Ruth and Mike returned to Delft for a weekend workshop aptly named: The Return. I was invited to be the photographer and was very happy and excited to showcase blues dancing in my hometown.
The Friday evening party was held at the Boterhuis, a cafe in the old historic center of Delft with a good beer selection. The room we were in was quite sparse with plain white walls and only a few things to use as a background. On the other hand the white walls and roof allowed me to use my flash to get nice, soft lighting and make the photos interesting that way. One wall had some windows that gave a view from outside or just added some shapes in the background.
For the photo above I bounced the light off of the right wall to get a nice soft light but the orientation of the dancers still gave really dramatic shadows. You can also see the classic Rembrant portrait lighting scheme here with the triangle of light under her eye.
The classes were held in a gym hall with a bright blue floor and flourescent lighting above. This type of lighting usually doesn't color well on people and a gym is designed to be effective, not to look good so I had my work cut out for me. Fortunately the sky was covered in thin clouds and high up on one wall there was a row of large windows that gave the hall a very soft but directional light. The walls were a nicely textured neutral gray that helps make all the colors really jump out of the photo. With a long lens and minimal editing this produced a great photo.
Staying on the lighting theme the Saturday party was very challenging but also very exciting! We were in a back room of an out of the way bar with very nice atmosphere but it was quite dark. The interior had lots of interesting things hanging on the walls with couches, tables etc. which helped break down the background but above all the ceiling lamps were very cool. They made a super cool sunburst pattern of warm light over the whole room.
To preserve this great light I was not able to use too much flash as it would overpower the lamps. It was very tough to take pictures in this dark room but I am happy with the results as the backgrounds are very exciting and I was able to use the light to accentuate the dancers in some places and to compliment the photograph in others.