Your sto­ries

Doug Mor­ley talks about his ex­pe­ri­ences of shoot­ing live dance per­for­mances in low light

NPhoto - - Contents -

Mis­sion: To cap­ture peo­ple per­form­ing on stage

Pho­tog­ra­pher: Dou­glas Mor­ley

Lo­ca­tion : British Co­lum­bia, Canada

Kit: Nikon D610, 24-120mm f/4, 70-200mm f/2.8

My in­ter­est in shoot­ing dance, and in par­tic­u­lar bal­let, came from my love of clas­si­cal mu­sic. I don’t live far from the re­cently built Chilli­wack Cul­tural Cen­tre in British Co­lum­bia, which has an ex­tremely good stage with gor­geous au­di­to­rium light­ing. I was aware that Bal­let Vic­to­ria from BC’s pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal would be vis­it­ing for a per­for­mance of Tchaikovsky’s

Nutcracker. So I emailed both the bal­let com­pany and the Cul­tural Cen­tre to ask for pho­tog­ra­phy per­mis­sion dur­ing re­hearsals. There were strict pro­to­cols to ad­here to: no flash, no dis­trac­tions etc (I’d done some home­work al­ready), and that I would sub­mit any im­ages to the bal­let com­pany for ap­proval be­fore pub­lish­ing or putting them into the pub­lic do­main. I agreed and ar­ranged a date to shoot.

I came to the per­for­mance dress re­hearsal. I set up my D610 on a tri­pod with a 70-200mm f/2.8 at­tached, but kept a D700 in re­serve. This new-found sub­ject of pho­tog­ra­phy was ex­cit­ing and very chal­leng­ing. The light­ing, with its many changes and com­plex­ity, meant that my 70-200mm was at f/2.8 all the time and ISO was al­ways very

high (I shot in Pro­gram mode with Auto ISO). Choos­ing when to fire the shut­ter was hit and miss at first, but grad­u­ally I man­aged to judge mo­ments in a way that I was sat­is­fied with. My shot with dancers dressed in teal [1] was one such mo­ment (a pas de deux be­tween two prin­ci­pal dancers). Two hours of hard work later and I’d taken plenty of shots to browse through. There were lots of fail­ures, a few suc­cesses and a steep learn­ing curve, but pho­tograph­ing this beau­ti­ful per­for­mance of Tchaikovsky’s

Nutcracker was a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

With one shoot un­der my belt I ven­tured to take on another re­hearsal. This time at the same venue but with Canada’s Bal­let Jor­gen from Toronto. They were tour­ing with Sleep­ing

Beauty. I got a crack­ing photo from this shoot, an im­age of the Lilac Fairy on pointe [2], from the story, and another of two stu­dents [3] with Chilli­wack’s Cre­ative Out­let Stu­dio per­form­ing in their own am­a­teur, but re­mark­able, pro­duc­tion of the Nutcracker.

Sleep­ing Beauty Nikon D610, 24-120mm f/4, 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO4500

Stu­dent dancers Nikon D610, 24-120mm f/4, 1/200 sec, f/4, ISO1000

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.