ND – Grey, Cold, Windy, Blue
The Chinese New Year Celebrations…
…are always a loud and colourful spectacular every year, and on Sunday 6th February 2011 I was able to wander down to the Arcadian in Birmingham’s Chinese Quarter to watch them ring in the New Year of the Rabbit.
Birmingham’s Chinese New Year celebrations are always a popular event, and unless you can get there early then the crowds gather and photographic vantage points vanish. I eventually found a spot though, at an unusual angle, directly to one side but above the stage on the balcony that wraps itself around. Mrs ND and I managed to worm our way to the front of the balcony and maintain a view across the crowds and to the stage, but at a slightly skewed angle.
It wasn’t the perfect position as there were curtain walls obscuring the rear of the stage, and some of the acts had to take advantage of them as plate spinning in the windy conditions was looking tricky, but we persevered anyway.
Some of the acts were slow and yoga inspired, but others were more frenetic and seemingly less traditional.
One such act involved Break-Dancing…
…and as I photographed the action I realised that there were three main perspectives that the action could be viewed from. The first was the perspective that most people enjoyed as they stood in the crowd in front of the stage, looking up at the raised platform as the three dancers spun around on the floor. This was an obvious angle that even the pro-looking photographers that I spotted seemed to employ.
The second view was from The Gods which was my vantage point. Being able to look down on the action, albeit from one side, may not have been a big advantage over the standard crowd view for many acts, but when these dancers were spinning around on their backs it seemed like the better choice.
The third view was unique and deservedly well-earned. It was the view that the dancers themselves enjoyed, spinning and swirling to the thumping music, looking up to the sky, intense focus on the matter in hand. This view was very different from that of any member of the audience, with the world twisting and twirling around them, and gravity pulling their bodies from different angles as they flipped, rotated and bounced around on the tip of one limb or another.
When it came to post processing I decided to mix my minority view of the event with the dancers own unique perspective to try to convey a sense of disconnect in the moment.
I recently asked Do I need more gear?…
…and this has been another occasion that I wished I was using the Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8. None of these shots required the extra reach of the Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-5.6G VR that I was using, but that constant F2.8 along with a slightly higher ISO (probably 800 would have been enough – which the excellent Nikon D700 can achieve with ease) would have overcome the motion blur.