assignment 2 – amendments…

this is just a short post, in which i want put some extra information in about the technical aspects of my images, some more info about the ballet photography and also i would like to upload some of the photos from my assignment 2 but this time without the distracting watermarks – thank you paul for all your helpful comments !

so i will do that first :



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i took the images that i used for assignment 2 in prague during a two day photo shoot at the international ballet masterclasses. i had read the assignment’s requirements ahead of my trip and liked the idea of using my ballet images for this assignment, so took lots of the photos with this in mind…

i tried to prepare myself as much as possible for the shoot since i knew there will be so many challenges so though that whatever i can do ahead to prepare myself for will be a bonus….

the most important thing for me was to get sharp enough images  – and as technically correct as possible. the other challenge was to let go and try to move from tried and tested features on my camera and use the camera’s settings more. i have canon 1d mark iv so the scope of customer function settings is huge. the risk is however that if one of those settings is not set up correctly, one gets really bad results…worse then if settings left on basic pre-set functions…

i spent quite some time reading and studying my camera’s custom’s functions, found a few good videos on youtube and thought that i mastered the most important ones – using AIServo tracking of course, because ballet dancers tend to move ( fast, and in unpredictable ways.. ), using the back AF ON button, so separate AF and shutter, and setting up a few custom settings that would allow me to experiment with different modes of metering, focus locks and tracking the moving subjects.

theory is one thing and reality is another….first few minutes in a huge ballet studio and my plans of having a systematic, controlled way of shooting went ….i was really nervous, to start with, that does not help with steady hands…i met my hero, daria klimentova, who allowed me to photograph her courses, and who is an amazing dancer and a great photographer….she made me feel very welcome and encouraged me to move from the tiny corner of the studio, where i hoped i was invisible, to the centre of the room where i had much better chance of shooting something half decent…

the set up of the studio was a bit tricky for photographing as well – one wall large window, another two walls mirrors, and a very dark panelled wood ceiling, that seemed to  ‘ eat’ all the light in the room….getting an image in which there would not be my reflection in the mirror seemed to be impossible to start with…

the programmed custom functions on my camera did not seem to work as they should have – i am sure i did something wrong but one of the main feature, that i hoped i would use – the 45 points focused points, where you can select all of them to be active during AI Servo tracking and therefore, theoretically, never losing your subject and never getting an out of focused image – was a nightmare, the focus seemed to jump randomly around the 45 focus points and therefore it was impossible to stay focused on one subject…so i binned that and bravely embraced old fashioned manual focus and metering, not too experienced in this but the success rate, while using this, was much higher than when using the various programmed functions…

i loved every minute of the shoot, and gradually became more comfortable in terms of finding the best spot in the room ( while still being extremely aware of the fact that i was the disturbing element there, so really tried my best to be out of the way and as invisible as possible… )

my lenses : standard 24-70mm f2.8, zoom 70-200mm f2.8 and my new baby 85mm f1.4. the latter saved my life i think, since the second day i was shooting in a smaller studio on the top floor, with just two tiny windows and dark panel woods on one wall and the ceiling…it was sooo dark there, i knew i can not go over ISO 1,000 because of the noise, so used the lens at f 1.6 and actually felt in love with it…even if it took some getting used to…

evaluation : loved this project, loved the fact that i felt so much more confident at the end, and the ultimate high of this was that daria selected over 100 images that i took for her website, as well as lots of interest from the students, who saw my images and seemed to like them. i was invited back next year and already have a few plans that will make the whole experience even better ( i hope ).

on the negative side- still trying to figure out the technical aspects and am very frustrated that i do not fully understand why certain settings on my camera do not deliver the promised results – after all this camera is used by most professional sports photographers and they need to nail down  ‘ the moment’ and need to get a perfectly focused image of very fast moving subjects….need to do more research and try the camera more when tracking fast moving subjects…


This entry was published on September 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm and is filed under assignments, OCA. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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