In the darkness of the dance (shooting at a nightclub)

Larry Colen lrc at
Fri Nov 7 13:26:06 EST 2014

Igor PDML-StR wrote:
> Larry,
> Thanks for your response.
> 1. So, essentially your answer to the main question I asked is:
> "If it hurts, don't do it".
> (i.e. don't shoot with the wall too close in the background).
> :-)

I hope to soon be getting some yongnuos and wireless triggers.  At that 
point, I'd be able to have someone hold a flash off camera at an angle 
so that the beam doesn't light up the wall within the frame of the 
photo. But physics does limit some of your options and doesn't tend to 
negotiate on its limits.

> 2. Gels: yep, thank you for the reference, I saw it earlier in another
> thread, and thought I might use that... I am a bit reluctant, as it adds
> yet another contraption to the whole setup.
> (And if I am coming to a dance, especially these days, I am trying to
> reduce the complexity of the setup, so it is easy to set and put back
> into the bag.)

One thing I like about the gel holder is that it effectively takes no 
space in my bag. I tend to keep it on my flash, but attach the velcro so 
that it is attached along the side of the flash rather than in the 
front, so I don't necessarily even have to take it off the flash.  It's 
a $10 - $20 investment, so it's pretty low risk.

> 3. Sometimes I choose to correct the color balance in post, but often, I
> leave it as is, as in this case:
> Besides, when you have a combination of various lights as here:
> the gel would probably produce some weird results...

Yup, and when the subject is wearing fluorescent clothing a blue gel can 
get the clothing to fluoresce, and is often correctable out in post.

> 4. To flash or not to flash, - I know your minimalistic approach.
> I agree, it can be annoying. However, I disagree with the rule that if
> it needs a flash, that it is annoying...
> It might work for slower dances, but for fast lindy & balboa, you often
> need a flash to freeze the motion. We discussed this with you.

Exactly, every situation is different, otherwise we wouldn't need people 
at the controls, you'd just be able to hire a programmer to write the 
software once.

> 5. Thanks for showing those FB galleries.
> What's interesting in them is that most of the dance photos look as if
> they were taken daytime. I am often catching myself that I am
> overlightening my dance photos to much in post getting exactly that effect.

It's a matter of taste and style.  Generally, once I've been in a room 
for a while, I adjust and don't notice that it's dark. So, if I'm 
shooting dancers, I want to be able to see that it's dancers.  If my 
goal is to show how dark the room people are dancing in, I can adjust my 
post processing exposure accordingly.

> 6. Yep, you recognized the people correctly.
> If you go one step up in the URL (or click on "Index") you can see more
> photos of those (and other) people from that event.
> I believe you've seen that Jeremy's photo before.

Yup, I didn't notice the LVFX in the browser title bar until later.

As an aside, a few people on this list may not know that Igor and I 
dance and photograph in effectively the same dance community, where a 
lot of the same people go to a lot of the same national level events. 
That also means that someone interested in dance photography can see the 
advantages and disadvantages of our different approaches.

> Igor
> Yep, I know your approach with respect to minimization of using flash.

It is a rule of thumb.  Then again, I've been known to set up studio 
strobes for performances and dance competitions.  It's a balance of so 
many factors.

I admit that after an event, I'll often look at the photos taken by 
someone who used flash and envy the clarity and lack of noise.  I'm 
getting back into lindy hop these days, so I may be shooting more fast 
dancing in the near future.


Larry Colen  lrc at (postbox on min4est)

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