With April here it was time once again to head to the Empress Ballroom at the Winter gardens in Blackpool. We had the probably the best journey down that we have ever had at 5 hours which was almost spoilt when we realised my wife had booked our hotel for the wrong weekend! The very friendly owner at the Carlton put us on to some friends of his and managed to sort us out a room. Phew! The IDTA Nationwide medallist of the year competition is on my calendar every year for one reason, my wife and two children both compete in, along with a lot of our friends and their children whom we met at our local dance school.
I had an ulterior motive for photographing the event this year. While I do simply enjoy it and providing images for friends they would not be able to get very easily on their own I also wanted to test a new camera prior to shooting one of my more normal wedding jobs. As a result I shot way more than I should have done, amassing over five and half thousand images taking up 110 Gigabytes of data by the end of the second day! Putting that into perspective that’s more than I would normally shoot over 5 weddings! When I got back I realised I was going to have to be ruthless in the initial edit and culled the images down to just over three thousand. It was simply too many for people to wade through!
As always, publicity never hurts a business, so if you like the images, please like and share on Facebook! Speaking of publicity, all of these dancers are from Diamond Dancecentre in Farnborough, proof of what a really great dance school they are.
Link to all of Images below. Note these will be deleted on the 27th April 2017- Apolologies they are taking up about 12 Gigabytes of space! I will keep a copy on my PC at home if you need them after that date.
A few of you with your own cameras ask occasionally what settings I use.
This time I used the auto ISO sensitivity feature and set it to maintain a minimum shutter speed of 1/250th of a second. The Aperture was set to F4, which is the fastest that lens will actually do.
With regards to AF settings usually I put it on continuous drive mode and use the 3D tracking for dancing. This time however I tried a couple of different settings as these were all new features I had not had before. Group AF worked ‘OK’ certainly better than single focal point but was a bit limited in Latin when the couples would dance apart as the focus points would sometimes be in the middle and focus on the back wall. My favourite AF mode was the new ‘Auto’ area with face detection. This locks on to the subjects face, something it was very difficult to do with 3D tracking as the dancers move so quickly. It was only useful when in front of the crowd or above however, from the back of the room if somebody stood up in front they would grab the focus of the camera.
Metering was a mix of centre weighted (to allow for the lights behind the dancers and matrix with face priority. Both were ‘OK’ but easily fooled by dark dresses or light dresses just like any other camera meeting. Next time I’m planning to walk around the room beforehand with my handheld light meter and see if the lighting is even enough to just set manually from an incident rather than a reflected light reading.
White balance was set manually. This is what stops that horrible purple cast everybody seems to be getting. I realised I forgot my expodisc I usually use to set an accurate custom reading so I simply set the White Balance to Kelvin and set the value to 5850K. When I got back home this turned out to be pretty much spot on, but I needed to adjust the tint to -71 in order to counter that horrible purple cast.
Please note in the upload I have reduced the images down from 24 megapixels to just 8.5 megapixels. This is big enough to get a good quality 12″x8″ print. Diamond dancers and parents of diamond dancers, please feel free to download your images and use as you wish for non-commercial use.
I’ve split the images up by Day, initially I have just posted Saturday’s images with Sunday’s still to follow. This may take a while as I’m out shooting at the weekend with the Air Training Corps.
Finally, apologies if I’ve missed anybody. It’s a 10 hour day when the little ones and the wife is competing and sometimes you just need a break! Check for Sunday’s images when I post them.