Last night I had the pleasure of photographing my first live theatre performance. DasSHOKU SHAKE's Butoh styled cabaret material is funny, dynamic, narratively sparse and peppered with moments of real beauty. And to put a smile in everyone's heart - this was a fundraiser.
Yumi Umiumare directed and performed last night and she is really something to behold both on and off stage. Yes, there were fluorescent pink nipples but there were also lessons to be learnt.
One lesson learnt perforce was the advantage of shooting with the Fujifilm X100S's 'spot' light metering setting. It allowed me to expose images by reading the light from small areas of my subjects, like their face for example, as opposed to other metering settings (the X100S has three in all) which tend to take an average reading of all light hitting that particular image.
Hold that pose, will ya!
A theatre stage has a lot of shadow areas so averaging the light from these shadows plus the bright lights hitting the performers resulted in an overexposing of the brighter areas. But even worse, to allow enough light in to do so requires more time and that meant slower shutter speeds. And this was not the kind of subject you can ask to, hold that pose, will ya!
I learn best by trial and error. It took me half the performance to realise that the poor results I was getting, blow outs (lack of detail) in all my highlights, was due to me using the two go-to light metering settings I rely on for outdoor work.
DasSHOKU SHAKE's butoh cabaret was a wonderful mix of live music, spoken word and audience interaction, as well as lively and infective dance pieces. Most of the performer's were friends or ex students of Yumi and seemed more than happy to donate their time to help Yumi's troupe raise money towards their December tour of Japan, where they hope to present shows to some of the residents of Fukushima.
You can see some more of these shots (the ones that worked) on the new Performance tab on my web site.
I might have to take a butoh class myself. These folks were having a great time!