viewer (where to look first), but since Shari’s facing forward, the eye naturally travels there first.  The real reason for this choice was the identical pose, appearing head on and in profile, making that the central topic of the shot instead of the dancers themselves (symmetry in a different fashion the viewing plane).
  • I generally lean toward black and white for rehearsal photos because I think it expresses “unfinished” and “hard work” better.  In mixed lighting it also covers up other potential processing challenges.  I stuck with color for two reasons:  first, the subjects did not stand out sufficiently against the background in black and white;  and second, the mixed lighting ran front to back not side to side, making changes in lighting at least even on any given plane moving backward in 3D space, even if it was different on different planes.  That’s a much easier processing problem to deal with in post.

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February 26 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Ryan and Miko

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.

Ryan and Miko during the dress rehearsal for KDH Dance Company’s 2011 end of year performance.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/200
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO: 6400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Let’s face it:  stage lighting is impossible.  You’ve got performers moving in and out of light that is uneven, multi-colored and nowhere near bright enough.  You can see from the settings that I’m really at the extreme practical end for the camera and lens.  In general though, I don’t try to fight the lighting too much.  Best to leave it full of color and not worry about skin tones or natural renditions, nevermind awkward shadows.  I think most viewers bring a certain degree of real-world expectations about what a performance looks like, and so this photo becomes acceptable in this context.
  • I liked the symmetry of this shot between the two dancers, each posed identically, and both still airborne (Miko’s toes haven’t quite touched the ground).   The one subtle difference — Miko’s head turned toward Ryan — reinforces the implied line from lower right to upper left and adds a bit of personality to the shot.

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February 22 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Roxy 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.

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

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D4 Mark IV
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • With the arms and legs in near perfect symmetry, I chose to center Roxy in the frame and keep things aligned horizontally and vertically (particularly with the rail and edge of the floor in the background reinforcing that).  It probably could have worked off-center or rotated at an angle, but since everything in this shot is about careful balance and control, a center crop made the most sense.  The window frame throws that off a bit and I probably should have removed it.
  • I originally thought this would be best in black and white.  But the processing necessary to deal with the mix of incandescent, florescent and natural light gave the floor a bluish cast, and I thought that matched nicely with Roxy’s clothing.

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February 14 2012 | Photography | No Comments »