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Old Oct-28-2009, 06:34 PM
#21
seastack is offline seastack
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Love it ....

I don't know though, a zoom lens perhaps?, the prime 35 left lonely in the bag, say it ain't so ;-)))
Old Oct-28-2009, 07:17 PM
#22
divamum is offline divamum
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Look at each dancer's foot - you can see that each one is at ever such a slightly different angle, the ribbons are tied differently, arches are different, blocks in the shoes vary.... not multi exposures at all, just good choreography well captured!

Nice shot, BD, although BW makes me feel like I've gone into a timewarp - the digital age has made getting decent stage shots of ourselves IN COLOUR a whole bunch easier, and much though I love BW for most things (the colours are simply better, if you know what I mean ) and like it photographically, the performer in me feels slightly short-changed....

Seriously - awesome stuff.
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Old Oct-28-2009, 08:21 PM
#23
saurora is offline saurora
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Beautiful! I would be hard-pressed to choose between B&W or color. It's one of those images I think would work well either way. Love the ethereal feel to the B&W though. Very nice!
Old Oct-28-2009, 10:08 PM
#24
Seefutlung is offline Seefutlung
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Nice BD.
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Old Oct-28-2009, 10:41 PM
#25
michswiss is offline michswiss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saurora
Beautiful! I would be hard-pressed to choose between B&W or color. It's one of those images I think would work well either way. Love the ethereal feel to the B&W though. Very nice!
It is an absolutely beautiful shot. Without seeing a colour version, it's hard to say which I'd prefer. But I would be afraid of losing the clarity and/or details in her face and bodice if it were colour. And for me, that's where the magic resides.
Old Oct-29-2009, 01:50 AM
#26
sara505 is offline sara505
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michswiss
It is an absolutely beautiful shot. Without seeing a colour version, it's hard to say which I'd prefer. But I would be afraid of losing the clarity and/or details in her face and bodice if it were colour. And for me, that's where the magic resides.
I don't have to see the color version to say I prefer the BW. This shot is about form and light (and dark), much better expressed in BW. But then again, I'm a BW junkie.
Old Oct-29-2009, 04:19 AM
#27
bdcolen is offline bdcolen OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by divamum
Look at each dancer's foot - you can see that each one is at ever such a slightly different angle, the ribbons are tied differently, arches are different, blocks in the shoes vary.... not multi exposures at all, just good choreography well captured!

Nice shot, BD, although BW makes me feel like I've gone into a timewarp - the digital age has made getting decent stage shots of ourselves IN COLOUR a whole bunch easier, and much though I love BW for most things (the colours are simply better, if you know what I mean ) and like it photographically, the performer in me feels slightly short-changed....

Seriously - awesome stuff.
First, thank you all for the very kind response. This is so far from my usual thing that it's one of those images you really hope for confirmation on.
Now - the color question - which requires a confession:
Rutt, who took me along to shoot this Boston Ballet rehearsal with him, "assigned" me the challenge of keeping my images of this act in color, because getting the color right is a total bitch - the costumes are not pure white as they seem, but corpse-like greenish white. Later today I'll post a color version of this. I think I came pretty close to getting the reality - the image starts out shockingly blue - but my equipment does not do well at isos much above 800 - 1200-1600 is acceptable in a pinch - so color at high iso looks pretty awful - as you'll see.
As to equipment - Olympus f3 with F2 35-100 zoom (70-200 35 equiv) at about 180 as I recall. Again - no multiple exposures, no zoomy tricks.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 04:34 AM
#28
Richard is offline Richard
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Theater lighting of any kind is a bitch, and it's even harder in color. Some of you newcomers might be interested in seeing what a great job Rutt has done in the past with ballet pics:

http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=95535
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=93364
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=58025
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Old Oct-29-2009, 05:23 AM
#29
Nir is offline Nir
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Harmonious in so many ways...
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Old Oct-29-2009, 05:35 AM
#30
thoth is offline thoth
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Rutt's color ballet shots are nothing short of spectacular, B.D. I don't suppose you could have a better teacher. Good luck!
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Old Oct-29-2009, 05:37 AM
#31
rutt is offline rutt
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Thanks, Richard.

Act II of Giselle is about as hard as it gets in terms of lighting. It's really dark and supposed to be moonlight. The women are actually supposed to be dead (they are "willies", a sort of ghost.) So they wear weird makeup, the lighting is blue, and the "white" dresses really aren't white at all. This is an old ballet and there has been a long time to figure out how to make it look really eerie.

The first time I shot Giselle, a few years ago, I totally struck out on Act II. It wasn't that I couldn't make the shots look "good" or even any way I wanted them to. But I couldn't figure out what they should look like. I ended up using a shot as a case study for Dan Margulis' Applied Color Theory group. These guys are the super professional photoshop jockeys, the people who make commercial photographs look they way they do in print. are their results. As you can see, it runs the range from bright daylight on down. In the end I like my version the best (no surprise, people always like their own processing the best.)



Close, but no cigar, I decided.

This time, a few things changed:
  1. I now know the dance.
  2. New camera, 5D mkII instead of 5D with usable ISO 3200
  3. Slightly different lighting (a little more green)
  4. Moved closer and into the center row for Act II
  5. Brought B.D. along for company and good luck

As turned out Kathleen Breen Combes danced Mithra this time as well (she really owns this role.) And I got one I really loved:



I suppose the big post processing trick here was to realize that the noise is OK, sort of like grain in film. The shot is strong enough to work with the noise.

After B.D. showed me his shot, I dug around in my own proofsheet and found that I had also captured the same moment or nearly so. I don't think I would have seen it if B.D. hadn't shown me his. It took a pretty major crop. I was shooting with my 85mm f/1.2 on full frame 21mp @ ISO 3200. B.D. had this great ?-200mm f/2 lens on his Olympus @ ISO 800 (highest usable he says.) So I cropped a lot more than he did, but maybe had as many pixels as he did. And I might have had more noise than he did to start with because of the higher ISO (needed to capture the grand jetes and the like.) Anyway, I explored color versions of this moment. Here is my first attempt:



I was sort of operating on the assumption that the noise adds to the drama, which worked for the Mirtha shot. B.D. thought this was pretty noisy so I made a second attempt, this time fighting the noise as hard as I could at every step (starting with turning up noise correction all the way in ACR and including a trip through NoiseWare and surface blur.)



Getting pretty close to a non photo realistic treatment.

I don't think either attempt really nailed this particular image the way the noisy treatment of Mirtha did. I don't exactly know why, but I'm thinking it was even darker and thus noisier. (When a soloist is dancing, usually there is a follow spot on her.) This particular moment, there were two groups of dancers doing the same thing and I don't think the follow spots were turned up very high.

B.D. basic image is better than mine. He caught the left feet of all three dancers in good position, but I must have been just a little late or early and had to plug the shadows to hide the rear dancer's foot.

I'm tempted to see if B.D. will let my friend Lyle Kroll have a go at this. Lyle has done beautiful NPR (non photo realistic renderings) of quite a few of my ballet shots, including this one of the Arabian Dancers from the Nutcracker:



(Also in very low light.) See this gallery.

Hmm, wonder what Lyle would do with my Mirtha shot? Maybe nothing B.D. would like; but, here we really are very far from the street here.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 05:53 AM
#32
tortillatorture is offline tortillatorture
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rutt:
great stuff in the links richard posted
i especially love the first one here: http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=93364 fantastic!!
about your post here: i think the color shot from you rutt looks equaly wonderfull actually,
the grain/noise only shines of more goodness, so the attempt to "fight it" as you say fails for me,
i guess some like the painterly feel as much as i like the OOF'S, but "paint-photo" is not for me.
now its my turn to use the questionmark =) paint-photo and NPR = ? i dont get it =)
again, lovely shots both of you!
Old Oct-29-2009, 06:24 AM
#33
rutt is offline rutt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tortillatorture
i think the color shot from you rutt looks equaly wonderfull actually,
the grain/noise only shines of more goodness, ...
Yes, but B.D. has the better shot to start from because of the positions of the dancers left feet. We'll see how his color post looks later today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tortillatorture
now its my turn to use the questionmark =) paint-photo and NPR = ? i dont get it =)
again, lovely shots both of you!
Non Photo Realistic It's a whole big thing all by itself.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 07:21 AM
#34
JimW is offline JimW
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Rutt
I followed those links that Richard posted (thanks Richard) and it was well worth it. The ballet photography is tremendous and I know the degree of difficulty is high. I very much enjoyed looking at the images. I also must add that I enjoy reading the text and learning the story behind what sounds like a long term project for you. I know that text which accompanies photos is slightly frowned upon here (is that fair to say?), but, speaking just for myself, I love to read the stories behind projects like this. I always think the post is richer when it is together with some interesting story and background.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 07:55 AM
#35
bdcolen is offline bdcolen OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rutt
Yes, but B.D. has the better shot to start from because of the positions of the dancers left feet. We'll see how his color post looks later today.



Non Photo Realistic It's a whole big thing all by itself.
Okay - Here we go - First, pretty much what I got out of the camera (At least it was before I uploaded it - it was blue, but for some reason it's purple here. )



Then, with correction. This is pretty close to the colors, but the noise is utterly bizarre -



I have some other images from the same act where the color is as accurate as Rutts - though the images are nowhere near as good as his. I think the difference, in terms of the colors, is that the dancers were better lit in those shots.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 08:45 AM
#36
baldmountain is offline baldmountain
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Originally Posted by bdcolen
Okay - Here we go - First, pretty much what I got out of the camera (At least it was before I uploaded it - it was blue, but for some reason it's purple here. )
I'd guess it is supposed to be blue because it's moonlight. Stage lighting is often VERY colorful in order to invoke a certain mood. Trying to fight the colored light to get natural tones often doesn't work well.

If you look at the exif info on all these pictures they are wide open and F2 or bigger. As someone who can't afford these lenses I can offer a few tips. Look for a pause in the dancing. Look for a dancer passing through a spotlight or better yet paused in a spotlight. Open the aperture up all the way. This one came from a Nikon D50 at iso800 and the horrid Nikon 70-210 f4 lens.



Personally, I didn't like Giselle. As a dad of a ballet dancer I've learned to abhor ballet. Although I liked Balanchine's Symphony in C.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 09:02 AM
#37
rutt is offline rutt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimW
The ballet photography is tremendous and I know the degree of difficulty is high.
Yes and no. You have to:
  1. Have access
  2. Learn a lot of technique (shoot time and post)
  3. Learn the dances

But the dancers and the company do the real heavy lifting. They devote their lives to presenting these beautiful productions. Personally, I find street photography much harder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimW
I also must add that I enjoy reading the text and learning the story behind what sounds like a long term project for you. I know that text which accompanies photos is slightly frowned upon here (is that fair to say?), but, speaking just for myself, I love to read the stories behind projects like this. I always think the post is richer when it is together with some interesting story and background.
As the title says, we are very far from street photography here. [Richard: notice where B.D. chose to post this.]
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Old Oct-29-2009, 09:08 AM
#38
rutt is offline rutt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baldmountain
I'd guess it is supposed to be blue because it's moonlight. Stage lighting is often VERY colorful in order to invoke a certain mood. Trying to fight the colored light to get natural tones often doesn't work well....

Personally, I didn't like Giselle. As a dad of a ballet dancer I've learned to abhor ballet. Although I liked Balanchine's Symphony in C.
For me Giselle was an acquired taste. It's all about that second act, which better be really good.

If you like Balanchine, what about Serenade, my personal favorite ballet.



I posted this partly to make a point. The lighting for this is also very blue. I wanted to show that light. But if I just let it be blue, it just looks like a duotone, not really believable at all (like B.D.'s unprocessed image.) The trick is to get at least something right and then let the rest be blue. For this shot, I got some flesh into the Y>=M>>C range and then let the blue light show everywhere else.
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Old Oct-29-2009, 09:51 AM
#39
bdcolen is offline bdcolen OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rutt
For me Giselle was an acquired taste. It's all about that second act, which better be really good.

If you like Balanchine, what about Serenade, my personal favorite ballet.



I posted this partly to make a point. The lighting for this is also very blue. I wanted to show that light. But if I just let it be blue, it just looks like a duotone, not really believable at all (like B.D.'s unprocessed image.) The trick is to get at least something right and then let the rest be blue. For this shot, I got some flesh into the Y>=M>>C range and then let the blue light show everywhere else.
Lovely. And I particularly like the way her foot reflects on the "street."
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Old Oct-29-2009, 10:18 AM
#40
baldmountain is offline baldmountain
Spur of the moment...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rutt
If you like Balanchine, what about Serenade, my personal favorite ballet.
Never seen it. I'll have to check it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rutt
I posted this partly to make a point. The lighting for this is also very blue. I wanted to show that light. But if I just let it be blue, it just looks like a duotone, not really believable at all (like B.D.'s unprocessed image.) The trick is to get at least something right and then let the rest be blue. For this shot, I got some flesh into the Y>=M>>C range and then let the blue light show everywhere else.
I agree 100%. No matter what colors are present, if you can get the flesh tones looking at least close to humanoid the image will look decent.

But sometimes you don't want to "fix" the colors. I actually prefer BD's blue version of the image because the lighting matches mood of the dance.
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