Here are some photos from a performance by Arkemy at the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series yesterday. I’m not shooting these events regularly this year, but took advantage of the opportunity to capture this one. One of the challenges of shooting here is the bright backlighting, set of against darkly clothed performers, and in particular in this case, dancing, often at high speeds. I decided to try this at a shutter speed of 1/320 of a second, f5.6 for the better part, and 1600 ISO, through, mostly a Nikon 70-200. This resulted in a slightly grainy image with blown out backgrounds, and this is why I love Lightroom’s new circular gradient tool. Inverting it to reduce exposure in the area outside the circle allowed me to recover the background while leaving a bit of a glow around the performers. A little more post processing than I usually do, but I think the images worked in the end. They are a little soft, and reducing the ISO might’ve helped there, but the challenge was freezing motion while keeping all the performers relatively sharp.

I switched this up a bit when shooting individual performers – 1/200 sec at f3.2 with an ISO of 320 – and that seemed to work as well, though in that case I found 1/200 a little on the slow side and ended up tossing a number of images as a result. You can see the whole set of images by clicking here, and this season’s catalogue of the really terrific offerings a the COC by clicking here.

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