Upload & Sell: Off
January's coming to a close, so it seems like I should get this out if I'm going to do it. It was a fairly good year for me with my dance photography. I had my first picture published in Dance Magazine, had my first art gallery show with my Urban Portrait Series, had the series featured on dancetabs.com, which was fun and I was doing a whole lot of shooting with dancers before making my move back to Chicago last spring. Since then, things seem to have come to a screeching halt. I am the official photographer for Ballet Chicago, but surprisingly haven't really been able to pick up any other dance companies this year here in Chicago. But the nice part about that is that it's allowed me to really focus on my wedding and portrait photography, which is where the money is.
No particular order here, but I'll try to give some narrative as it seems some people appreciate that. Pretty much all performance shots with D4 and 70-200 lens.
1. A dancer with the Grand Rapids (MI) Ballet Company with a silk dress floating behind her. I stayed on her for the entire performance trying to get this shot, and this was it.
2. I was brought in by a dance company in Easthampton, MA, to capture shots from their training and rehearsal to use for some brochures. Got all the standard shots, but it was this with little girls and big giggles that they liked and used the most.
3. Please don't try this at home. I was shooting this dance performance in Amherst, MA, and was introduced to this dancer, Kseniya, with whom we later did an Urban Portrait Series shoot along the Boston Harbor.
4. A very simple shot of a Grand Rapids dancer. I just loved the position of her hands and body, loved the color against the black background. Sometimes, simple shots are just the best.
5. This is the ending of a nightmare scene as performed by the Grand Rapids Ballet. You want to talk about a nightmare. This was just before I got my D4 and I was really pushing my D700's ISO at 4000, 1/60, f/2.8 on my 25-70 lens. On this dark stage, I hardly took any shots, knowing they would be a waste. Then I saw the dancer heading to this area where the background was fairly lit and I thought I could pull off a silhouette, but I wasn't expecting this fabulous leap. I was pretty happy with what I got out of this.
6. I don't usually crop much when shooting dance, this shot was all about expressing emotion and so I cropped in to really focus on that with these two dancers from the Pioneer Valley Ballet.
7. Can you tell I dug shooting for the Grand Rapids Ballet? I thought their choreography was really innovative and fresh, and that and their lighting really challenged me as a performance photographer.
8. Same performance as No 7. Just loved the look of this.
9. Kseniya along the Boston Harbor with a silk scarf.
10. The Univ. of Massachusetts brought me in to shoot headshots and positions for their senior dancers' audition pictures. I could have picked a dozen of the pictures I shot that day for this list.
11. Another dancer from the Univ of Massachusetts. I just loved the way her hair was flying in this shot. It took a number of shots to get her hair just right.
12. A high school senior dancer posing in front of the theater she performed in. We're actually shooting in the middle of a main street, and this is lit by three AB800's.
13. Same dancer as No. 12 earlier in the day at a park. When we were done, I had no idea what time it was, and that we had been shooting for almost five hours. We wore those poor dancers out that day.
14. This is from a Nutcracker shoot with Ballet Chicago. Timing was really perfect here, along with everyone's position. I love when it comes together like this.
15. I was doing an Urban Portrait Series (urban?) out in the red rocks of New Mexico and had this sky to use as a backdrop for a silhouette. Lots of really cool shots that day, but this was my favorite.
16. Most of the time when you're shooting groups with a dance school (as opposed to a professional company), half the dancers are off. But this one, I just loved the symmetry of their positions.
17. Out in the rocks among the pinon trees in northwest New Mexico. I asked this dancer if he could get up on this rock and he laughed. Climbed right up it.
18. Any previous year, and you'd see jump after jump after jump among my favorite dancer photos for the year. But this year, I'm really moved by the lines of the dancer and where they are with the stage lighting for my performance shots. This dancer was just so elegant.
19. A marketing shoot for brochures to promote Swan Lake for Ballet Chicago.
20. Along with the normal clean shots that I get with my performance photos, this year I seemed to get really edgy shots. When I feel I have enough shots from the seats in direct center, I sometimes come up and shoot from the side curtains in the wings. You can get some really cool looks from this position.
21. An aforementioned clean performance shot. But what made this special for me was the position of the dancers.
22. Again, elegant simplicity. I just loved the lines of this dancer, the curves of her arms, the way she is set against the black background. It looks very classical to me.
23. We didn't stay classical and clean for long, did we? I love this shot! It's my favorite of the year. I'm right on the stage shooting with my 24-70 lens and this is just really gritty, in your face. I really feel the performance in this shot.
24. Another Nutcracker shot with Ballet Chicago and a dancer from the ABT.
25. I'd been wanting to get a shot like this for a long time. And on this day, my tripod was nowhere to be found, so I had to go hand-held at 1/6 sec, ISO 500, f/4.0. Thank goodness for VR on my 70-200 lens.
26. Hey, we've got to have one pic of an enthusiastic cute little kid. My money says this will be Steady's favorite shot, if not for the little girls giggling.
27. This picture is completely inspired by my love of Norman Rockwell. I couldn't believe this dancer was willing to climb a tree for me, but she was all for it. Then I asked her to do the opposite of everything she was trained on, and do nothing. Just stand up there in that tree. I loved it!