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04-02-2017, 09:14 AM   #16
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So how'd it go?

04-04-2017, 04:32 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Okay, so this is what I do - dance, especially ballet.
QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
I would suggest:
QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
My only additional suggestion is that when the dancing first starts,
QuoteOriginally posted by ldj4549 Quote
My take, IMHO, go at it like a rock concert.
QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
As you want to control
QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
I would echo Brooke's advice.
QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by PDL Quote
This is a dress rehearsal
QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
...and to burn the midnight oil to get the post-processing done in a timely fashion.
Hi everyone - Well here is what happened - and I need to thank all of you for your advice, suggestions, recommendations and comments. It all came in handy - and that is the absolute truth.

I went over at 2pm and got home at 10pm. Shot the dress rehearsal / practice and then the actual presentation which started at 7 and went to 8.15. It was the ballet company's 10th anniversary - so they did a presentation. The girls were all in high school. There were about 200 in the audience. It was a mixture of modern dance, ballet, and a Flamingo dancer.

As suggested, I shot with 2 cameras, K5IIs with the 60-250 @ f4, along with the K5 with the 18-35/f1.8 at f2 at 35mm - full stage width wide angle, up on a tripod. I cleaned each sensor with a rocket blower, and then remapped each camera for hot pixels. I took ~4200 images all total.
  • Since the wide angle was on a tripod shoot the full stage, I just took continuous shots that essentially sequenced the dance number. 2400 in wide angle (35mm full stage width) sequences that I putting into something like a time lapse set of videos (I got this idea from a aircraft landing sequence I did over at the airport). The time lapsed sequences (played at 1/6 sec) are somewhat hit and miss. The first one was excellent - as I was up close. The ones from the balcony are ok, but I do like the ones up close better.
  • I used the 60-250 for individual shots, both hand held and some on a second tripod with a very loose ballhead (nice suggestion).
I practiced during the rehearsal from the ground floor (about 50 feet to stage center) which was good. I was much closer and in a number of ways was able to get better shots. For the presentation I moved upstairs to the 2nd level balcony (about 80 feet to the stage center). The distance increased and the light dropped off. Close up I was able to use ISO 1600-3200. For the actual performance I had to push the ISO up to 8000 (on the 60-250) and 5000 for the wide angle (35mm). The lighting was really bad during the rehearsal (making adjustments), but did get better during the presentation - but I was farther away so the inverse square law took effect - double the distance get 1/4 the light.

I was getting some motion blur at 1/320 so moved to 1/400 and had no further problems.

Trying to follow the action as the dancers moved across the stage, split up (what group should I follow), all the problems you can imagine - just as you all had pointed out. My framing was nothing to write home about (terrible) - chopped off hands, feet, dancers half in and half out of the frame, etc., etc., etc.

I have been post processing since getting home on Saturday night.
  • So far out of the 1700 individual shots I have about 170 that are somewhat reasonable (so far - still working). I had to fix the white balance on the shots from one of the cameras (it finally dawned on me part of the way through that I had the white balance not setup right - by looking at the output from the other camera that was setup correctly). The lighting was bad, which coupled with the high ISO and noise is stretching my post processing capabilities. I have come to understand cropping out half (or more) of a frame (I hardly ever do this).
  • Of the 2400 images for time lapsed sequences, I have 6 done so far, one I really really like (it turned out very well), with the others being from pretty good to OK.
Emailed a few of the processed shots (about 10) off to Mary. So far she thinks that everything is great. [A starving person will think the smells from a food processing plant are great too.] I was hoping to be pretty done by today - but my eyes are going cross - it will take another day. A nice fast system with tons of storage is making this go reasonably fast.

Of the samples I have sent off, Mary tells me that she forwarded them on to the girls and they too think that they are great - [sorry, but after wading through a lot of my crappola shots - I question their tastes in images. So far, I have found about 3 that I like.]

The main use of the images are for the girls and the ballet company's advertising and their web/facebook pages, etc. I'm peddling this tricycle as fast as I can.

I found that I have learned a lot and have improved my shooting with this experience. My post processing skills have improved tremendously - practice makes perfect.

I'll probably post a couple of shots and the first time lapse in a day or two after I get finished with all of this, after talking with Mary...

04-04-2017, 05:07 PM   #18
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Having to sort through and tossing most of the shots is I think normal/to be expected. If you get ten shots that are good, then you did great. Once having done this maybe you will be involved with them more?
04-04-2017, 07:30 PM   #19
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Welcome to the darkness (pun intended) of ballet photography. With experience you get to anticipate the jumps and splits to time your trigger happy fingers. I think we can make a club of ballet photographers.


04-04-2017, 10:27 PM   #20
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Glad it went well!

I somehow missed that you were shooting the actual performance, and not just the dress rehearsal. When I am able to be there for a dress rehearsal as well, I take notes about the performances so I will know what to photograph during the show. Like, the performer(s) enters right for the second number, or where to photograph from if I am able to move around, or what white balance and exposure settings to use, if the lights are changing from one act to another.
04-04-2017, 10:52 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I just took continuous shots that essentially sequenced the dance number.
That was a smart idea.
04-05-2017, 06:51 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by leekil Quote
When I am able to be there for a dress rehearsal as well, I take notes about the performances so I will know what to photograph during the show.
Not just WHAT, but HOW (e.g. some forms of dance can be very slow-moving or contain natural pauses, and these allow you to bottom-out your shutter speed with resultant dramatic falls in auto-ISO if you're shooting in TAv mode; others are lively and explosive and you need to let it rise, with perhaps a touch of blur allowed to show the dynamism).

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