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Old 20th of May 2007 (Sun)   #1
DwightMcCann
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Default Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Some of you know that I shot "Little Ballerinas" this week. What I really shot was over 300 dancers, ages 5 to adult, doing a huge variety of dance styles, as part of the annual Los Olivos Dance Gallery's CENTER STAGE performance at the Solvang, California, Theaterfest. LODG is run by Maggie Mesikep, Artistic Director, and her husband Mike Mesikep, photographer, and they have been creating this annual event for thirteen years. It is quite spectacular and includes 42 separate dances. It has over the years grown into a community event with many sponsors and volunteers ... because practically every little girl in the valley is involved with "Miss Maggie".

While Mike shoots the girls most of the year, he is the technical director for the LODGCS and just can't shoot, too. So he has a volunteer staff of professional photographers who are also parents of dancers. Due to a tragic accident this year Mike's primary assistant photographer was unable to shoot ... her daughter, Liz Juarez, a student and dancer, left us for the Lord. As a result, Ashley Hopkins (Child and Pregnancy photographer) and I volunteered to photograph Center Stage 2007.

The series of images in this thread were shot with a 5D and 15mm fisheye lens mounted on a Magic Arm approximately 25 feet above the stage and fired remotely.

I have rambled enough so here are my "Eye in the Sky" images:

#1 The ballet girls warming up under the direction of Guest Artist Scott Pascal.


#2


#3 This dance, "MVPs", choreographed by Jessica Ruiz, was a basketball tribute. I am the only person sitting in an aisle, in the left of two aisles between the VOMs, on about the fourth step from the bottom with a light colored baseball cap and as always, in shorts with white socks.


#4 As a lark I tried shooting "between" a couple of the dances to see what I would get ... this is about a five second time exposure:


#5 This dance, title "Reaching", was a tribute and was danced "In Loving Memory of Liz Juarez." Choreographed by Jenny Giauque-Tingey, re-staged by Maggie Mesikep with music by Carolyn Arends. When I first watched this dance during dress rehearsal I had no idea what it was about yet I was moved to tears ... it was masterfully created and heart rendingly executed.


#6 I was fiddling again with shooting between dances and managed to catch these dancers moving onto the stage to perform "Chutes and Ladders" choreographed by Jessica Ruiz with music by Ok Go.


#7 Here is the final image in this series, the Final Bow, with dancers on stage and more moving in from the Voms to take the stage.


I shot 2700+ frames of the dancers. I hope to share more images taken from stage level but have to secure permission before publishing any images of the minor dancers ... although they were photographed by at least fifty amateurs, three professionals and professionally videotaped! We'll see when Maggie and Mike have recovered from the event itself!

EXIF and IPTC data is intact in all images. Don't hesitate to ask questions or make surly comments!

Last edited by DwightMcCann : 21st of May 2007 (Mon) at 23:59.
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #2
johnstoy
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Thumbs up Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

The venue has some resemblance to Shakespeare's Globe Theater... Wonderful atmosphere for performances...

While the ballet stage rehearsal looks very involved, the performance in # 2 looks like a breeze.
The basketball game in #3 is loaded with lots of action...Looks like a full house... and a winner for me...
The blue evening sky in #4, adds a touch of that evening at the theater feeling, with additional performances just starting for the night...
That's quite a large cast of performers on stage in #7...

#'s 4, 5, 6, and 7, also show the pleasant ambiance of the evening's events...

This series certainly sets us up, full of anticipation for the closer stage shots...
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Last edited by johnstoy : 21st of May 2007 (Mon) at 21:44.
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #3
René Damkot
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

#2 and 7 work best for me. Probabely because the dancers are in a (sort of) circle.
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #4
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Some nice variation even in the same composition. I think #3 and #6 work best for me, good movement captured in two different ways - stopping and showing the dancers motion. Hope to see the stage level shots soon.
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #5
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Is the stage level, or are there four risers? If the latter, the performers are meeting the multi-level dance challanges beautifully. If the former, it is an interesting illusion from the camera's eye.
Great shots, but what else would we expect?
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #6
DwightMcCann
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstoy View Post
The venue has some resemblance to Shakespeare's Globe Theater... Wonderful atmosphere for performances...

While the ballet stage rehearsal looks very involved, the performance in # 2 looks like a breeze.
The baseball game in #3 is loaded with lots of action...Looks like a full house... and a winner for me...
The blue evening sky in #4, adds a touch of that evening at the theater feeling, with additional performances just starting for the night...
That's quite a large cast of performers on stage in #7...

#'s 4, 5, 6, and 7, also show the pleasant ambiance of the evening's events...

This series certainly sets us up, full of anticipation for the closer stage shots...
Thanks, Young John ... the house is generally filled by relatives, of course! And it is reminescent of The Globe. It was kinda fun to see the changes as the sunlight dimmed from bright to nothing over about 4 hours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by René Damkot View Post
#2 and 7 work best for me. Probabely because the dancers are in a (sort of) circle.
Yup, there was nothing exceedingly dynamic to show ... we were particularly interested in seeing all the seating as well as the stage and I expect that had I used a longer lens on just the stage it might have been more interesting. As for lining up or circling, these are kids, no professionals, and some have only be "dancing" once a week for a few months ... like my five year old daughter!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owain Shaw View Post
Some nice variation even in the same composition. I think #3 and #6 work best for me, good movement captured in two different ways - stopping and showing the dancers motion. Hope to see the stage level shots soon.
It was a very interesting project to say the least ... similar to what I usually shoot in many ways (so I had the right equipment) but very different in many ways (so my shots got better over the three shoots I did.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by caljimw View Post
Is the stage level, or are there four risers? If the latter, the performers are meeting the multi-level dance challanges beautifully. If the former, it is an interesting illusion from the camera's eye.
Great shots, but what else would we expect?
The stage is flat. There are three tape lines on the stage to aid the dancers in lining up. Then there are three steps down the outside with tape on each edge to delineate the steps. Nobody fell down the steps but they came very close!
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #7
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

I needed to edit the Basketball from baseball, game activity...

It took me the better part of a week to convert, select/process 1600 RAW photos... How you're going to handle 2700 will be interesting...

What's also interesting is that I shot 1600 in 4 hours, bracketed in sets of three...and you shot 2700 in 4 hours bracketed in sets of 5...the ratio is somewhat consistent... What's interesting is that for me, the better pics come out of all three bracket ranges, just about equally...

I knew that it was tape on the floor...but later, after caljimw mentioned the steps, it looked more like the entire stage was in three or four main levels... Now, after you mentioned the steps being to the side, it all finally falls into place...

You probably remember that there is a "Globe Theater" replica in Connecticut... That's how I recognized it...

I'm certain your friends will appreciate the voluminous task you just took on and handled thoroughly... It can only mean more of their positive support for your business...
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Old 21st of May 2007 (Mon)   #8
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

John, I delivered the third and last CD of 800 pixels images to Mike today. He will select what he wants to go with images he did manage to shoot from his director's seat and images from the other shooter for a twenty minute segment of the DVD they produce where this resolution is adequate. Maggie will go through the images again to select the cream and I will burn the RAW files she selects for them to merge into other works they create.

We shared some almost tears about Liz Juarez ... mine about "Reaching" and his from love.

Just so you won't think I'm superman, all I did with my images was import into LightRoom and export as 800 pixel 85 percent jpegs ... every image even those accidentally shot of the floor or sky. But I did get permission to share them so I guess I will still have some long hours pulling a few and then long hours learn from Rutt what to do with them.

Do my friends, Maggie and Mike appreciate my contribution ... I can only say that they make EVERYONE feel very special, very much appreciated, very much needed, and very much loved. Yes, it is pretty clear we have reached out to each other and made a bond. And Lord knows I need all the bonding I can get after dealing with POTNers!

Last edited by DwightMcCann : 22nd of May 2007 (Tue) at 11:57.
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Old 22nd of May 2007 (Tue)   #9
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

For Me i love 6 and 2, Great Fish Eye Work Dwight, really nice (Different) Angle to usual, I Like alot.
Cheers
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Old 22nd of May 2007 (Tue)   #10
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

I hear you Dwight... Personally, I just started converting my RAW photos to JPG in bulk...

I run a slide show, while selecting the images with an assigned star rating... Just a few get individual treatment, while most everything else can be redone from RAW anyway, if needed...

Your routine is consistent, you can apply variations to it on an as needed basis... In this day and age, it's good to stay close to friends...

In younger years, this type of timely and potentially stressful work, might have lead to frustrations and complaints...

I think you guys are way past that and obviously, work well as a team...
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Old 23rd of May 2007 (Wed)   #11
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Lovely to see such a different view of the stage... I wonder whether...? no...

Anyway, full marks for having the idea of doing this - and I too am looking forward to the ones from the front

regards,
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Old 23rd of May 2007 (Wed)   #12
DwightMcCann
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

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Originally Posted by livewire-photography.com View Post
For Me i love 6 and 2, Great Fish Eye Work Dwight, really nice (Different) Angle to usual, I Like alot.
Cheers
Thanks! I got some fun backstage stuff as well as performance ... just no time to do anything with it yet, sigh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnstoy View Post
I hear you Dwight... Personally, I just started converting my RAW photos to JPG in bulk...

I run a slide show, while selecting the images with an assigned star rating... Just a few get individual treatment, while most everything else can be redone from RAW anyway, if needed...

Your routine is consistent, you can apply variations to it on an as needed basis... In this day and age, it's good to stay close to friends...

In younger years, this type of timely and potentially stressful work, might have lead to frustrations and complaints...

I think you guys are way past that and obviously, work well as a team...
I work well with everybody ... oh, um, you know better, eh? Well, I do good work but there is too much to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alan_potter View Post
Lovely to see such a different view of the stage... I wonder whether...? no...

Anyway, full marks for having the idea of doing this - and I too am looking forward to the ones from the front

regards,
/alan
Your first comment is too subtle for me Alan. And I don't get the marks for the idea, Mike was anxious to do it and had the idea ... I just had to climb up there and setup the camera and trigger the images.
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Old 23rd of May 2007 (Wed)   #13
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Sorry, I was just wondering if there are any local theatres that have somewhere in the flies that I could mount a camera.

regards,
/alan
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Old 24th of May 2007 (Thu)   #14
DwightMcCann
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Default Re: Dance: Los Olivos Dance Gallery Center Stage 2007

Aha, I understand! I've been considering mounting the 5D/Fisheye (or something else) in the lighting trusses directly above the stage at the casino. I expect this would not be allowed for most of the big talent but it's something I'll try to work in. Most places I shoot I have pretty open access to everything.
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