Friday, September 4, 2009

Oregon Ballet Theater at the Waterfront

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In the last few months, I've discovered Yelp.com, which is a sort of review-based community social network sort of thing.  I don't quite get the "friend" side of it, but it's a great site for finding places to go eat and things to go do.  I've discovered a lot of interesting activities through this site, including that bike race I visited a few weeks ago.

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Last month I saw that there would be a free concert from the Oregon Symphony down at the waterfront, and I signed up for a reminder.  Getting an email telling me that there's something fun to do for free is pretty cool.  I did a little research beforehand, and found out about the artillery.  The ballet caught me off guard.

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I was trying to get some pictures of the crowd and such when they announced the ballet coming to the stage.  I had no idea what sort of shots I would be able to get of them.  I had been doing pretty long exposures for the crowd, both of those shots were in the 20-30 second range.

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Luckily, they stood on the stage for a minute or so before the music started, and I had time to do a few sample shots.  I set the ISO to 800 and played around with the shutter speed.  I set it to 3 seconds (@f/5 or so), which actually gave me a lot more light than I needed.  The first few shots were way too bright.

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Eventually I settled in on the 2 second range with a slightly higher f/stop, and got these great swirly shots.  I tried to time my shots out to where either the dancers were standing still, or moving into their still poses, or just moving out of them.  It was a lot more fun than I expected.

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I am glad I went out and took these shots, instead of staying home and being lazy.  I almost did, but after a little pep talk I was able to get going.  It was a nice walk on a warm summer evening.  When I got to the waterfront park, I realized I hadn't looked to see which part of the park the concert was at. 

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I had arrived in the middle of the mile-long park, where I had expected the concert to be.  But it wasn't.  I had also figured I could follow my ears if I came to the wrong spot.  Wrong again.  No music to be heard.  I decided to go to the south, since that is the fancier end of the park, and I figured it might be more likely to host an orchestra.  Turns out, I was right! 

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I really had no idea what to expect with the whole trip.  I had been prepared to take pictures of the crowd and hopefully orchestra.  I wasn't sure how I would shoot the cannon, but I figured I would treat them like fireworks.  The ballet was completely unexpected but all that movement practice I've been putting in really paid off.

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Although I probably would have done this shoot even without 365, it's nights like last night that really make 365 worthwhile.  I get a lot of practice and thought in all those boring days where I took so-so shots, and that totally pays off when I have the chance to catch something interesting and new.  I was confident and reasonably comfortable taking these pictures, even though it was a subject for which I was unprepared.

4 comments:

OREGON BALLET THEATRE said...

Great shots, Sean!

Lani said...

Beautiful photos.

Sean G said...

Thank you both! It did work out well for me.

Cardgrrl said...

The ballet photos are really fun and interesting! In a previous life I photographed for a living, and I've never seen night-time dance shots like these before.

Cool!