A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Swirls At Arts Umbrella Dance Company
Saturday, February 08, 2014



Simone Orlando in charge


This last Sunday I went to an Arts Umbrella Dance Company Sunday Afternoon Series. This was the second I have attended. Instead of being in their 7th Avenue Studio this performance was held on Granville Island’s Performance Works.

I must state here that I am not a dance photographer and I have never been one. I limit myself to taking portraits of dancers in my studio as rigidly unmoving as possible.

But anybody who has been shooting photographs for 54 years (I am now 71 and suffer the perils of a randomly accelerating heart) knows that in any sport or art (dance is art) there is peak action. At peak action movement is zero. When bat connects with baseball the bat, the ball and the player are not moving. This means that at a relatively low shutter speed, action will be frozen.

But anybody who has been shooting photographs… will know that frozen motion rarely suggests motion. To suggest motion you must show motion in progress.

One way to show motion is to pan your camera. You can follow a runner going past you in a parallel line (for other angles the rules change) and when the runner is just in front of you, you press the shutter at around 1/15 or 1/30 of a second. And you keep moving your camera. The relationship between the runner and your camera in motion is zero. But the background will be blurred because it will be not moving but your camera will. Sometime in the middle 60s I figured out after some experiments that to pan a Formula 1 car you panned with a shutter speed that was inversely proportional to the speed of the car in km/hour. So if the car was going at 250 Km/hour you panned at 1/250 of a second. There were other factors of which I will not detail here that involved how close the car was to you and the focal length of your lens.




Dance is a different situation as dancers do not run or move in predictable directions or in linear manner.

My experience has shown me that the magical shutter speed to show blur, but with enough detail to show what the blur is, usually happens at a starting shutter speed of 1/15 of a second with interesting variations at 1/8 and ¼.

I tested these theories of mine at the first Arts Umbrella Sunday Series on January 19th. My results in which I used a digital Fuji X-E1 which I rated at 3200 ISO in b+w mode where spectacular to this cynical-seen-everything photographer.

It would be an understatement that I was most excited and waited with lots of anticipation the second opportunity.

Alas that second opportunity happened in a jet black box which is what Performance Works is. My camera was unable to focus quickly and I had to take many more photographs that I wanted to. But the results tell me that if I kept at this I might just become an efficient dance photographer.

What I cannot figure out is why this city shows so many photographs of dancers suspended in mid air with a sharpness that defies, almost, credibility and few seem to be going in my direction.

At this point I would like to thank Artemis Gordon and her Dance Company for allowing this old redundant magazine photographer to take chances with the Company’s fine dancers. The experience has been not only pleasant but thrilling, too! 

And how was I to know that this past Tuesday I would be able to photograph Ballet BC/Turning Point Ensemble's rehearsal of Grace Symmetry at the very place where all these swirly blurs all began, at the Arts Umbrella Dance Company's 7th Avenue studio!































































     

Previous Posts
Warmth & Urbanity At La Bodega

So Many Venues, So Little Time - Why Bother?

Super Bowl Angst

The Luv-a-Fair & A White Dog

Peter A. Lusztig - May 12, 1930 - January 26, 2014...

That Priviliged Position

The Next Big Portrait

Post 2983

The Other Side Of Two Dimensions - Nerd Nite

New Music - In The Black



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9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17