Not much makes me smile these days, which is why I was taken aback by the grin that I had the couple that were dancing flirted with my camera. For a frozen second or two, the three of us existed on a plane of mutual understanding. We all wanted the camera to capture something amazing and show it to the world.
When I used to dance, I hated the spectators that would bring flash to a ballroom competition. There were so many times where we’d do a power move, only to be disoriented by a stream of flashes. It’s hard to tell if you are up or down if you can’t see the world correctly. That’s why I vowed to never use a flash and why I had spent so much time researching what is needed to take pictures of ballroom dancers. Which in turn led me to wonder how to capture the motion that can only be captured on video.
My advantage lies in the fact that I used to be them, so I can predict their movement. Someone got interested and asked me how I can track everyone after seeing them dance only once, I took a few minute to analyze myself and said to her: “It’s actually easier to do this than actually dancing. As a man on the floor, the amount of thing I have to track and remember exceed this. They include: where I am looking, parts of my back, hip, stomach muscle that’s contracted, are my foot pointed correctly, where is my left/right arm, what are my fingers supposed to look like, which foot am I on, heel/toe? Where is the woman, which foot is she on, what is the connection status, where are the other competitors on the floor, where am I going next, is someone there blocking me, am I synched to the music?”
The result is the cheapest full frame camera I could get my hands on, in order to get as much light as possible. I also added a cheap and easy portrait lens, the Canon 50mm f1.8.Â The brokeh, the depth of fieldÂ and vignette are perfect, but only for people doing standard/modern because they tend to skirt the outer edge of the floor more. For latin, unless I can find a crowded competition, there’s fat chance for me to catch a latin couple dancing at the edge of the floor. BC, it seems to me, is not well known for latin. To get latin dancers at a distance, I’ll need a telephoto…
I met a Japanese professional photographer for a travel magazineÂ while I was backpacking in Morocco with Mark. By watching him interact with his subject, I learned the necessity for photographer to interact with the people they take pictures of. He’d always get up close and personal with his subjects using his huge camera as a prop to open up a conversation even if he doesn’t speak the language. Then he’d playfully ask them if they want to see how the camera work and take a test shot of them, show them and ask their permission to keep it. The up close and personal part, became the focus of my photography. Which, coupled with the portrait lens, just fits perfectly… except for latin.
The switch to a higher end camera really changed the world of photography for me. Shooting at raw allowed me to get feedback at what settings each picture was taken with. With this information, I have now fine tuned the settings I needed for each shot that’s in my mind. I have no complains so far, except the fact that auto-focus doesn’t work… My previous camera had the same problem, I thought the EOS could handle it, oh well. Lots of ruined shots, but now I know better. It cost me $1200 for the whole setup. Add a telephoto to the mix at another $1200 and I should be broke soon.
I only have time to show these four, they are the couples that noticed the camera. The rest are more technical and awaits the day when I have free time again…