Author Topic: Tango performance  (Read 813 times)

Mauricio Avila

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Tango performance
« on: February 07, 2018, 18:34:20 »
Hi all,

I started a project to photograph tango dancers. This images are my first attempt. I am in doubt about the focal length, I am looking to isolate the performers from the audience, not to blur completely the background, just to separate my subject. Light and aperture are my friends in this.

In the other hand, I would like to frame the dancers in landscape orientation, full body, to keep a documentary look and switch to portrait orientation just when they were to close to me. I am not allowed to change my position during the performance. I missed some shots for focus, this time I was looking for the DoF with 50mm @f2.

I used a flash, flagged and bounced to a wall behind me, just for the first song. Next time, in April, I want to shot without flash, wide open and AF-S with my 50mm 1.8D and see what speed I get.

Critique and comment are welcome, looking for hear from your experience about cons and pros of another focal length, maybe 85 1.4D, 105 2DC or stay with the 50mm and get a 1.4D.

Nikon F100
Kodak ultramax 400 @ 800
Nikkor 50mm 1:1.2 Ai @f2
SB-80DX TTL, flagged and bounced, 0 FEC
Distance to subject, between 3 to 9 meters.
Low resolution lab scan, pp with Snapseed, slightly cropped.

Tango dancers, Carlitos Espinoza and Noelia Hurtado.

Thanks for reading,

Mauricio


armando_m

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 21:42:23 »
Mauricio!

Very nice results , shooting dancer is all about capturing the right moment
and in my opinion you did exceedingly well on 1 and 2
#3 I think the dancers got to close and the form is not quite as attractive as the others

For this kind of shots I wouldn't be able to do it without auto focus, and also I would rely on the high ISO , and therefore high speed of my digital camera, so my hat off to you for obtaining this results with film and manual focus
Armando Morales
D800, Nikon 1 V1

Mauricio Avila

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2018, 03:27:42 »
Thank you Armando,

For your kind words. Yes, indeed, the focusing was very challenging. Been a tango dancer (amateur) myself helps a bit timing the shot  ;)
Next time I am going to evaluate the AF performance of the F100 and 50mm 1.8D combo. And see what speed I can get @ ISO 800.

Saludos,

Mauricio

RBSinTo

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2018, 21:00:00 »
Mauricio,
Tango is incredibly sensual, and I think you've captured the feeling especially well in the first photo.
My only suggestion would be to crop out most of the background to our right of the dancers, to eliminate the incredibly annoying persons with the cell phone and camera.
Robert
I shoot with film. That's film. F...i...l...m. You remember film. It was in all the papers.

golunvolo

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2018, 23:29:16 »
That´s a good work specially considering your gear. I find it very limiting for a job already hard to do. I have listened to your point of view and will use a 24-70 2.8 to get more flexible if your position is fixed. Afs is a much better choice and you can always go back to manual if prefered.

  Shutter speed between f2 and f2.8 at that focal length is not as critical as framing and focus are. Both will be considerable easier.
 
   I think the first one is closer to your explained goal. You captured a beautiful and sensual line in her body and the whole works very well. Separation by light i like a lot and you can darker a bit the background to accentuate it if you want to try.

   For me the last one works best but that is just personal preference and it moves closer to the way I see tango.

   Looking forward to more of your work. Thanks for sharing!

 

   
 

Erik Lund

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 09:59:58 »
Emotional captures,,,

Due to the very mixed lighting and grain I would definitely process these as B&W and next time shoot on B&W film

Regarding dof, you will need to move in closer to isolate the subject more imho
Erik Lund

Mauricio Avila

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 17:46:41 »
Appreciate your comments,

@Robert, I am looking to isolate the subject by using a larger focal length. I agree with you about the annoying green bags and cellphones in the background. I tried to crop some images but as a result the frame changed from 3:2 to 1:1 and I did not like it.

@Paco, I get your point about the 24-70 2.8. The zoom flexibility at framing is something I have not experienced yet.

@Erik, next time, in April, I will shoot with color and black and white. Specially b&w if I get a 2.8 zoom to shoot HP5 Plus @ 1600.

Thanks for reading.

Saludos,

Mauricio


RBSinTo

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2018, 05:41:25 »
Mauricio,
The background figures to our right are closer to you and thus are more in focus than those persons to our left of the dancers, which is another reason to crop most of them out. The persons to our right tend to be more distracting than those more out of focus on our left.
Robert
I shoot with film. That's film. F...i...l...m. You remember film. It was in all the papers.

Mauricio Avila

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2018, 06:48:55 »
Hi Robert,

I think I got your point, just cropped the right side of the original first image, what do you think ?

Saludos,

Mauricio


RBSinTo

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 11:44:31 »
Mauricio,
Gracias.
For me, this composition is much better.
Robert
I shoot with film. That's film. F...i...l...m. You remember film. It was in all the papers.

Akira

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 11:56:15 »
Hi, Mauricio, the cropped version looks much better to me, too.

Considering that the tango dancers' movements are very agile and chasing them and nailing focus with such a challenging lens like 50/1.2, these results are impressive.

I also like the effect of the characteristic hue of a color negative film which looks very appropriate for the nostalgic and melancholic feel of tango.
"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

Mauricio Avila

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2018, 02:58:04 »
Robert, Akira,

Thank you for your kind words. The more I see it, the more I like the square framing. Previously I was doing the "wrong" version placing the subject in the middle of the frame.

Saludos,

Mauricio

paul_k

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2018, 19:28:26 »
Happens I took some pictures at a multiple dance disciplines event at the Hallen in Amsterdam,
where one of the performers was a local tango school Tangotalks

Have shot dance way back in the early 80's http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/jazz_1982
Apart from the fact it was on film, I, since there were no AF camera's around yet at that time,
basically used completely different gear then you did
(F2AS, FE, manual focus 2/28mm AI, 1.4/50mm AI, 2/85mm Ai, Tri-X pushed ISO 800+)

As you can see from those images. lighting was pretty awful ( fluorescent tubes on the ceiling)
so I have to perform all kinds of developing and printing tricks to get usable negatives and
somewhat presentable prints

Since the lighting at the Sunday event was equally atrocious (daylight top lighting  from ceiling windows,
any black possible bottom reflection light absorbing floor, mixed daylight - from what ever came from above -
and tungsten fill) as well I decided to go 'creative' and make something out of a potential disaster
 
As I still love the contrasty b/w Tri-X look from those 80's pictures mentioned above, I threw all 'rules' out of the windows
and tried to emulate that look with my D800, using good old Nikon Capture NX2, with a lot of shadow recovery, added contrast,
and pre 'B/W filter' conversion color manipulation (and creating an excuse for the 'bad' post processing along the way  ;) )

Anyway, as I used a few lenses similar to the ones you consider, here are some of my results
a nearly full frame shot with a 1.4/58mm AFS, a heavily cropped (about 20% of a shot taken in the same wide, horizontal mode as the other 58 mm shot, and for comparison a 1.4/85mm AFD full frame shot

Please be gentle with me for the way I badly processed them, it's just to illustrate the sharpness/back
ground separation I got using a 1.4/58mm AFS (a bit similar to that of a 1.4/50mm AFD nearly wide open, have
one as well so know the 'look' of that lens)

Mauricio Avila

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2018, 08:46:36 »
 Paul,

Thank you for share your images, I like the look and angles of your film pictures, that suggest me an opportunity to use the 28mm at close range for the tango performance.

I appreciate the comparison between the 58mm and the 85mm, the subject separation from the background is evident.

Seems to be a good time to get a 24-70 2.8 and exploit the zoom flexibility, from wide to short tele.

Saludos,

Mauricio

paul_k

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Re: Tango performance
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2018, 15:09:55 »
Paul,

Thank you for share your images, I like the look and angles of your film pictures, that suggest me an opportunity to use the 28mm at close range for the tango performance.

I appreciate the comparison between the 58mm and the 85mm, the subject separation from the background is evident.

Seems to be a good time to get a 24-70 2.8 and exploit the zoom flexibility, from wide to short tele.

Saludos,

Mauricio

Hi Mauricio

I have used a 28mm for dance images I shot in the 80's, in particular during a 'flamenco' rehearsal
Used the PoV to an advantage as I was, since I had visited the rehearsal before during other rehearsals,
allowed to get very close up, next to standing among the dancers

Since I unfortunately constantly get an 'Error message' when I try to upload the images to illustrate the above,
I'm obliged to hereby enclose the location links instead, sorry
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/61349191
http://www.pbase.com/paul_k/image/61349195

That said, in my experience it's not a very useful focal length since, if you can only shoot 'from the sidelines',
you'll very likely risk getting way to much surroundings (in your case maybe audience/the venue where the
dance is held) too sharp in the picture

That is the same reason why I prefer to use primes, in particular the ones I used for the images in my previous post, rather then a short zoom.
Yes, the flexibility of a zoom is a huge advantage from a practical standpoint (I have several of them myself I gladly use for 'bread and butter' photography) but from an image rendering standpoint, it IMO is by far inferior (and I don't mean 'sharpness' or contrast') to eg a 1.4 58mm or 50mm, a 1.4/85mm AFD, or 2/135mm DC

Although IMO the latter focal length is a bit too long for shooting dance unless your subject stays a long way away from you and the venue is large enough . Initially had it on one of my bodies during the last Sunday shoot, but soon swapped it for a shorter lens
The dancers were simply too often too close to me to be able other then a close up with the 135mm, apart from the fact that as I was shooting almost wide open, getting things in focus combined with the very small DoF was pretty challenging

HTH

Paul