JAMES CRAIG PHOTOGRAPHY

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Mya and Naimah – two surprising results

Sep 9, 2021

These two from the Autumn Bellydance Gala were something of a surprise to me. Both exposures appeared at first to be hopeless. The Mya, above, was awash in yellow light. No normal conversion to b&w netted anything usable. So I simply eliminated the yellow and began experimenting with the type of effects I normally shun – getting to something like an extreme version of the final image. Then I worked toning it down and making it look almost real again. I definitely surprised myself with the result – not what I thought I wanted, but I like the sort of b&w watercolor look (if there is such a thing).

Naimah was bathed in the same heavy blue light that April was for her shot a couple of days ago. Fortuantely she was further forward on the stage. Otherwise the exposure was perfect. The first thing I try on these, though it doesn’t always work, is, in RAW conversion, slide the highlights slider all the way down, the shadows slider all the way up and the blue slider to somewheere between 0 and 10 percent (almost off). Sounds insane for a perfect exposure, I know. This turned out to be at least a place to begin. Again, I really didn’t pre-visualize what I wound up with, evolving my vision as I worked – using the brush tools more like a painter than a photographer.

These two images present quite a contrast. Mya is the youngest bellydance student and rather short, while Naimah is the veteran dance instructor, and is tall enough that when she reaches her arms up she can actually extend her finger tips above the background curtain. Add to that, one image is high key, the other low – thanks to each dance number being lit with a different single color light (except one that used rainbow lighting).

Naimah and Mya – I know these aren’t what you expected from this show, but I hope you like them.

Added to the folio HERE