Before and After — Lisa and Erica and Chairs

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.

Lisa and Erica rehearse at Cafe Dance in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/800
  • Aperture:  f/1.6
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Lisa’s face is the focal point of the image, and a striking number of lines lead in that direction:  both her legs, her arms, her left hand, Erica’s arms and Erica’s gaze.  Erica is slightly out of the plane of focus too, providing some separation between her and Lisa.  That sort of thing can often be problematic when shooting two subjects interacting, but since the primary subject is just Lisa (Erica is a supporting element), that’s ok here.
  • The chairs provided a natural symmetry to the shot, and the subject matter is evenly distributed in all directions, so I square cropped it.  A slight bit of tilt, combined with the asymmetrical form of the dancers, kept it from getting too static and boxed in.

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March 20 2010 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Green Apples

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.

Erica from the KDH Dance Company poses with green apples.  This shot is part of a series to be used to promote KDH’s 10th anniversary performance at the end of June (green apples are thematically relevant to one of the numbers, hence their use here).

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I initially took a number of shots on the concrete floor, using the wall or the windows for backgrounds.  The floor isn’t normally a bad match for modern dance, but the muted pastel costumes for this performance didn’t really fit.  So I pulled out a large canvas drop cloth I’d picked up from Home Depot and lay that down on the floor.  The texture and color of the canvas were more in line with what Erica was wearing, and offered a nice constrast to the green apples.
  • I spent a lot of time getting Erica’s raised leg turned just right.  I wanted to make sure it was rotated enough to balance the body (not to mention insure the foot was visible);  bent to bring it in the frame;  and high enough to create separation from the torso.  Combined with the rest of Erica’s posture, this (hopefully) looks more like a dance pose than a fashion one.  The leg also provides some nice asymmetry to an otherwise evenly balanced shot, and conveniently points to the upper left corner.

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May 01 2009 | 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.

Original:

April 20 2009 | Photography | No Comments »