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Archive 2013 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital
  
 
bugsnest
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Please go easy on me since I am still a newbie

My 9 year old is learning a form of Indian classical dance and performed at an annual event last year. I was the unofficial photographer for the event and shot with my then new Canon 60D and a 70-200 f/4 lens under a High ISO setting at RAW and post processed in LR3 later (mostly color correction and cropping).

I had a tough time shooting in this light and did not want to ruin the pictures using flash so tried to do the best I could. This dance form relies on grace and facial expression but I am not sure if I was able to convey all that. I am posting 7 images of the 300+ images I captured for C&C. Thanks in advance.





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May 07, 2013 at 03:15 AM
bugsnest
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


second set



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May 07, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Jim Rickards
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


I think you captured the spirit of the event. Colours look good.
The exif is blocked so I couldn't peek at your settings. Everybody has a different idea of what "high ISO" means. The 60D can handle some pretty high ISOs.

A few look soft, so I wonder about your shutter speeds. Keeping them high would make these crisper.



May 07, 2013 at 05:27 AM
venkidesh Iyer
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Looks nice and good colors..
I do shoot dance performances and lighting is always extremely challenging. Keep SS high (i usually keep at 1/800 or better) images may look bit more crisper.. overall i like these ones



May 07, 2013 at 05:41 AM
Steve Wylie
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Nice job on these, especially for a newbie to dance photography. Couple of observations and tips, in addition to those already mentioned. 1. Try to keep the feet in the frame if possible, unless you're really only interested in the face or upper body in a particular shot. 2. Try to keep the stage straight and level. This isn't an iron-clad rule, but for the most part, straighter is better. 3. If you can, clean up the stage from distracting elements like reflective specks on the floor, and check your borders. There are lots of small bits of dreck that can easily be cloned out, even in Lightroom. The cord in the third shot has to go, as does the little edge of the stage front in the lower left corner of the first shot in the second set. Heads are another matter. If you can crop them out of the frame without interfering with the dancers feet, then do it. Otherwise, they have to stay, and they do lend a sense of place (i.e. a small theater).


May 07, 2013 at 07:56 AM
bugsnest
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Thank you all for the encouraging and thoughtful comments. Much appreciated!

I will try to answer some of the questions you had asked--

1) @Jim Rickards and @Venkidesh Iyer - On the EXIF and Shutter SS - I was barely able to keep 1/80 which explains the general softness in these images. I shot at ISO 3200 and at constant f/4 so this was the best I could do. I shoot at the Aperture Priority setting (Av) to avoid a lot of adjustment (still figuring out a lot at this point) and shoot at high speed bursts to capture the poses (they move too fast). So I am very eager to understand how can I maintain a higher SS while keeping ISO at 3200 and speed at f/4.

2) @Steve Wylie - You make very good points. I was shooting from all over the place so yes, the stage was not always straight and level. And I agree on keeping the feet in the frame. In some cases I had to crop the feet off due to unwanted distractions in the pictures like people's heads, other cameras and stage dirt.

I am still trying to figure out LightRoom so haven't mastered how to clean up the images of unwanted elements and reduce noise gradually. If you observe these images carefully, the dancer's faces may look a little too "waxy" due to excessive noise reduction applied thru LR. That's another area i want to work on. LR can get overwhelming fairly quick!

But thanks again, excellent points!



May 07, 2013 at 12:08 PM
Michael Sessio
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


I'm amazed at how little attention is paid to the lighting for these incredible performances.

I've shot a few Arangetrams as the official photographer. My typical setup is 2-3 bodies (full frame Canon 5D, all flavors). All my lenses are f/2.8 or brighter. I use primes a good percentage of the time (85 f/1.2L, 135 f/2 L, 35 f/1.4L).

For wide stage shots I like to get way back and use my 85 f/1.2L, usually centered on the stage. This is helpful for getting some elevation and getting the heads out of the way. From that position I'll also have a 300 f/2.8 on a tripod, it stays there on standby.

http://www.largelifephotography.com/Events/Traditional-Indian-Dance-1/i-8CDMsXM/0/L/IMG_0734_1500-XL.jpg


During the performances I like to move around. It's nice to get the musicians in the frame to add additional atmosphere/context.

http://www.largelifephotography.com/Events/Traditional-Indian-Dance-1/i-pQtjqhs/0/L/_MG_5640_1500-XL.jpg


Getting stage level and off to the side also helps get the heads out of the way. The dancer will be looking away much of the time so be patient and time those moments where you get a good profile.

http://www.largelifephotography.com/Events/Traditional-Indian-Dance-1/i-8C9qW69/0/L/IMG_7623_1500-XL.jpg


http://www.largelifephotography.com/Events/Traditional-Indian-Dance-1/i-pJhx84w/0/L/IMG_0659_1500-XL.jpg


If you can have any influence on the organizers to do a better job with lighting it will show in your images. IMHO if I have to shoot over ISO 1600, less than 1/160 second, with glass f/2.8 and wider, the lighting crew isn't doing a good job.

If you don't have fast glass and can't get the lighting crew to work with you, try renting some good prime lenses.

http://www.largelifephotography.com/photos/i-gWvh3KD/0/XL/i-gWvh3KD-XL.jpg



May 08, 2013 at 02:42 AM
bugsnest
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Wow Michael, these are amazing shots!!!! I have a LONG way to go

And I agree on the lighting. This place was horrible in that aspect and did not really have anyone assigned to it. I have never played with primes except for my nifty fifty. These pictures make me want to go out and rent a couple for my next shoot!

Thanks for sharing these pictures and your thoughts.



May 08, 2013 at 11:48 AM
 



venkidesh Iyer
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


bugsnest wrote:
Thank you all for the encouraging and thoughtful comments. Much appreciated!

I will try to answer some of the questions you had asked--

1) @Jim Rickards and @Venkidesh Iyer - On the EXIF and Shutter SS - I was barely able to keep 1/80 which explains the general softness in these images. I shot at ISO 3200 and at constant f/4 so this was the best I could do. I shoot at the Aperture Priority setting (Av) to avoid a lot of adjustment (still figuring out a lot at this point) and shoot at high speed bursts to capture the poses (they
...Show more

Bugsnest, You may be limited by the equipment to certian point. Usually in most of these places i shoot i have no control over the lighting. My setup is 5D3 with fast glass of either 70-200 2.8L or 100 2.8L. Fast glass with HIGH ISO helps. I usually push it up to 12,800 to get SS of 1/640.




























May 10, 2013 at 02:43 AM
bugsnest
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Very nice pictures Venkidesh. I perhaps need to push beyond 3400 but I am afraid to cross that threshold with the amount of noise I may have to deal with later. I don't know if a 60D would play nicely at such high ISO's


May 10, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Michael Sessio
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


bugsnest wrote:
1) @Jim Rickards and @Venkidesh Iyer - On the EXIF and Shutter SS - I was barely able to keep 1/80 which explains the general softness in these images. I shot at ISO 3200 and at constant f/4 so this was the best I could do. I shoot at the Aperture Priority setting (Av) to avoid a lot of adjustment (still figuring out a lot at this point) and shoot at high speed bursts to capture the poses (they move too fast). So I am very eager to understand how can I maintain a higher SS while keeping ISO at
...Show more
f/2 is two stops faster than f/4 ISO 3200 so all else being the same, your shutter speed would go from 1/80 to 1/320. Use an 85L @ f/1.2 and you'd be 3 1/2 stops faster, that would be around 1/1000 of a second.

Dropping your ISO to 1600 would still give you 1/500 second on the 85L.

If you need a little more reach the 135L f/2 is a great lens for the money.

Here is an image take in some of the worst light I've ever encountered. Settings were ISO 1600, f/1.2, 1/250 second. Light was multidirectional and a million different temperatures. There was a little motion blur in her hands but the overall pose is motion free.

http://www.largelifephotography.com/photos/i-b4H7ZdJ/0/X2/i-b4H7ZdJ-X2.jpg

Using an f/4 in the same lighting conditions and ISO would put you around 1/25 of a second,

Traditional Indian dance is often a sequence of rigid poses. If you time the shutter release right you can catch the dancer in the optimum position with minimal motion.

If you live in St Louis there should be at least one rental shop where you can try out the faster glass. It will improve your images in low light far more than bumping the ISO to infinity and beyond.



May 13, 2013 at 06:19 AM
Michael Sessio
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Now digging through the archives. These are Apsara dancers in Cambodia. The style is very reminiscent of traditional Indian dance.

This one is an even slower shutter speed. 85L, 1/200 second at ISO 1600.

http://mrs-h.smugmug.com/Travel/Cambodia-2010/i-zVcjnvZ/0/L/IMG_4892-L.jpg

In this case the shallow depth of field helps isolate the subject, making it a little easier to conceal the fact this image was shot in a restaurant.

http://mrs-h.smugmug.com/Travel/Cambodia-2010/i-cdG7zZ6/0/L/IMG_4905-L.jpg

Different restaurant, same lens at ISO 1600, f/1.2, 1/200 second.

http://mrs-h.smugmug.com/Travel/Cambodia-2010/i-qZv8hD6/0/L/IMG_6532-L.jpg

Not a restaurant. Angkor Wat temples, Cambodia

http://mrs-h.smugmug.com/Travel/Cambodia-2010/i-hbgg8Tr/0/L/IMG_4235-L.jpg

35L @ ISO 1600, f/1.4, 1/125 second

http://mrs-h.smugmug.com/Travel/Cambodia-2010/i-Mr68jgR/0/X2/IMG_4191-X2.jpg



May 13, 2013 at 06:33 AM
mjoshi
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Michael do you use flash for your pics or only available light ?


May 13, 2013 at 12:26 PM
Michael Sessio
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


mjoshi wrote:
Michael do you use flash for your pics or only available light ?


Hi, the only photo where I used flash was the girl in yellow/purple. I believe it's the 5th photo I posted. That one was done using multiple strobes with grey seamless in my studio. The rest are with available light, be it daylight or tungsten/fluorescent nightmare light.



May 13, 2013 at 04:16 PM
bugsnest
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · First Attempt at an Indian dance recital


Michael, your pictures make me want to go out and rent a couple of primes

Jokes apart, there is Schiller's in St Louis that rents some of these primes for a very reasonable price on the weekends. I may try that this summer before the next big event in September.



May 14, 2013 at 01:58 PM





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