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Dance Competition Wrap Up 2014
Lens: Sigma 70-200 and Tamron 28-75 Camera: K-3 and K-5 Photo Location: Southern California 
Posted By: crewl1, 11-06-2014, 09:57 AM

Thought I would post some selected shots from last year's dance competition season, since we are about to start 2015.
The most difficult issue is the poor lighting in the high school gymnasiums where these are held, combined with the need to keep shutter speed up for the fast movement.
My primary job is to provide the sound system for these events, but I get to take photos when time permits.
This year one of our PF members @Dsims was able to attend an event.
If anyone is in the Southern California area and want to come out to take pics the calendar of events is posted at Events - Welcome to CADTD!
There is usually an entry fee around $10.
Most events run from morning till evening with some of the larger competitions set up as a two day event or in multiple rooms if available.
The most impressive competitors are the seniors that have a few years of experience under their belt, but all bring a lot of enthusiasm which is infectious.
If you don't want to be in a gym full of screaming teenagers you should avoid
















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11-06-2014, 10:17 AM   #2
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Maybe you can suggest better lighting and help them out setting it up....It would only enhance the audience experience and probably the dancers performance as well.....I love the natural juxtaposition of the first shot, with the no climbing behind the dancer, that is in such a climbng position relevantto the seats...and metaphoricaly as well....
11-06-2014, 10:23 AM   #3
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Thanks phoenixvision. I hadn't noticed the do not climb sign, I think it is for when they flatten the bleachers against the wall, otherwise it seems counter productive.
There is probably no way the lighting can be changed as it is what is installed in the gyms.
Apart from being dim, a lot of it is supposed to be energy efficient so the colors of the various gases play havoc with white balance.
Since these are fund raisers I'm already giving them a great rate, and doubt hey would be interested in hiring a lighting crew as well.
I have my hands full with the PA so couldn't take on a lighting gig as well, unfortunately.
The Pentax system does a decent job of pulling out the best IQ from the situation as even at HIGH ISO the K-5 and K-3 clean up really well with some post processing.
This year I hope to try some new angles and compositions, as having @Dsims attend an event I learned a lot from him.
I appreciate any suggestions and criticisms from the forum to improve the shots.
11-06-2014, 11:24 AM   #4
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Not bad at all Larry considering the conditions.--charliezap

11-06-2014, 11:35 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by charliezap Quote
Not bad at all Larry considering the conditions.--charliezap
Thanks Charlie. I have gotten pretty comfortable using the Pentax K's as I know they can handle the dim light and still pull out nice images.
11-06-2014, 01:52 PM   #6
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I didn't realize until I took photos of my grandson playing basketball inside what a tough job it is to get a decent photo. You seem to be mastering that Larry, these are all great, congrats to you.
11-06-2014, 02:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob Harris Quote
I didn't realize until I took photos of my grandson playing basketball inside what a tough job it is to get a decent photo. You seem to be mastering that Larry, these are all great, congrats to you.
Thanks Bob.
It did take a few tries to figure it out, but fortunately I have to do a few of these events a year so I had many chances to practice.
A few key items are:
Use a fast lens with a sharp sweet spot at around F4, so that you can keep shutter speed up without impacting ISO too much. ( I use a Sigma 70-200 f2.8 OS for the close shots and a Tamron 28-75 F2.8 for the wide shots)
The F4 setting allows enough depth of field without sacrificing light too much. If you try to close down more for more depth of field overall IQ may suffer due to higher ISO or slower shutter needed.

A shutter speed around 1/500 will be needed if the action is fast, unless you like motion blur.

Set the white balance in camera to match the lighting if you want to do jpeg. I do so I can maximize frames per second bursts.

Allow the metering to be a slight bit negative, this way you can get higher shutter speed. With the K-5 and K-3 the dynamic range is good so I can pull the exposure back up in post.

Good luck with your grandson sporting shots, if he is like my grandkids who enjoy sports we will be doing this a long time
11-06-2014, 04:49 PM   #8
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wow super shots.

11-06-2014, 04:53 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Scottnorwo Quote
wow super shots.
Thank you!
11-06-2014, 05:11 PM   #10
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Great shots! These really raise my expectations for my Tamron 28-75 f2.8.
But of course getting the lens is one thing, getting pictures like these is another...
11-06-2014, 05:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Thanks, the lens really helped facilitate my ability to get decent shots in the gym lighting.
For an older design and a relatively affordable price it does exceptionally well.
Here it is wide open at 2.8
then it would be better if the model would be the side away from you and the shot would capture two legs ...
11-06-2014, 05:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gor80 Quote
then it would be better if the model would be the side away from you and the shot would capture two legs ...
That's the thing about shooting things in flight though: DIFs or BIFs - they won't really let themselves be directed by photographers!
11-06-2014, 05:36 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MetteHHH Quote
Great shots! These really raise my expectations for my Tamron 28-75 f2.8.
But of course getting the lens is one thing, getting pictures like these is another...
Thanks. The lens really helped facilitate my ability to get decent shots in the gym lighting.
For an older design and a relatively affordable price it does exceptionally well.
I think you will appreciate it.

EDIT: Sorry I posted the wrong image in my first response it was with the Sigma 70-200 - let me find some examples at f2.8 from the Tamron

Here is an unrelated shot from the Tamron at f2.8


---------- Post added 11-06-14 at 04:57 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by gor80 Quote
then it would be better if the model would be the side away from you and the shot would capture two legs ...
Yes you can't direct, I guess if you follow a performer constantly then you will know where to position for a correct angle at the needed moment.
Since I have to balance available light capture with shutter speed and depth of field, the last usually suffers.
I have no advance knowledge of their routines and probably couldn't get to the right spot in time anyway.
Taking photos at these events is a secondary priority for me, so I do what I can.

Last edited by crewl1; 11-06-2014 at 05:58 PM.
11-06-2014, 05:58 PM   #14
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thanks Larry for the help, I'll give it a try and think it will give me a little more success. I started using a mounted flash unit and that really helped and the WB issue can be changed by me also.
11-06-2014, 06:30 PM   #15
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excellent shots, I think you have got close to the best you could get under those conditions
cheers
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