Embraced Burlesque Show, Dark Lens (2/2/13)


On the 2nd February I photographed an impressive burlesque show at Newhampton Arts Centre, alongside Darren Key of Dark Lens, whereby we both covered the event. The show featured three burlesque performances from Talulah Blue, Nenedhel Absynthium and Pixie Amore, live music and a comedy act as well as various games and opportunities that allowed the audience to get involved in the show.

Daz and I sat at the front of the stage allowing us full access and view of the performances without capturing those in the audience. However, as we were that close to the stage it forced us to shoot from a low angle, which is evident in my final images. There wasn’t a lot of room to move around the stage as the venue was packed with seating areas and people. We were also prohibited from using flash during the performances, meaning I relied heavily on manual settings.

The centre and stage were extremely dark and the lights were variations of blue, purple and green. The blue lights definitely did not agree with the camera but this was fixed during editing. I used a Nikon D700 and wide-angle lens, which allowed for me to zoom in from a far and have more control over my settings. Due to the lack of light I set my ISO as high as possible and dealt with the inevitable grain. My F Stop was low and my shutter speed was set to 80.  The high ISO and low F Stop allowed for my light, which, worked effectively. Upon reflection I wish I had increased the shutter speed slightly in order to have captured the show and performers poses more sharply but overall, given the conditions of the venue the images came out fine.

Then the rain came down and I made a rookie mistake. I managed to photograph the first musician and the first set of burlesque performances from each burlesque dancer but missed photographing the rest of the show. Why? I was shooting on RAW, the largest format, which meant I used up my memory card after the first part of the evening. I didn’t have a spare memory card and should have set the format to JPEG or RAW + JPEG. Lesson learnt.

This aside I really enjoyed photographing the show. I’ve come to really like photographing live events because similarly to documentary photography, you are capturing something unraveling before you. I find it quite difficult to direct people and tell them how to pose but when photographing a performer or event, you simply capture what’s in front of you and choose the most poignant moments.

Editing became somewhat crucial in bringing these images to life. Due to the low light and the spotlights being the only source of highlight, I edited the images in order to fix the colours, shadows and highlights. I didn’t do much else as I wanted the images to be a raw and real representation of the event but editing the lighting allowed for the images to come through far more effectively.  Next time, I want to be more fussy what I capture to ensure I’ve covered the best bits indefinitely, instead of shooting everything which I did on this occasion. I want to plan what kind of shots I would want to gain, shoot on JPEG and or make sure I have more memory cards and use a higher F Stop if the venue allows so.

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