Friday, April 25, 2008
Most countries have somewhere where they put on a dinner dance and show featuring indigenous dancing. The biggest challenge is how to photograph these events and keep them looking natural.
The best way to kill any atmosphere is to use your flash. That harsh, horrible white light just destroys any ambience. So that means you're going to need a faster ISO (I almost said film speed but then realised that probably none of you are shooting film anymore!) to keep your shutter speeds nice and fast to stop any motion.
Another good way to stop motion is to aim for a lull in the dance, when people aren't moving as much. Here, even though I was using 400ISO film, many of the shots were quite artistically blured because of the fast movement of the dancers. (Remember if you stuff up - it's art. Whenever you take a bad photo - it's art.) Where was I? Oh yeah, lulls in movement. I waited until the dancer paused and looked up at the ceiling and snapped away.
The show was under tungsten lights and I had daylight film in the camera, hence the slightly yellowish glow. I did some other shots with tungsten film and although the skin tones look more natural, the overall scene looked too 'blue' for my taste. Of course with digital shooting Jpeg you can do all that with the white balance. Even better, shoot RAW and just process it to your taste afterwards.
Shooting under these sort of conditions is always pretty hit and miss. You never know what you're going to get - or even if you're going to get anything at all. But it's great fun trying. Just remember to turn your flash off, bump up your ISO and wait for lulls in the action and great people photos are yours for the taking.
By the way, this picture was taken in the Cook Islands during my honeymoon! Who says men aren't romantic. Don't all people work during their honeymoon? Sorry honey. But you know I'm a photography addict. It was taken with a 70-200mm zoom set on 200mm and wide open at f2.8. I didn't have my tripod so my wife let me lean it on her shoulder. Now that's what I call an understanding partner. :)
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
A farewell photograph and it was time to move on to the next destination. I hope you enjoyed our in-depth coverage of the Taj and I hope it has given you some ideas of how to cover your own travel destinations.
Next time we'll get back to our regular channel!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The sun is well and truly on its way down. The Taj itself is already in twilight but the last rays of the setting sun are still hitting the main entrance gate. It may not be the main attraction but is still incredibly beautiful in any light, this light in particular.
You can still see people milling about, reluctant to leave this little piece of paradise. The people at the bottom of the frame are conveniently wearing white saris which stand out against the shadowed area in the foreground.
A silhouetted palm tree tells you that it isn't exactly cold and there's a lovely shadow running down the middle of the door arch, giving it shape and texture.
Speaking of door arches...
Foreground frames are the perfect example of this, especially in travel photography. They need to tell you something about the location.
It's no good just having any old door frame to put around the Taj Mahal. If it had been a rectangle wooden jobby I would have let the shot go. But because it has that lovely Arabic curve and shape to it it tells you something about the style of architecture.
Here I took an exposure reading off the sky itself to render the doorframe a deep shadowy silhouette. I can actually pull detail out in Photoshop but it doesn't have anywhere near the impact that it does as a silhouette.
So keep an eye out for things that you can use as picture foreground frames - but just remember if they don't contribute something to the picture they're not worth having.
Tomorrow will be the last post in the Taj series and I'm going to show you a couple of shots that I'm pretty sure you will never have seen before. Hint: they weren't taken from inside the Taj complex. :)
Monday, April 21, 2008
Next time we're just about to head out the gates for the last time, but will grab a couple of shots as we head out the door. :)
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Anyway after I posed for a photo with every one of them I couldn't resist asking for a photo of my own. Photography 101 says I most probably should have turned them around so that the Taj was behind them and gave a sense of place to the photo but they were so shy about being photographed, and so about to head for the hills that I had to grab a photo quickly before they changed their mind.
So even though the background isn't perfect it's another story building image. Rural Indians travelling great distances in their finest clothes to see one of their national treasures. You can almost see the words 'shy' written in big letters across their foreheads but also see how proudly they're dressed, and even though they're all frowning formally for the portrait you still get a sense of how happy they are to be there all together.