Flying Dance

Julia dancing my favorite set of the night...

Julia dancing my favorite set of the night…

    Capturing a dance recital for an semi-pro want to be like me is a lot of fun.  You get opportunities to capture artistic poses, action and if your lucky the drama of a performance all in one sitting.  This means the challenges range from simple to complex in the technical and composition aspects of shooting.  I categorize the main challenges as lighting, subject placement and choreography.

     If you are lucky you get a professionally lit performance.  The lighting in a professional show always follows the action and movement (or creates a special effect on purpose).  If you do not get a well lit show, you will find the active dancers in the dark.  This slows the autofocus times, and puts your subjects literally in bad light.  Bad light just ruins a good composition.

    Subject placement can also bedevil you.  If your favorite dancer is in the back, or obscured because they are the tall one, you will have a hard time getting the clear image.  Subject placement will also effect the quality of your autofocus system.  Objects appearing between you and your desired subject almost always cause the AF system to switch tracking to a near subject at the worst possible time.  

    Finally, the choreography will present the final challenge.  Disciplined performances and staff will make sure the spacing and marks are exactly placed on the stage and in the performers heads.  Leaps, spins, and other actions in the higher level groups and dance company will be precise.  For shows where you can one chance to get a photograph, you also want an identifiable rhythm between the music and actions on the stage.  This rhythm provides the photographer a predictable composition guide during the performance.

    With some practice, and luck, you will get shots you want to keep and post.  Up above here I have my girl in motion.  Face sharp as a tack, some motion in limbs and those around her let you know this was not a still life.  Such photos are possible with just about anything on the DSLR or Mirrorless market today.  Just takes some time to practice, and patience in post processing to make the most of what you get in camera.


P.S. This shot came from my Fujifilm XT-1 with the 18-15 F2.8-4 lens.  If I had another few hundred I’d use a 16-55 F2.8…but it is out of my budget right now.  And it was an odd location for the primes I had in my bag that night.

Honor thy mother!

The Holy Mother leads us always to her son Jesus Christ

The Holy Mother leads us always to her son Jesus Christ

    The greatest gift of motherhood, and femininity, is the the gift of building communities.  The most important community women form is their family.  In almost all homes, our mother teaches us the traditions we will remember into our adulthood.  It is to our mother that we cry when in need, or desire to share a success.

    It is no different that Catholics should turn to Mary as our Christian mother.  Mary dutifully spent everyday of her life working God’s will, and as a reward received God’s graces.  She carried Jesus to birth in her womb, guided Jesus through his youth, helped him start his ministry, and wept as his lifeless body came off the cross.  It was to Mary the angels first announced Christ’s resurrection, and then Mary became the mother of the early Christian community in Jerusalem.  In the tradition of King Solomon, Christ’s mother Mary became the Queen Mother of the church and heaven in due course of time.  Everything she did continued to lead others to the teachings of her son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

    In our domestic churches, mothers deserve no less respect and admiration.  In my home, my wife is the heart of the family.  After months of severe morning sickness, today she was able to spend great amount of time and energy with her children.  They responded to her voice, her requests, and felt her love anew.  It formed many wonderful new memories.  I found myself reminded of why I knew on our first date almost 18 years ago she would be a wonderful mother.

   So today I hope you were able to pray for and share a moment with all the mothers in your life.


P.S. Capture One Pro 8 is a wonderful editor….and one I find better each time I learn another trick!

The Recital

The little girl no more...

The little girl no more…

    Something happened on the way to her fourteenth birthday…see found grace, beauty, poise and calm.  You see here a little lady making her Daddy proud for her dedication to rehearsal, and making the most of every opportunity she gets to dance.  It is with gladness I see a strong Catholic woman growing before me, and sadness when I realize how fast my time with her is drawing to a close.  I also find touch of humor when I find a grey hair or two popping out after a night like tonight.  I just hope it means I will get a crown of glory like proverbs promises!


P.S.  Yes this was done on my Fujifilm X-T1.  Mirrorless has come a long way with autofocus and sensor tech.  It is still one of the few nights a year when I long for a 35mm sensor DSLR on a tripod with a good F2.8 lens….But after looking at this I really cannot complain…I got a few great shots and that is all I need.

Our Father…

    The “Our Father” is the perfect prayer since Christ himself taught it to us.  It is therefore so fitting we say it just before we approach the altar to receive communion.  I reminds us of the awesomeness of God, the reverence for his name, the greatness of his kingdom, the submission to his will required to be part of the kingdom on earth and in heaven.  The prayer then foreshadows the transubstantiation of Christ in the Eucharist by asking for our daily bread!  Finally it asks for forgiveness of our sins, and the openness we must have to forgive others who also come home to the Lord.  Why?  We are all sinners in a fallen world where temptation lurks everywhere.  We will all fall from time to time, and have a need to come back into the good graces of God.


PS  Sorry my thoughts are so jumbled this week.  I feel like I have a huge case of writers block!