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amitava

Photos from Metropolitan Classical Ballet

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The Metropolitan Classical Ballet, based in Arlington Texas has some wonderful Russia dancers. While a few of them were on break, the rest of the company performed for a benefit to help the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.

Peter and the Wolf was presented in the first half. Post intermission performances consisted of duets from several fairy tales. Photos from the second half are at:

http://insightphotography.smugmug.com/Dance

Enjoy

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Thanks, amitava, for the pictures. I admire and enjoy looking at your work.

I have a question that's probably overely naive, but I always think of it when I see first rate photography of dancers captured in flight or in a perfectly angled pose. How is it possible to shoot at just the right instant to capture line and convey the impression of effortlessness? (Or do you shoot continuously and select only the best of many shots?)

As an example of less-than-successful performance photography: today drb posted a Link to photos of the Malakov Sleeping Beauty for Berlin. There are wonderful shots, but there's one of Malakov ascending to a grand jete, caught at an odd angle, in which the effort involved in the jump is what one notices most.

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Thanks, amitava, for the pictures.  I admire and enjoy looking at your work.

I have a question that's probably overely naive, but I always think of it when I see first rate photography of dancers captured in flight or in a perfectly angled pose.  How is it possible to shoot at just the right instant?  (Or do you shoot continuously and select only the best of many shots?)

Good question. Most dance photographers I know (and have observed) and I, predict the moment as we see it coming. Then we use a single click to capture it. Continual shooting is considered less than ideal. One wastes energy and film/memory. I have seen some green newspaper photographers use the fast click technique, but that is not the norm.

The challenge is not in just capturing the moment, but also having the correct exposure and frame/composition ready. Many photographers have a sense of the moment, but not the framing. The aesthetic sense of framing is commonly referred to as the "eye". So someone with a good "eye" will have interesting photos. I rarely crop a photo more than 10-30% of the area. In most cases what you see is the way the shot was taken.

Solos and duets are easy to shoot but corps work is a challenge, due to coordination of the dancers and size of formations.

Having said that, most photographers with digital cameras, can shoot close to 200 photos in a 20-30 min piece (depending on the style ad choreography). The final yield of "good" photos is smaller. I have noticed that in Ballet solos and duets, 20% of the photos are not usable. In corps work, 50-60% of the photos have to be thrown away. Artistic directors, and marketing eliminate more photos due to their stringent requirements.

Hope that reveals some of the less important mysteries on the universe! :P

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No matter how fast the sequential shooting is, a lot happens between shots, so the single shot method seems to work best for me too. I don't even really know how to use the "burst" function on my cameras.

I don't know about amitava, but I typically use manual settings and prefocus for big jumps. Beyond that, it's just trial and error, esp. with digital cameras, which have extremely variable shutter lag.

Digital cameras are great for the trial and error part.

Alas, my problem is that I lack "the eye" in a big way.

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