The Stage Lights Are Calling - Or What's A Fella To Do?

on September 23, 2015

Well, it's the old bump and grind this weekend. Three hours of colour, movement, and loud music. And I'm going to be out the front with a camera.

No, not the burlesque. That's not my beat - though I have seen some dynamite shows here in Perth and some very good publicity, event, and art shots taken by the photographers who specialise in this. I'll be at a hafla - a belly dancing show held at a suburban school.

The school isn't just your regular local primary - the Saturday venue is a pretty swish one that takes in private-school money. And spends it on their theatre facilities, I might add. The main performance space and seating is very professional - more so than many public venues. They have good lighting, good lighting control, and good sound - and a large enough stage to make a real production.

I'll set a fixed camera with radio wireless control to capture full-stage shots from the mezzanine ( They have a mezzanine! ) and roam the aisles and floor with a large-aperture Fujifilm lens on my X-Pr01. The high ISO capability and the big aperture should allow enough shutter speed to stop much of the motion.


But the lighting plan can sometimes be highjacked by a temptation to use too much colour - if there are gels on a lot of the floods and spots they sometimes run a whole number under pools of red, yellow, and orange. Then blue in the background and green as a follow spot. Add to this the fact that the costuming can be very colourful to start with and it gets a little out of hand.

Don't get me wrong - Bollywood can never be too bright. Or too bouncy. Bollywood makes you feel happy no matter what. But some of the other dances need mood and it can be hard to make someone look sexy if she is lit up in Tiger Moth Training Yellow - complete with roundels...

I am hoping that they tone down the gels and concentrate on more of the white lighting. It's no good trying to get a custom WB when the business can change so fast between one minute to another - I might as well put it on Auto and go from there.

Shoot RAW or jpeg? Well, what the hell. Fujifilm jpegs are all I could ever want and the exposure will be right if I use spot metering on the individual figures - then the black stage does not influence the equation. The X-pro1 writing jpeg and RAW would be slower than the dance requires. It'll be jpegs. Lotsa jpegs.

After the first three big production numbers I go deaf anyway so why not.

Uncle Dick