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The Breakdancers


Breakdancer "Stone".


Stone and his gang.

 Susan and Katherine have gone to visit the inlaws again, so I’m at home alone. I selected my F4 and went out for a walk intending to push some Ilfor Pan 400. Hopefully those photos turned out and I figure I’ll post those in the future but they have yet to be developed and then scanned. However, when I came across these break dancers in the Zhong Da university square, I returned to the apartment and grabbed my D700, my SB600 for off camera flash, and SB800 for my commander. I also grabbed my flash gels to help balance the orange color cast from the lights in case I wanted to leave anything in color. I already had my tripod so I didn’t bring a seperate light stand.

This was from the first burst of shots and apparently impressed them enough that they were quite eager to have me keep shooting.

One of Stone's friends.

I wanted hard cross light but really feel I would have had better luck with 2 flashes. My lens for all of these shots was the most excellent 14-24. I was pretty light figuring I’d show up with just a little equipment and then maybe bring more in the future. When I encounter skateboarders I’m the same way figuring I can build up some rapport first before I start popping of banks of speedlights. Theys guys were super nice and we spent more time talking than dancing/shooting. I mainly talked to a guy “Stone.” He is 19 and works at a KTV but I’m not exactly sure of his position. He is out dancing nearly every night at roughly the same time he says. I’ll probably return in the future. I didn’t really get that many that I was happy with.

Another from Stone. He really wanted some photos of himself so he was willing to go through his moves several times. Part of the problem was that I had to show him what he needed to do, but I don't think these moves are easy to do.

 In the past with skateboarders I would almost always shoot fully manual including manual flash. But generally the skateboarders I was shooting were doing one trick over and over again, and they were good enough to land in the same spot nearly every time. Distance to flashes and overall lighting hardly ever changed. But I noticed that here the dancers were wheeling and spinning all over the place so I decided to let the flash handle things. TTL all the way. I turned up the shutter speed to 180th/sec and cranked the ISO up to 3200. f Stop was 2.8. I wanted to let in a lot of background light, but I didn’t want to have a lot of blur but at the same time I wanted to maximize the flash firing rate. I didn’t really play with the shutter speed until later when I wanted to put a harder shadow on the wall. At that point I dropped the ISO to 400, turned the shutter speed up to 250th/sec but left the aperture at 2.8 to help with flash range and firing rate. I’m actually very impressed with the TTL.

Fairly early on I noticed the shadow on the wall and had Stone perform his moves closer to it.

Luck had a lot to do with my low keeper rate. Many of the shots had a bad shadow from an arm across the face. In the future I’ll probably set up a second bank and possibly double up speedlights for my main light to help with cycling time.

The funny thing is that when I showed up there were only a few people watching Stone and his crew. But within a minute of my arrival (and my flashes going off) the crowd swelled to 20 people. This is pretty normal. Earlier this evening I turned around after setting my tripod and F4 up and found a crowd of 15 behind me.

Stone in color.


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