Tag Archives: dancing

Jazz and Lindyhop at Hale photos

A few weeks ago, I attended a jazz evening at a Perth school.  It was a really fun night, showcasing many of the school’s own talented jazz ensembles.   To help get the parents on the floor, Shane and Ruth from Swing It came to give a short introductory class of lindyhop. I was surprised and happy to see the dance floor totally crowded with enthusiastic parents, trying to do rock step triple steps 🙂

After the class, Shane and Ruth did a lindyhop performance for all.  I took quite a few shots – but it’s surprisingly hard to get a good dynamic lindyhop shot where the dancers and their faces are visible, whilst capturing the energy and motion of the dance.    

Swing It Performance


I took along my Nikon 85mm 1.8 and did not regret it at all – it takes such amazing shots in low light.

Sax solo


To end the night, the school’s soul band took to the stage.  I snuck right up in between the stage and the dancers and tried to capture the raw energy of the crowd.

Soul Band

A bad dance

Have you had a bad dance?  You know, one of those ones that just don’t work.

At the DJ Battle on last weekend, I got knocked out early so took the opportunity have a few dances. 

And so the DJ put on a song, one I’ve never heard or danced to before.  The rhythm was a bit uncomfortable – it “sounded” slow, but it was not.   I think it was because it had more of a half time feel to it.

I asked a follow to dance – an advanced dancer.  Like many dances, I first like to get “in tune” with my follow – almost like “calibrating” myself to them, as every follow is different.  We did a few rocks to the music.

And then a few swingouts.

And then crap.

Nothing seemed to work at all!  Not that we didn’t “dance”.  But our dance forms and frame was totally not connecting. I wasn’t able to play and connect with the music and give us both room to improvise with each other and the music.  

And being the lead, it’s really all my fault.  Aargghhh!!!  I tried to get back to basics, but I was probably so frustrated by then, it just didn’t work.  Maybe I started thinking too hard…

We continued dancing to the end of the song, and I said a big “sorry” afterwards when leading her off the floor.  We’ve had better dances before, and I had some really good dances that night, but this particular combination of song, partner and my frame of mind and (bad :)) technique just didn’t gel this time.

I felt embarrassed.  I felt disappointed. 

How can I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Body Hurt

My body still hurts…

On the weekend, Wifey and I decided to tackle the Aerials class held by SwingIt.    It was fun and physically challenging – trying to co-ordinate with each other to flip Wifey around.   Shane and Ruth had obviously been doing these for a while and practising because they did them nice and clean.

Aerials are weird..  it’s not all strength.  It’s a lot of timing between each other, and also the mental “I can do it” attitude…  which for some unknown reason I was lacking a little.  Not good!   No accidents, but I think our aerials could’ve been smoother and more successful.

Whoa are we feeling it now!  For the past 2 days, we’ve been hurting all over…

Just so I don’t forget what they look like! (we didn’t take any class review video) –


Hip flip


Similarish to this but entry from side by side charleston

Flip from guy lying down (what is the name for this?)

24 seconds into this:

Dancing Concert Photos

Last week was dancing week!   One dress rehearsal and two concerts later, dancing for the year is all over.

I took the opportunity to take some snaps at the dress rehearsal.  I felt like a sniper with my 70-200mm lens sitting about 5 rows from the front of the stage at the Octagon.   It certainly is a little stressful taking photos at a concert – a little bit like shooting a wedding ceremony in that you only get that one chance – you can’t tell people “Stop! Can you do that again?”, and the lighting is pretty dim.   Also, I couldn’t fully enjoy my own kids dancing, but that’s OK because I attended the two actual concerts on the weekend.

Being seated in a concert venue, I couldn’t move from my spot at all which made things difficult.   There were some angles that I had to see fly by without being able to capture them.  Also, I realised during the show that 70mm wasn’t quite wide enough for some ending group shots that I wanted to take, and in the end, I didn’t bring another body to take photos with.    5GB of photos later, the effort was worth it.   Photos are a bit grainy at the moment but I haven’t run any noise reduction on them yet.

Here are a couple of the better snaps of the kids:


Dancing Concert 2008

Preparing for the kids’ dancing concert

This week is the time when my photography hobby aligns with the kids’ activities of dancing!  Each year their dance school has an end of year concert – and we’re quite lucky to be able to photograph and video the dress rehearsal. 

But the preparation starts before all of this for each family.  

We’ve had to paint dancing shoes.

Wifey has done the final sewing on all the costumes.  Here’s a sneak peek – 3 costumes each for T and S (acro, jazz and tap).  Luckily no tutu as our kids didn’t do ballet this year.

As for photography – last night, I’ve double checked everything:
* Charged battery and spare
* Cleaned out memory card (4GB) and spare (2GB)
* Checked there’s enough space on the video camera

And this is what I’m packing:
* 70-200mm 2.8 lens for close ups
* 17-55mm 2.8 lens for whole group shots
* Extra DSLR body just in case
* Tripod

I’ve looked through previous year’s photos to double check the settings I used.  It looks like over the years, I got the best results from these settings:
* Shutter Priority – since dancers are moving, I don’t want blurry shots
* 1/125 or 1/160s – at 200mm, I don’t want to go any slower, plus I want to stop their movement
* ISO 1600 – with the lighting on stage, this resulted in apertures between 2.8 and 4.0 to make closeups pop

I think I’ve tried going manual before, but sometimes the lighting can change quite quickly and I don’t have time during a dance to play around with this.  Also, I’ve also tried locking the white balance in before, but since I won’t be matching colours across sets and the coloured lights are changing all the time, I don’t think it matters that much.

I usually give a bunch of photos free to the dance school which gets made into a poster in the foyer.   But I’m beginning to wonder if start selling them to other parents?  Hmmmm…

In terms of seating, I’ve always sat diagonally to the stage so that I can get some nice angles and lines, but I’m wondering if I should change spots this year.  I was thinking of sitting bang in the middle, which might be good for end poses, but could be quite uninteresting otherwise and blocks faces of dancers behind the front ones (as many of the formations are in lines).   And looking at last year’s photos, I think I’ll sit a bit lower/closer to the front as there seemed to be too much vertical angle in the shots for my liking.

But the most important thing is of course the kids!  They’re definitely looking forward to tonight’s dress rehearsal.  At the dinner table last night, our 7yo said that she was a little nervous!  We told her that a few nerves is a good thing 😉   And this morning, I had to field constant questions like “What time do we have to get there?”, “When will we do our hair?”, “When do we have to leave?”, “Will be people be watching us tonight?”.    I think it’s good to work towards something big and special – with dancing, this is either exams or a concert – not as often as a sporting hobby where there would be a weekly game to put the pressure on!

Here are some photos from last year’s concert.