Dance and Motion

The senior champion. Every shot I took of this couple is picture perfect, there's no in between transition. Their dance is ready to have the glamor shot taken at each step.

How do you capture the essence of a dance? This post is a technical discussion of the camera and only contains 4 more pictures. Proceed at your own risk.

I’ve thought long and hard about this question and came up with a solution that, quite frankly, borderlines on the insane. The ISO settings for ballroom level lighting with a full frame camera before the picture gets too grainy to use is 400. You can push it to 640, but that will require doing something imaginative to the picture to integrate the grain. With that as the hard limit, I proceeded to take several shot of people’s foot at f 1.8 to determine the shutter speed.

This is the reference picture that allowed me to find the shutter speed

At these settings, a 1/40 second shutter allows the capture of motion blur which rotates around a center line while keeping most of the picture around the focal point sharp. This works for people dancing in standard/modern where the rotation speed is slower, but the dancers travels more… but just barely. Anything faster or slower will not work and will require the photographer to compensate by tracking the dancers better with their camera.

This is what happens at these setting when the dancers slow down. Everything is frozen

For latin, it is a complete different matter since the basis of latin is the emphasis of the difference between fast motion and slow motion. Motion in stillness and on top of that, finding the correct zoom and focus all within one second. This is how crazy it was for me. Then, it took several shots before I realize that, to capture Latin motions correctly like I did in Standard, the shutter speed need to be doubled, otherwise everything is blurry. This is the result of a proper capture.

The skirt is the key to showing latin motion.

My problem then is in how I can make this possible with a zoom lens since the f-stops will increase with a zoom as well as a reduction in overall picture information due to a increase in shutter speed. Of course, I won’t have to contemplate these until I save up enough money to buy a telephoto. All the latin images are crops of the original since I can’t zoom in to the proper frame size. Same problem causes me to not being able to get the type of depth effect I want in latin dances.

Latin captured with a shutter that's too fast... and too dark. Had to modify it a bit.

That muscular back. Such a turn on.



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