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

Blip 11 - Ballet

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.

18 Responses to “Blip #11 – Laurretta Summerscales”

  1. You know how much I love this. It needs to be printed and framed.

    Posted by Kirsten Mavric
  2. Art. The Art of Dance, and the Art of the Image. Love it.

    Posted by Jim
  3. So this what 5000ISO on D4 looks like !!!!!! ;)………….. Nice Shot Bud…..

    Posted by Indranil Mukherjee
  4. I second what Kirsten said. Beautiful shot.

    Posted by Kris
  5. @Kirsten – Done. It’s time for a change of prints!

    @Jim – Thanks mate

    @Indranil – Ha! Yup, it held up brilliantly. :)

    @Kris – Thanks Kris!

    Posted by tabascokid
  6. Betcha were grinning when you were wiring! – Top frame 😉

    Posted by Ant
  7. Go with the flow..! A stroke of genius. That is one delicious image.

    Posted by Tim
  8. This is amazing. Good job.

    Posted by Lukas
  9. @Ant – Maybe. Just a little. 😉

    @Tim – Thanks bud!

    @Lukas – Cheers. That’s very kind of you.

    Posted by tabascokid
  10. Shame can’t view it full screen, love the splash of colours. Definitely worth checking out the link you provide for a great set of photographs – the leaping Japanese dancer is stunning as well.

    Posted by Olivier
  11. Cheers. I would show them larger here and ideally without a watermark but I have to have some level of control over them. In a world where I didn’t think they’d be nicked, I’d have every frame on here so full screen, you’d need monitor extensions… :)

    Posted by tabascokid
  12. Great idea – If you can’t go fast, then go slow. That’s great thinking.

    I love the way the colours flow. Well Done.

    Posted by Craig Shepheard
  13. I quite like your spinning ballerina as well , that was a great idea ! as their heads ‘spots’ giving the clarity where needed .
    I’ve been told to try slowing down the odd frame for effect but really don’t have the courage .
    Love the gallery pics .

    Posted by Ray Fothergill
  14. @Craig – Cheers. It’s good to know my brain works when I really ask it to! :)

    @ – The joy of digital is that there’s no reason to be scared to experiment. Go for it!

    Posted by tabascokid
  15. Inspired (both as in “I am” and “this is”). Spectacular.

    Posted by James Berry
  16. @James – Cheers!

    Posted by tabascokid
  17. Brilliant capture in the manner of Ernst Haas

    Posted by Andrew Jones
  18. @Andrew Thanks very much!

    Posted by tabascokid

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