Blip #11 – Laurretta Summerscales
UNITED KINGDOM, London : English dancer Laurretta Summerscales takes part in a photo-call ahead of the “Emerging Dancer 2013″ competition final at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in central London on March 4, 2013. The competition is now in its fourth year and will pick one of six English National Ballet School graduates to become Emerging Dancer 2013. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal
Covering ballet can often be a bit of a challenge as the venues are infamously dark. We’re talking seriously dark. 5000ISO at f2.8 dark. This is fine for theatre and plays as you can wait for the actor to pause, hold a breath or generally stand still. The same can’t be said for ballet. Invariably, at least half of the interesting poses and shapes happen as the dancer leaps through the air, flicks their leg above their head or spins on the spot. Now considering that you’re going to be pushing your camera to the limits to get 320th/sec, you’re going to struggle to freeze much of the action. The lighting situation wasn’t helped last night as the dancers were being put off by bright fill lights from the side of the stage so were constantly asking for them to be dimmed. As the lights dimmed, the photographers began to giggle in frustration.
After managing to catch a few nice moments and poses, I started playing with longer exposures, lengthening the time more and more as I finalised my ideas on what I was hoping to catch. Realising that there were certain moments where the dancer held a position, I realised that if I could book-end a long exposure with two of these moments, it would provide cleaner edges to very long exposures. In the end, I settled on three seconds and watched for repetitions that would fill this exposure. Thankfully, I found a few that did the job nicely with the shot above being one of my favourites. Others can be found on this online gallery.