dance

I was asked to shoot the Ann Arbor Valentines Dance. I split my time between the white seamless photo studio downstairs and the dance floor upstairs. Composition wise, this photo is a bit of a mess, having accidentally cut off limbs while trying to capture this photo. I certainly wasn’t expecting this dip, and judging by the expression on the follow’s face, neither was she. Not only that, it appears that the lead was surprised by the follow’s surprise, resulting in a cascade of hilarity that makes this one of my favorite social dance images of the night. Photo shot with a Nikon D7200 equipped with a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 and a Nikon SB-900 speedlight.

Some dance photographers are passive observers. Then you have photographers like me, who… aren’t. It’s no secret that I get up close to the dancers I photograph, and occasionally encourage/goad/cheer on fellow dancers. This is one my favorite dance photos. Notice that everyone else is standing around. Why? Because the song ended 10 seconds ago. I spotted this dip, trained my camera on the pair, and simply kept shooting and shooting. Without moving the camera, I moved my head away from the viewfinder and gave the lead an evil grin as he struggled to keep the dip going, eventually nearly dropping his follow on the floor. The laughs I got from the lead and the follow are what make this image for me. Photo shot on a Nikon D700 with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

I had heard that there were going to be swing dancers dancing to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Detroit Jazz Festival, but upon arrival, I could only find a single friend sitting in the stands. After listening to a song or two, I decided that sitting around and listening to this awesome music wasn’t enough, dragging said friend down to the space directly in front of the front seats and before the stage and dancing some ballroomin’ blues in front of a crowd of a few hundred people. At the end of our dance, not only had we drawn out the swing dancers that had been dancing in a hidden, secluded spot of the auditorium, but we also inspired many others in the crowd to come on down and join us for the dance party. Here we have two attendees really getting in the swing of things. I think the picture was shot with my Nikon F100 and a 24mm f/1.4 on Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

I had heard that there were going to be swing dancers dancing to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band at the Detroit Jazz Festival, but upon arrival, I could only find a single friend sitting in the stands. After listening to a song or two, I decided that sitting around and listening to this awesome music wasn’t enough, dragging said friend down to the space directly in front of the front seats and before the stage and dancing some ballroomin’ blues in front of a crowd of a few hundred people. At the end of our dance, not only had we drawn out the swing dancers that had been dancing in a hidden, secluded spot of the auditorium, but we also inspired many others in the crowd to come on down and join us for the dance party. Here we have two swing dancers dancing to the band, with the Renaissance Center in the background. I think the picture was shot with my Nikon F100 and a 24mm f/1.4 on Kodak Tri-X 400 film.

I brought along a set of Alien Bees B800 strobes, a roll of white paper, and several white glossy boards in the back of my Ford Focus hatchback and traveled to Terre Haute, Indiana for Rose-Hulman’s Winter Gala dance. I set up a studio outside the dance hall in the lobby and tried to shoot white seamless for the very first time, relying on the stuff that I had read from Zack Arias. After a bit of a rocky start, I finally was able to get a series of decent shots going. Thankfully, the swing dancers that I shot were more than accommodating to my stumbles. Towards the end of the night, I decided to ask someone to stand behind the camera and take a shot of me. Photo shot on a Nikon D7000 with a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, with a trio of Alien Bees B800 studio strobes triggered by Pocket Wizards.

I went to a New Years Dance party in Chicago back in 2012. Literally just weeks prior, I had taken delivery of a trio of Alien Bees studio strobes and spent an evening putting together a “portable” white seamless setup. I brought the setup to the dance party and set it up out in the hall, if I recall correctly. After some serious stumbling around for an hour, I finally got into the grove enough to shoot pictures that weren’t completely terrible. Being that today is the New Year, I thought it appropriate to share this image, taken moments after we rang in the new year, 2012. Photo shot with a Nikon D7000, a Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom lens, and a trio of Alien Bees B800 strobes triggered by Pocket Wizards.

Why drag someone on to the dance floor when you can saunter on to it like a boss? I took this picture at Ann Arbor’s Friday Night Swing Holiday Dance, with the Aston Neighborhood Pleasure Club jazz band providing the live music. Picture this: the dance floor is empty, and the band begins playing their next song. These two are the first to step on the dance floor. I spot this confident stroll from across the room, grab my camera, and sprint across the length of the empty dance floor, raising the camera to my eye as I come to a sliding stop in my leather soled dance shoes in front of their path. They start laughing, as I’m sure this all looked ridiculous. Snap. Picture taken on a Nikon D7200 with a Tokina 14-20mm f/2.8 and a Flashpoint R2 speedlight.

Two dancers in close embrace during a Friday Night Swing social dance in downtown Ann Arbor. I love the grainy grittiness that this photo exhibits, thanks to the fact that it was shot on classic Tri-X film. I’m pretty sure that the film was developed at the box speed of 400; the dancers are well-exposed because as the resident local swing dance photog, I had the privilege of being able to bounce my flash at nearly full power off the low white ceiling. Photo was shot with a Nikon F100, a 24mm f/1.4 lens, and a SB-600 speedlight on Kodak Tri-X film.

My friend Angela and I decided to celebrate our nation’s birthday by going to Canada during the 4th of July weekend, heading to Montreal where the Swing Riot took place. I brought along two digital cameras with me and shot other dancers on the dance floor in between my own dances. This was my favorite image from the weekend, an enthusiastic lunge to conclude a song. Photo shot on a Nikon D7000 with a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens and a Nikon SB-900 speedlight.