Aug 8, 2009

Dancing the sun away

It's summer season in Antwerp, and that means there's a choice of events and festivities all day long, each day of the week. On a warm weekday's night, a fellow photographer joined me for a good beer and an exotic dinner on an outside terrace. Afterwards we walked up to the 'Antwerpen Danst' (Antwerp dances) location, not far into the harbor area north of the city.

There, at the big bend of the majestic Schelde river, near the Kattendijk locks, you will find a huge wooden dance floor. On Tuesdays, it's tango night; Thursdays feature traditional folk or ethnic dance from all over the world. Each evening start with a specific initiation session, and then people dance along into the night.

We just caught the end of the training session on Sevillanas, a popular flamenco-style folk dance from Seville (Andalusia). Before long, the DJ switched to a variety of traditional music from the Mediterranean and Latin America. A great opportunity for the audience to practice moves picked up during earlier sessions, or just to have fun! And all that with the Antwerp skyline in the background, and the twinkling lights of petrochemical plants across the river.

Photographically, there wasn't that much to catch that night... The place was absolutely packed - hardly a surprise on one of the best summer evenings we had so far. As the evening sun was setting, the lighting on the site became practically non-existent, evolving into so-so (a few sodium street lamps high on their poles). And there was no particular elevated vantage point, another handicap for a 'vertically challenged' person like me ;-)

So what better opportunity to exercise our skills at shooting action in low light (no speedlights!), honing our focusing techniques, testing how good our cameras handle high ISO settings (awesome on a D700!), and generally looking for those visually interesting scenes...?

Gear notes: D700, 24-70/2.8, 70-200/2.8VR, 17-35/2.8

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