Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Take Two ... a second time.

I had the opportunity to shoot the Take Two dance show this past Saturday night. It was my second time shooting, and as always, the dancers put on a great show which led to some fun shots. 2 hours, small theatre, 400 shots. I was being picky about my shots, only using the 8 fps of my camera on a few occasions.

A bit of history... last year around this time, my friend Didier asked me to shoot a dance show with him. Having never really done it (neither of us) we were up for the challenge. Take Two is a local group that raises just enough money each year to put on 1 dance show. They are all graduates of a high school dance program, and some of the older graduates decided to form Take Two. Great initiative, so I'm all for supporting them via photography.

It is funny how much we can grow or change in a year of doing a hobby. I remember when we showed up last year, we were all focused (no pun intended) on the settings of our cameras and where we would shoot from. Didier had showed up early and taken shots during rehearsals so we could know what we were facing in terms of light and exposure. He had a list of routines the group was doing, with the number of dancers per routine so we could prepare our lenses ahead of time, or at least have an idea of what was coming up. Yeah, I know, totally over prepared, but when you are new at something, always better to be over prepared than under prepared! I was shooting with an XSI, had 4 lenses with me and ended up taking about 700 shots.

Fast foward 365 days later. We meet up again at the same place. Instead of his huge assortment of lenses, he has a 50mm f/1.4. I brought along three lenses, two of mine and a third that I rented and was considering buying, but wanted to compare to my current lens. I had a 10-22mm, 28-75mm and a 24-70mm (the renter). Aaaaanyways. We chatted a bit about how it was last year and laughed at ourselves. The plan this time around? Do whatever. We each went to one side of the stage to ensure max close ups of the dancers on either side, but that was pretty much it. The shoot went fine, had a great time. While I shot half as many images this year, I had more keepers and spent less time processing, which in my eyes, is the way to go. I was happy to have rented the 24-70 instead of buying it. It is way more expensive than my current lens, similar image quality and sharpness, but a faster auto focusing. Not worth the extra coin.

So looking back, after a year of shooting, my thought process while shooting has something changed. I tried out some thing with my wide angle lens and love the results. And while I had some great shots from last year, I had some interesting shots this year.

Click here for a link to the set of images from this year, and here for the set of images from last year (both links point to the respective flickr sets).

These first two images are where I was playing with a wide angle

And some of my other favorites from the show:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Real Deal

A few weeks ago a friend of mine was playing a gig down in Vermont. She is the singer for a really funky band called The Real Deal. They are based in Vermont and play a great set of classic R&B, soul and rock songs. They know how to get the crowd up and dancing. Check out their website.

While the show as in a bar, it had somewhat decent lighting. Got most of these shots using a 50mm 1.8 @ ISO 2000. It was a fun challenge trying to make my way around the dancing crowd to get into good shooting angles.

The rest of the weekend was spent camping out in Little River State Park, near Williston in Vermont, spending some great time with great people.

You can check out the full set on my flickr, and here are a few of my faves from the evening.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Got to love great customer service

You wonder why you pay extra for name brand things? Sometimes, the generic or house brand works just as fine, but I have found that as a general rule for photography equipment, buying the name brand is worth it.

While I own a third party lens (Tamron) which I have enjoyed, I have always stuck to name brand accessories for stuff like my memory cards (Sandisk), tripods / monopods (Manfrotto), camera bags (Lowepro) and so on.

I have had 4 Lowepro bags and never had any issues with them. Great quality, fit what I was looking for at the time. I recently lost a strap for my Lowepro Primus backpack, the little strap that holds the tripod in place. I have been using a velcro thing in its place which kind of does the job.

So I decide to email Lowepro to see how much a replacement strap would be and where I could purchase one from. I get a next day email asking me for my full name, address and phone number so that they may ship me a new strap. Next day, I get a confirmation that they have sent the strap Express Post.

I wasn't fishing for a freebie, I lost it and was prepared to pay for a new one. But yeah, that is what customer service is about. Seems that customer service is the thing of the past, mainly due to big box stores like Best Buy and Futureshop taking consumers for a ride, but its great to see some companies, like Lowepro, not only make great products, but back it up with great service.

Just thought I would share, as we often don't read about good stories, we only hear the bad.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More urban goodness

Haven't updated in a while, so thought I'd throw this up. Reneau (fellow photography enthusiast extraordinaire) and I went out for a few hours after work and walked around an area of Montreal near Prince Arthur street. It was a really nice evening, not too warm, not too cool. Too bad the sky was cloudless, would of made for some fun images.

The area is really nice, very typical Montreal. Prince Arthur is a pedestrian only street, full of outdoor terraces, cute little houses, and plenty of visual goodness.

I hadn't taken a photo walk in a while and it felt good to just head on out, take some shots, and shoot the photography shiz.

Here are a few images from the walk. If you want to see more of my urban and city shots, you can check out my flickr set.

Feel free to leave a comment :)