Studio Dance

November 10th, 2007

D20 9201 Studio DanceI’ve finally finished the editing of the dance concert I photographed at Ohio U a couple weeks ago. I ended up with about 2100 photos. They needed noise reduction and individual tweaking of exposure on each shot. It took Noise Ninja about 36 hours to run all those files. Then I used ACDSee to batch the exposure adjustments. I did half of them in a day, the other half the next day. Long days. After doing the tweaking on 1000 photos the program would then save them all…that took 3-4 hours. I’ll be taking a serious look at how to better manage that work flow before I photograph the next concert.

But I’m very happy with the photos and with what I’ve learned about doing dance photography in the digital age. As I’ve mentioned, in the old days of Acufine and Tri-X the necessary increase in ISO resulted in an undesirable increase in contrast. The negatives generally had black shadows and blocked up highlights. They were tough to print. Now, with my D200 I can set the contrast to low to compensate for the harsh theater lighting while boosting the ISO up to 1600 to provide a good exposure. The ISO has no effect on contrast – they operate independently. That makes a huge difference.

And, of course, I’m working in color now, with excellent color balance. In the old days there really wasn’t much of a color option. If you filtered to compensate for the color shift the filter blocked so much light that the exposures got too long to stop action. And color film at 1600 ISO was very grainy and soft.

Another “new” camera feature is auto focus. I’ve never been a big fan of it for general photography. It’s often slower than I would be without it and it insists on refocusing even when you are taking multiple shots at exactly the same distance from the subject. But follow-focusing on dancers was always a challenge in the old days. I found that the D200 could do that much more reliably than ever could, even in my much younger days. Back then it was pretty normal for 1/3 to 1/2 of the frames to be a little or a lot out of focus. I had very few out of focus shots at this last concert. The auto focus was right on almost every time.

This coming week I’ll be going back to OU to drop off the photos and while I’m there I’m going to spend the day doing dance photos using my studio strobe lights. I tried out the lighting setup I plan to use today at the studio. My friend and model, Mandy, came to the studio to help me with the setup. Mandy isn’t a dancer, but she is an athlete, so she just jumped around in front of the background for me while I fine tuned my setup. This is one of the shots we got. Thanks for the help, Mandy.

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About this Blog

Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

All photographs and written comments on this blog are protected by the copyright laws of the United States.

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