Cilantro, Salsa, and a Touch of Rear Curtain Flash
December 23, 2014
My good friend Enrique hosted a toy drive benefitting Beaverton Aloha Park elementary. As a center piece to the evening there was to be live music featuring the band Cilantro. This very sophisticated sounding band combining sounds of traditional latin rythems and mixes them with Jazz and even a little Spanish flamenco borrowings, I have heard the term Fusion in the past, and that would be accurate, but don't quote me on that one, I am no musician, I get enough in trouble with the camera stuff. It was a great performance and people approved by dancing their bottoms off, yep even including me.
I showed up rather early, with my favorite toy donation of choice, always a Lego Set, and proceeded to sit on the bar, and order myself a light beer. Without much to set up, usually for my casual outings when I bring the camera along, I tend to travel light, my D700, no battery grip, and the always surprising compact speed light SB400, who I have abused around several continents, but still responds like a champ, not little, just concentrated. My lens of choice in this outings is always a prime 50mm f1.8, Cartier-Bresson style, you can't go wrong with a classic like that.
The evening progresses, and even as I am not working per say, I really can't help getting in to it, the music is great, the atmosphere almost perfect, and I can go in out of the photog mode and I am still mingling and enjoying the evening. I go from using natural light (and hight ISOs), to utilize the wonderful reflections of light that the wet streets are giving me through the windows as a background to the band. When needed I hot shoed the SB400 for a touch of light to fill a bit light reflected from a card, just a regular business card. For some reason this is former mayor Sam Adams business card I got years ago at an event when he was still Portland's citizen in chief. I keep business cards in my wallet, mostly to use them as speed light reflectors, that one and a street car ticket receipt from Dublin's Sandymount station I took in October 2013 seems to be the ones that pop up in my SB400 most often.
To twist the trick, I set in my flash mode to rear curtain flash, also known as second curtain flash. A technique that makes the speed light send it's flash of light at the end of the exposure to accentuate movement, which makes for great action event pics. It's a tricky technique because it makes for low shutter speeds but the results can be quite pleasing. For example the top picture (feature picture) is a good example, keeping the girls face sharp (somewhat), and picking up big blur effects for things that are going faster than the shutter can pic, I also went in on f1.8 at quite close range which made for very reduced depth of field.
Back curtain flash and short depth of field, and if they pass you the scarf you'd better dance!
At the time of the editing work, a bunch of them I decided to make them black and white to focus on the expression and personality of Arlyn Fran the band's singer, very passionate and electric performer. It wasn't quite like work, but then again, I am a massive fan of mixing job and fun. here are some more examples of that evening. Thank you for your visit, more to come soon...