I wish I had the time to pursue balboa more. Luckily there are socials here in Oslo that I can go to every now and again. The dance is much more elegant than any of the other swing dances. I feel that part of this elegance is expressed in the balboa dancer's shoes. It could just be me but do balboa dancers generally wear fancier shoes than other dancers? I want to find out.Read More
A small preview of the Chase Festival photos in the form of a sunset over Heidelberg! Heidelberg is a very pretty city and it has been preserved through all the wars. On the first night I was on my way to the venue and crossing the bridge the sun broke out under the clouds to bath the sky with brilliant orange rays of light. I was able to catch it and this is the result.
I'm currently in Edinburgh for a blues dance festival called The Spoonful. I am not the official photographer so I will probably not take too many photos and get as much dancing in as possible. It is nice to see the organizers paying a little bit more attention to the media and promotional side of things as they have a professional video team with two cameras, and also a guy walking around with a gyroscopically stabilized handheld camera. Of course they also have some studio lighting to help light the performances for the video. I am excited to see the performances when they come out.
To close out I would like to end with a colorful flower I found in Oslo last week. It was a cloudy day so the light was beautifully spread out and balanced. I was walking around town and had my camera with me (as I often do) and happened upon these small but really interesting flowers. I really like them because they have lots of details in them and have an exciting color gradient from the middle to the outside. I chose a shallow depth of field and looked for a composition with the same colors as the flower in the background.
I'm not sure what the flower species is so if you can tell me then please let me know in the comments below. Additionally I will be on the west coast of Ireland the coming two weeks so I don't know if I will have access to internet so I might not be able to blog for a while. I do intend to get some great pictures if the weather permits so hopefully that will make up for less blogging!
Spring has finally started to take a hold on Oslo and it's great. All the parks are full of people enjoying themselves, BBQing, and there are flowers everywhere so it's a treat to walk around town. I thought this would be a great opportunity to finally go and see the botanical gardens.
I went with my brother Daire and took the time to shoot some portraits. There are a couple I like but I especially like this one. The 'spy-glass' effect is actually created in camera by just using what I had with me. I bought a second hand Canon 24-85 f3.5-4.5 that is not manufactured anymore and it did not come with a lens hood. I find this annoying, not because the hood helps keep out lens fair etc but mainly for two practical reasons. The first is that if my camera is hanging at my side I would much rater have my hood bump into things than my lens. Secondly when grabbing my camera there is a much lower chance that I touch the front of the lens if I have a hood. That means that I can grab my camera faster because I don't have to worry about the orientation it is hanging at and can blindly go for it.
Seeing as the front element of the new lens has a similar size to another lens I had I tried the hood for that one and it fit! The only remaining issue is that the hood was built for a 70-200 and at 24mm you see mostly lens hood. In this case I really like the effect it creates and you can see the light distortion around the edges of the hood. I think that this would be really hard to do in post production so I'm happy I don't have to try :P
If you have other things that would create great effects in camera then leave a comment below and I'll try them :)
facebook.com/SeanBeardMoose - facebook link to my page. Don't forget to hit the like button.
Besides being one of the main organizers at Moose Blues this year I was also the designated photographer. This was both great and terrible at the same time. Great because I have creative control of the photographs and impressions of the weekend but terrible because organizing and running a festival is already a full time job so adding photography to that is obviously challenging.
One thing that I think is a great part of Moose Blues is the photo booth. The first year was a celebration of Norway with Norwegian flags, national costumes. etc. Last year the theme of the event was the Vikings! The photo booth had helmets, swords, shields, and viking cloaks. The props worked really well and I have to give mad props (pun intended) to everyone who helped with all the decoration (Unn Elise, Daria, Sunniva and Dag Are). This year the theme was trolls so we built a bridge, added some goats and had some wigs so people could be a troll. (If this is in any way confusing that's fine, you should have been there but there's always next year ;) )
As we had multiple layers where the people could be in the photograph this year the lighting was a bit trickier. I started with an umbrella as key light on camera left. You can clearly see this in the reflection of Dan's glasses. This was a great but the right side was a bit dark and the background was a bit too monochromatic. Next year we should make the background a bit more colorful or have a bit more interest. The pure white wall was not really the best idea in the end. To have some fill from the right side and have a bit more color in the shot I had a bare flash 90 degrees from the camera with a blue gel. I choose blue because it had some distinct color and there was already some blue in the shot.
This was nice but the tunnel under the bridge was very dark so I added my favorite light of these pictures. I had a bare flash rim light coming from behind the set. That really made the 'water' pop and really helped separate the subjects from the background.
All in all I was quite happy with the photobooth. Of course there are improvements to be made but those will be for next year. For one I want to include a broader range of colors in the set. You can see all of the photos on my facebook. If you have feedback on the photography grab me for a beer and I'd be happy to discuss it. Or discuss beer. Or philosophy. Or Whatever.
Leave a comment below if you have inspiration or ideas for next year's photobooth!
Moose Blues is over! And it was fantastic! I had a really great time seeing everyone enjoying themselves, learning and dancing until late at night :D
Moose Blues is very close to my heart because three years ago Francesca, Elin and I started it. When I moved to Oslo there was no blues dancing scene and I really wanted to have one. I befriended Elin and Francesca, who also loved blues so we banded together with the goal of building a fun, inclusive and sustainable blues dance scene. Over the past three years we have organized many smaller workshops and taught classes and tasters together to bring this dance to as many as we can but our crowning jewel is definitely Moose Blues.
Every year we aspire to bring you the best dancing, the best music and the best aspects of Norwegian culture we can. We're very proud of what we have accomplished and there are so many people around us who support us in bringing this festival forward. I really hope that next year we keep on going forward at the pace we have set. To use internet slang: I is hype!
Today I want to share some of the videos that I took during Moose Blues. Of course I recorded the teacher's introduction and their performances but it was also Ruth's birthday this weekend so I recorded her birthday jam too. On the troll adventure on Saturday Maren and Dag Are sang a beautiful Norwegian lullaby. These videos are bundled into a nifty playlist for your viewing pleasure :)
Providing live music this weekend was the amazing Dan Nash. This guy is incredible, he has been playing for the blues dance community for many years. I was shocked to search YouTube and found few good videos of his performances. Most are just bad phone videos, some have bad white balance and some are good but just boring. I thought this should change because this guy deserves to be heard and everyone deserves to hear him!
During the event I recorded most of his performance and made another playlist of those songs. I don't have all of them edited yet so come back later because the playlist will grow a lot!
I took almost all of the videos with my 14mm Samyang lens with it's characteristic super wide angle. This gives the videos a super cool exaggerated depth. Things that are closer are dispreportionately large and farther away is dispreportionately smaller. You can especially see this when people get close to the lens (Mike and Dan's performance comes to mind specifically). I'll do a review of this lens at a later point. Leave a comment below if you think I should do a blog post review with lots of examples or if I should do a video review.