Jumping clear and sharp at 1/160th of a second

Photographers always want something more, something different. I am no exception. My desires lie with obtaining a system that will afford me high-speed sync capabilities – to shoot with a shutter speed surpassing my current flash sync speed of 1/200. Simply put, if this number is breached, you will get a lovely black strip on the bottom of your frame. While that wish is nowhere near budget allowance, I am now wondering just how much I need them. I know there would be massive benefits for outdoor stuff, but inside? I am thinking probably not. Now me thinks I have known this for a while, but have refused to accept it. All comes down to confidence really.

I recently completed some promos for one of our local dance schools and after we were done with the formals we naturally had to get in some of that stuff that dancers do.  I will frequently shoot dancers in my little home studio, but with seven-foot ceilings we are very limited. This shoot was at the dance school so all cylinders were firing.  Five dancers of varying ages and skill levels and a couple of my trusty Alien Bee 800’s.

Geeky stuff: Cross light, One light had an 8″ reflector with a 30 degree grid, and the other had a white beauty dish with reflector plate.  f5.6, 1/160th, iso 100.  Cyber Sync triggers.

First Light with the grid,  Camera Right:

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And Both Lights:

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There is a slight ghosting of her left foot and shin, she is turning incredibly quick, but the rest of her is great. Maybe HSS could have prevented this, I think it is more because of the light hitting her than anything so it would not matter. I love the fact that her fingers are curled in and she is spotting her landing point.

It still cracks me that they look at themselves in the mirrors. Self critique at its finest. Digging the shadow on the wall.

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Tell ya what, I used to be flexible, but never could I do this. She is not even in maximum gumby mode, I think I was a hair off in my timing.

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So the moral of the story is, and I am sure we have all heard it before, use what is available to you instead of investing in more stuff. You may be surprised. What you have will probably work just fine.

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Yes, I still have desires for a B1. Thanks for stopping by!!

Phil

 

 

The Sun Dancers

An early morning began with the intent to get in some sunset images on a full frame body I was trying out. But I am a people person, and as we progressed throughout the afternoon, I asked my wife and daughter to join in. When they said sure, I thought getting my daughters dance team sister in the mix would be a great idea too! Little did I know that we all would be so taken with the images we created. But after all, that is always the end goal, right?

One image in particular struck a nerve for all of us, and when I shared it with her mom, one of her close friends, who just happens to be a writer, commented on it. Having previously collaborated with her on an image I asked her if she would be willing to have a go at this one.

The words were inspired by this image:

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SUN DANCER

A blazing orange sunset

visits the shore.

Sun-drenched love from sea depths

kisses the chin of grace.

Pointed toes and sculpted limbs

adorn the beach

with the beauty of balance.

 

The audience to this sand ballet

is the surface of the sea itself –

reflecting back to the shore

a dance of freedom.

 

Color melts from the sky

in hues of caramel and mango.

The body moves to the rhythm

of storied waves and unfinished tales.

There is so much still to be written

with each fluid movement

of arched back

and essence reaching to the sky

in prayer.

  Cristina M.R. Norcross ©2015

Cristina is the Managing editor at Blue Heron Review as well as an established author. You can take in many of her poems and other writings on her writers blog.

This is our second collaboration together and if our children and mother nature are willing, we will create some more art in the future. If you would like to read the first one it can be viewed here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Phil 

 

In This Leap

I was in Maryland recently cheering on my daughter’s dance team during their national competition. During some down time, standing on the balcony of our hotel, seven floors up and over looking the ocean I get a call from my daughter who was on the beach with a friend. “Dad, can you take pictures of us jumping?” Unable to resist the challenge on went the 200 mm, and a few phone calls later we had what we wanted.

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This image of Brittany captured the attention of one of our friends, who sent it to one of her friends who just happens to be a terrific writer. Inspired by the photograph of a leaping dancer a poem was born:

IN THIS LEAP

 It is here that I live

the in between realm

of Being and flying

the space between soft sand and azure sky

where my legs are strong,

my hair flows like a running stream,

and my purpose shines

just beyond the salmon horizon.

In this leap is my freedom.

I sing here,

I dance here

I am.

Cristina M. R. Norcross

Copyright 2014

Thank you Cristina for touching our lives!

And for those of you wondering what the other half of the tandem accomplished:

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Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…

Phil

Dancers at Sunset

I was getting antsy after a week of rain. I wanted to work on my Dancer’s at Sunset series that I had just recently started.

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So, before I took a walk in the wet stuff just so I could get outside, I decided I would check the forecast one more time to see if any upcoming days were going to be dry. I knew I would most likely be getting soaked at work the next night but I wanted to feel the rain hit me without having a uniform on. Fortunately, I only got a bit drenched at work and there was no need to go for a rainy walk because the forecast called for clearing sky’s during the weekend!

I put out a general to see if any of my dancers would be interested in some sunset photos. Much to my surprise, I had eight of them show up. Well, seven really if we do not include my daughter. Britt will often, and usually reluctantly so, get the first shots in a series just because. More to test than anything, however we do turn out some really nice images like the one above.

The turn out.

The Sunset Crew
The Sunset Crew

I was very excited with the response but suddenly became very nervous. What would happen if I did not get them all in? Playing with a sunset means being on the clock. If the colors happen, they can go away just as quick as they appear. I guess that is why it is exciting, just mother nature doing her thing. No need to stress about it, there will be other days right?

Two distinct age groups and talent levels arrived, both on opposite ends of the spectrum. A great opportunity for some team bonding and I tried to make the most of it.Got some group shots of everyone and some posed shots of the younger ones before the older girls did their thing for me. Since I had to act quick, I under exposed the background and had one Speed lite set to 1/4 power and just adjusted the zoom pending on the number of girls in the frame. Nothing fancy

My Jumpers for the evening

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The Captain.

SSCrew_PShepherd-35First time in front of my lens for this dancer!

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And My Favorite, I have a feeling this one will go up on the wall.

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My initial plan was to have everyone at the 20:27 sunset on the bay then move ocean side for the 21:48 moon rise. Impromptu plans rarely work out like you envisioned. A little late + a bit chilly x really dark = rapid loss of interest. All good though. I think the wide expanse of empty beach may have had something to do with it as well…..play time!

A couple of girls were able to stay long enough to capture some nice looks, but I found it very difficult to get the images where I wanted. Perhaps the darkness and focusing by flashlight had something to do with it.. and more importantly trying to keep detail in the moon while focusing on a person.

SSCrew_PShepherd-87I have already put out the word for July’s full moon. The beauty of that is we will be getting a full Super moon, and it is still going to be light out! Picture Perfect scenarios!

Thanks for stopping by, Till next time!

 

A Young Dancer’s Words

I wanted to share something my daughter recently wrote. She has been a recreational dancer for the past 9 years and has participated on our dance schools competition team for the last 4 years. All those things that young teens do to their parents vanish when they are at dance and I am thankful that she has this opportunity and that she is growing because of it.

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You can’t just do dance. It’s all about having the passion within, and connecting to the music through the moves. It’s about feeling every single step, and always trying your hardest. It’s about enjoying yourself and having fun. Dance is a story within your soul. I don’t dance because I have to, I dance because it makes me happy.

B.A.S. 4/2014

 

“Dance is a story within your soul”

Wow, such a strong, passionate and meaningful statement from a young teenager. You go young love, pen us some more prose! Of course as a parent one can not ask one to write more, we just have to wait till it happens again. Encourage delicately….

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Hat throw

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Keep on Dancing!