Week19 – Ashhurst Barn Dance

Sadly I have had to remove all my images of the Barn Dance.  Which is a shame because the opportunity to sell them might have been a great further fund raiser for the Scouts.

7-13 May ’11

This is the second year that Ashhurst has hosted a barn dance.  Hundreds of people turned up, dressed in checked shirts, jeans and cowboy hats.  Families had a blast, the kids and adults alike having a great time learning the steps to the folk dances guided by Elayne of the Battered Hats band. Proceeds from the ticket sales are going to the Ashhurst Scouts and Cubs.

Photographing Dancers

A few days before the event I’d asked Jane, the organiser, if they had a photographer lined up for the dance.  She hadn’t, so I volunteered my services on a purely ‘no pressure, get what you can’ basis, with thoughts to publish in the Village Voice.  And of course as something interesting to use for my blog.

I have avoided any type of flash photography up until now.  I know that the built in flash on my camera is virtually useless for flattering portraiture.  But I figured I’d give it a go and see what I could get.  I had read about rigging up a home made diffuser to soften the light from the flash.  Hunting around the house on Saturday I found a nice little square of opaque white plastic that sits on the front of a little slide viewer.  With a bit of  a twist and gentle pressure  I managed to remove the front bit from the viewer.  It’s the perfect size and shape.  A further hunt turned up a couple of rubber bands.   So,  after a bit of fiddling about with rubber band placement I have a make-shift diffuser.

D90 home made flash diffuser

D90 with home-made flash diffuser

Consulting my camera’s manual I discovered that I can dial back the power on the flash – who knew?!  I really need to read more of that book…

I also carried out a little research in to the use of a bounce card.  The idea is to mount a piece of white card under the flash, bent at an angle upwards, to bounce the light from the flash up on the ceiling, or sideways to a wall, and then back to your subject.  I would have liked to try this out, but I knew that the ceiling in the Village Valley Center is VERY high.  And the dance action was going to take place in the center of the auditorium, with the walls too far away. I really did not think there was much chance of success.  I will give this idea a go one day when working in a room with normal height ceilings.

Off to the dance we went.  I am pleased with the shots that I was able to get.  The sharp shadows on some of the pictures are bad, but unavoidable with the gear that I had to work with.  I hope the participants will be happy with the results.  😀

All these shots required major post processing to bring up the exposure, reduce the noise and remove all the demon-red eyes.

This experience has inspired me to carry out some research in to proper lighting,  and I’ve lined up my next purchase.

I’d like to extend a big congrats and thanks very much to Jane and the other organizers of this fun community event.

All my shots from the dance are available for viewing at Valley Photography


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