A Wider Angle: August 2012, by Geoff Dickinson
In one of my last pieces I recall mentioning that this year my photo projects have either been off or on. And when they have been on I mean ON.
Every other year, in early August, I am “volunteered” by the powers that be in the Creative Arts Department at Hamilton Girls High School (namely Joanna) to photograph the joint production with Boys High. I have to say this is hardly an imposition because I get as much of a buzz out of performing arts photography as I do out of sport.
It’s a real technical challenge. The light is constantly shifting position and changing colour and intensity. A smoke machine fuzzes things up a bit and there are rapidly moving targets which make good composition hard to achieve. Throw in a few “can you make sure get a few shots of so and so” and the pressure is on. But as ever, a bit of thought and pre planning reaps rewards. The go ahead at the final dress rehearsal to “get in there and shoot” meant I could get close up shots of the musicians and singers which I could never do during the actual performance. All I had to do was attach my favourite, lightweight, in your face, pull you into the action, ultra wide angle 10mm f2.8 lens, open it wide and get in there to give the viewer an aspect they would not see during the show. My favourite shot is of the drummer in full flow with the halo of light round his head.
As for the dancing, well, a prime spot on the front row by the stage is always a good start. Photography is as much about learning an interesting subject as anything. I don’t have a note of music in me and know as much about choreography as I do about the back of the moon. However watching the dancers, listening to a well known song (“In The Mood”) and seeing dance patterns emerge and you start to get a feel for what’s coming next. All of which meant I managed another of my shots from the show which I quite like.
As I write this there is still the final show to do tonight and with the key shots in the bag it is time to push the photographic envelope a bit with some “will they-won’t they work shots” from back stage.
See you around. Geoff