Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Seria Star Anniversary at Kava Lounge

     So it has been awhile since I've posted something new here. It's not from a lack of attending events to write about. It's just that I get so dang busy with work, projects and more projects. I am going to make a concerted effort to blog about my experiences (mostly art-related).

     Last Saturday (March 24th) I went to my friend's (Cathie Lucas - see pic above) belly dance event called Seria Star at Kava Lounge. It was the one year anniversary and Danyavaad was playing so I couldn't miss it. I can say with great certainty that Kava Lounge is one of the most difficult venues to photograph in. It is very dark and the lighting is usually mostly red. Thankfully Cathie put up a couple yellow/tungsten lights to add more light. It helped immensely considering that I try not to use flash when photographing dancers. Nevertheless it is still not the ideal situation to shoot in, but you make do with what you have.

      I have several choices here when photographing at Kava Lounge. #1. I could use flash. Simple enough! I could put the flash unit on my camera and shoot away. Or shoot wireless and place the flash units anywhere in the club. #2. I could not use flash and shoot wide-open using my 50mm f1.8 prime or 28-75 f2.8 Tamron. or #3. Not shoot at all. Really, is that even an option?

      So I went with choice #2 since I feel most comfortable shooting with no flash and using available light. My lens of choice is the Canon 50mm f1.8. When I shoot at intimate venues with limited light where I am usually within arms reach of the dancers I will use this lens. There are of course pros and cons to using this lens at such close proximity to my beautiful subjects. Some of the pros are that I can shoot wide open at f1.8 to let in the most light and use a fast shutter speed. The advantage to this is that I can "freeze" the dancer with very minimal blurriness. With that said, I will intentionally use a longer shutter speed to show the effect of motion. Another pro to using the 50mm is composition. I like to get up close and crop my pics tight. Not that I am opposed to head to toe shots because I like those too. But I have grown accustomed to getting in tight now. Perhaps it is from my experience shooting Wild Rose Entertainment (Lauren Grier's group) at Egyptian Tea Room (ETR). So this may come as a surprise when I say that getting in tight is also a con when you want head to toe shots. You would have to step further back from the subject which is just impossible at Kava Lounge when you're in front and the crowd of people behind you are 2-4 deep. Another con is that since I am not using flash, I have to increase the ISO and thus the images turn out to be softer than if I used flash with a lower ISO. In the case at Kava Lounge, I have dialed it up to 3200 ISO.

     In the pic of Julie Wise above, I shot in Manual mode at f1.8 1/60 sec ISO 3200. My white balance was set to Tungsten. I primarily shoot in high burst mode too. I suggest shooting in this mode because it is extremely difficult to "time" the shot with a great pose in low light.

     Above is Kim Pelt, again with the same settings as the photo taken of Julie. I tweaked the color settings a bit in Lightroom 4 to get that effect. In the background are two members of Danyavaad, Gabriel Penix and Sandy Bagri.

     Shey Belany of belly dance group Atash Maya with a snake wrapped around her and Sarah Burgess playing violin. I love sepia and you will see several shots in my gallery with this effect.

                                                Raine Alexandre of Atash Maya.

     Matthias Lauwers from Antwerp, Belgium with Greg Vaughan in the background.

                                             Lesleigh Kent of Iza Moon

        Melanie Dellas of Iza Moon with Sarah Burgess in the background.

     Thank you Cathie for putting on such a great event! Also thanks goes to Danyavaad for providing the music.To see more pics from the show, please go to my gallery on Zenfolio - Seria Star Anniversary.

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