Music rehearsal photography

The question of dynamic range and high contrast scenes in photography

Rehearsals are unpredictable, if not for the musicians, but for the photographer. Light is seldom ideal, and you can find yourself in a dimly lit room with yellowish light, no shadow or highlight to work on and a very busy background of note stands, chairs, microphones, and cables. Take these samples, — a rehearsal at ANU,‘s Peter Karmel building ‑which I tried to work my shots in a very small room with a mixture of fluorescent light and a single window of harsh natural light. While some may be disappointed by the harsh backlight, there’s always room to explore creative possibilities. The quest for expanding dynamic range in digital cameras, while worthwhile in many cases, can be deceptive. Camera maker’s goal is to record as much detail in the most accurate manner and not wasting a single photon that passes the sensor. However, aesthetically, the results — recording everything that exist in the frame- may not be ideal. The camera doesn’t know where to look, what to exclude, how to compose, and realise what’s important in the shot. When a scene is beyond the dynamic range of the camera, one can either try to bring their own light, which is almost impossible in the case of photographing musical rehearsals, or decide to intentionally take out parts of the scene and use the contrast as a compositional tool. A high contrast scene can be a curse, especially if you are shooting a corporate portrait or a landscape. But as your creative latitude increases in the project, it can be a good thing.

Appollo’s Echo is a new music project created by Mark Levers, making soul and 70s pop-fusion music.

Kasra Yousefi

My name is Kasra Yousefi. I’m a graphic designer, teacher and photographer, living in Canberra, ACT.

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