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Archive 2013 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots
  
 
friscoron
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p.1 #1 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


A few weeks ago, the Western Michigan University dance team hired me to shoot their audition head shots and position shots. Spent the day shooting 15 dancers, totally a lot of fun! I usually bring a black backdrop for these things, but they had a black curtain for us to use at their dance studio space.

Shot these with my Nikon D4 and 85 f/1.4/G, and three Alienbee Einsteins. Shot at ISO 320 and around f/9 to f/11. For these shots, they want an even 1:1 lighting so I had two lights up front crossing, and a third light in the back up high as a back light/hair light. It was especially fun as fellow FMer and dance photographer Dave Grist was able to join me for half the session.

Comments welcome.

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3. I almost dropped my camera the first time she did this. It was... unexpected.






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6. Not exactly the sort of thing you see in the People forum, just having a little fun with an image.






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Mar 18, 2013 at 01:07 AM
jnoll1951
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p.1 #2 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Beautiful! very sharp and a superb job with lighting and choice of subjects.Thanks...


Mar 18, 2013 at 01:47 AM
bbourizk
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p.1 #3 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


jnoll1951 wrote:
Beautiful! very sharp and a superb job with lighting and choice of subjects.Thanks...

+1
If i had to nit pick Some seem a little cold in tone...I personally would have warmed them up a bit.
Looks like you had good access to them.
Regards
Bud



Mar 18, 2013 at 02:18 AM
gheller
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p.1 #4 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


I think the poses and concept are wonderful.

The setting and lighting, however, kill these for me.

The lighting is very flat and the floor, venue, etc. looks very rudimentary (was going to say amateur, but didn't want to offend).

Great start, with the lighting dialed in and more attention to venue, floor, etc, these could be great.

greg



Mar 18, 2013 at 05:18 AM
tonyfield
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p.1 #5 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


perfectly done timing - you really have this aced

I agree with Greg - lighting needs work - more texture and shadow along the lines you might find for stage lighting.



Mar 18, 2013 at 05:23 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #6 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots



Thanks for the comments, I appreciate it.

As for the lighting, the dancers want even 1:1 lighting. It's not your typical portrait session where you set the lights for some dramatic ratios. It definitely would be fun to do that with these dancers, but when I have done that, it's purely for art, not for their audition pics -- and lately, I just haven't had time to do that.

As for the setting, not really sure how to respond to that. It's a dance floor that they use as a rehearsal and performance stage. Behind them are black curtains. I'd love to dream that dance floors are perfect without any markings... but I've yet to see one like that that had been danced on.

And Tony, I know you shoot dance performances. This isn't meant to look like it's lit for a stage show. While it's not the dramatic lighting that we photographers like, it is what the clients want. And there's no way I could deliver what I delivered for 15 dancers if I was adjusting the lights for every single pose they did. I'd really enjoy seeing someone try to attempt that and stay on schedule in an 8-hour shoot.



Mar 18, 2013 at 06:15 AM
Jim Rickards
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p.1 #7 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Really enjoyed these, Ron.

I liked the clean presentation and the various "ideas" that you used to spice things up. #5, for example, is bold and colourful.



Mar 18, 2013 at 10:50 AM
ESC in KC
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p.1 #8 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Very nice work here Ron. I understood from your intro that you were accommodating a specific lighting setup requirement by the group. These are all dead on the peak of their moves - great timing, and they seem to have a good sense of giving you a look right when they hit that spot!

I like 4, 7 and 11 most of the set.



Mar 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM
friscoron
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p.1 #9 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots



Thanks, Ed and Jim! That girl came prepared with the blue silk fabric and the colorful feathers -- all her ideas. I was really happy with how they came out.



Mar 18, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #10 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


And there's no way I could deliver what I delivered for 15 dancers if I was adjusting the lights for every single pose they did. I'd really enjoy seeing someone try to attempt that and stay on schedule in an 8-hour shoot.

Ron, I know exactly how you feel. A couple of weeks ago, I shot a about 80+ dancers, solos and groups in two days. Had to set up a very flat lighting grid to accommodate a group as large as 22 dancers, followed by solo shots, then more groups, solos, groups, etc. No way I could tweak the lighting grid for each person. I saw some pretty amazing movements and poses, and felt so bad that I couldn't tailor the light to each.



Mar 18, 2013 at 03:50 PM
 



bwalwork
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p.1 #11 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


I think that with the instructions you had regarding lighting, the results are very good. I too would have tried for a little more modelling by lighting differently, if the option was there.

With regard to the floor/dance surface; for many of the shots it's not visible (a good thing) and for some where it is visible, a lower shooting angle might have made it a less objectionable issue.

All the nits aside, the dancers gave you some exquisite poses and I'm envious of the opportunity that you had! Once the adrenalin got sorted out, I'm not sure I could have managed any better!



Mar 18, 2013 at 04:53 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #12 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Yep, that's exactly what I'm talking about, Steve.

But for a catch-all scheme of lighting, I think it works well. I actually learned this style of creating a lighting zone from the official photographer for the Houston Ballet, who I worked with on a number of occasions. Obviously, if we had time to design the light for each shot, they could come out better from an artistic perspective. But for an audition shoot, these work well. No. 11, for example, works really well in this lighting scheme -- for me.

But Steve, c'mon, I was expecting you to appreciate those colorful feathers! That girl came to play! I'm wanting to do some backlit baby powder or whatever one of these times. I'm looking forward to getting back with them this spring when it warms up for some artistic shots. Should be a lot of fun with this group!



Mar 18, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #13 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Actually, I was a bit curious about the feathers. Didn't expect that in an audition environment... Now as to the baby powder idea, Frank Doorhof has done some interesting dance shots with powder, as well as with smoke and water (not in the same image!). I'm kinda interested in the powder idea, too, but not looking forward to cleanup!




Mar 18, 2013 at 05:38 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #14 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Yeah, I didn't expect it either, but it was a nice break from the normal shots.

Yep, seen Frank's work with dancers and powder. Not looking forward to the cleanup either, and that's what has held me back. May need to do it outdoor at night with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop.



Mar 18, 2013 at 06:04 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #15 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


bwalwork wrote:
With regard to the floor/dance surface; for many of the shots it's not visible (a good thing) and for some where it is visible, a lower shooting angle might have made it a less objectionable issue.

All the nits aside, the dancers gave you some exquisite poses and I'm envious of the opportunity that you had! Once the adrenalin got sorted out, I'm not sure I could have managed any better!


Thanks, Bryan! I do tend to shoot at a lower angle. On these I usually sit in a chair to put me at hip level. If they're on the floor, I go down to floor level with them. In dance, they don't expect pristine floors, so they're not as concerned about it as we would be if we were shooting an environmental portrait.

When I shoot performances, I usually position myself at exactly floor level. Shooting up at dancers gives their jumps a little more sense of height, and lengthens their bodies on the floor.



Mar 18, 2013 at 06:10 PM
andyz
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p.1 #16 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


What I like is that you seem to have captured the pivotal moments in the images, especially those mid-air shots. They can jump at a mark, in a direction, because that is what they do, but you had an instant to get it, and you did.


Mar 19, 2013 at 03:48 AM
deinfaces
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p.1 #17 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Wow, now there's some athletic action shots. Well done!


Mar 19, 2013 at 01:01 PM
BobnJake
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p.1 #18 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


Ron, you gave them EXACTLY what they wanted, you can't ask for much more than that
As soon as I looked at #3, it was funny I immediately felt like I was losing my balance initially looking out it, loved the shot, how many shots did it take to get that shot? Love the eyes in #11.
Appreciate you taking the time to give your setup and camera settings
Good Job
Bob



Mar 19, 2013 at 01:24 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #19 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


andyz wrote:
What I like is that you seem to have captured the pivotal moments in the images, especially those mid-air shots. They can jump at a mark, in a direction, because that is what they do, but you had an instant to get it, and you did.


Thanks, Andy! Dancing photography was my first niche in photography, been doing it for five years now. That helps in catching them at their peak.



Mar 19, 2013 at 03:31 PM
friscoron
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p.1 #20 · Western Michigan Univ dancers -- action shots


deinfaces wrote:
Wow, now there's some athletic action shots. Well done!


Thanks, Bob!



Mar 19, 2013 at 03:31 PM
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