Al Ain Mall management requested me to have a photo coverage of another glamorous weekend presentation last 12th of May 2016, Cinderella On Ice show. Al Ain Mall is one of the most sophisticated and renowned shopping and entertainment mall in Al Ain.
I was commissioned to have a still coverage of the entire 45 minute show, I have done this kind of coverage from their previous events and my dilemma was always the light. The venue was on the Ice Rink (of course, since it's an Ice Show), located on the ground floor under the skylight dome roof, so when the sun started to set - the light will definitely be less. They have provided few additional lights, few spotlights on the side of the rink with colored gels and another spotlight on the upper level.
The show started at 7:15 pm but I already positioned myself half an hour before the show exactly in the front of the rink to have a head on vantage point of the show. I metered the scene from time to time to monitor and familiar with the settings since the venue gradually became darker as time pass by. I ended up having an ISO of above 2000 when the show started, my shutter speed ranged from 1/200 to 1/500s due to the fast movement of the performers and my aperture was f/2.8. The AUTO white balance (WB) works perfectly most of the time but the colored spotlights flashing the scene gave the camera an awful color shift. New cameras have a built-in preset WB, just identify the white or neutral gray color in the frame and you can get a better looking colors in your shots. I found this feature very useful specially in fashion shows where lights varies during the show.
After few minutes at the front side of the rink, I left my spot to look for a different vantage point. I went to the second level to get a wider view of the rink showing the crowd surrounding the perimeter. The show was packed even though the event was announced few days before the event. After a couple of shots I transferred to the third level which is the best view of the rink, the circular perimeter overlooking the rink is one of the attractive spot of the mall. I took a wide view using a fish eye lens and the closest overhead shot of the performers using 70-200mm.
And this are the overhead shots using 70-200mm.
And for my last vantage point, I went back to the ground floor and positioned myself opposite of my primary spot, it is somehow like the backstage of the venue, shooting at the backside of the performers and the crowd were head in front of me.
The show entertained not only the young ones, but everyone. I heard the loud applause of the crowd after the show, kids hurriedly went close to the performers to take some photos. I have seen few kids who wore their Disney dresses, their smiles on their faces were priceless.
It's a challenge to shoot this kind of event, I struggled to get the right exposure on a dimly lit venue with a fast moving subjects. I tried avoiding cranking up my ISO above 2000 but there are no other options, considering also that a fast shutter speed was necessary to be able to freeze the performer's motion. After days of processing, I was so glad and satisfied with the results but I still have a lot of improvements to consider in the future. I have taken around 400 photos for this event, 20% were satisfying to my standard, 20% blurred, 20% underexposed & 40% redundant & poorly framed.
My gear for this event:
- Think Tank Airport Navigator - where all my camera bodies & lens were packed going to the venue.
- Think Tank Retrospective 30 (Messenger Bag) - will leave the trolley bag in a secured place in the venue and will transfer in this bag all my gear for convenience and mobility during the show.
- Nikon D800
- Nikon D810
- Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
- Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED VR
- Nikkor 16mm f/2.8D
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