The finale of the Diwali celebration in Austin is the dancing. Though visually not as showy as the sparklers and fireworks, I enjoy it for entirely different reasons. It’s fun to watch people dance, especially one that seems exotic from a western perspective. However, I find it extremely difficult to photograph because it’s dark and fast-moving. Thus a worthy challenge. Both from a technical perspective but also to adequately capture the feel of the activity.
I’ve deployed a number of cameras for the task over the last three years, including the Olympus PEN-F and the full-frame Canon 6D. Ironically, this snapshot, which I made with a rather primitive camera, is my favorite. It’s the same eight-year-old Olympus XZ-1 which I used for yesterday’s photo essay.
Why do I like it so much? It has the right amount of blur to suggest motion. However, remarkably, while the limbs are nicely blurred, most of the faces are rather sharp. I also like the dramatic lens flare from the light. Finally, the expression of the dancers and the spacing of them seems just about right.
There was a lot of luck involved, so I can’t claim any great skill. Much trial and error, actually. The title of the post is not hyperbolic, I did actually take one hundred photos of this dance, and selected this one frame that just happened to turn out right.
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