Fuji does Strictly

I must admit when you're asked to attend a Ballroom dancing competition, it does kind of make one think...wow, I’m 50 and is this what it's come too?

Well, I had an email requesting that I attend the world ballroom dance competition in Blackpool, It was going to be held in the majestic Empress Ballroom, Winter Gardens This was the only official Blackpool Dance Festival, of course Dance Festivals held in Blackpool are world famous, so the thought of entering this wonderful venue does have a lasting impression on oneself.

The building is very impressive, built in the 1890’s, it has the most spectacular barrel-vaulted ceiling, incredible sparkling chandeliers, a spectacular parquet flooring and ornate balconies that impress. I have to admit it's quite a staggering venue.

The Empress Ballroom has hosted many fantastic events, everything from political party conferences to pop concerts – its architectural splendour, vast capacity and unrivalled flexibility making it extremely popular with regional, national and international event organisers alike. The Empress Ballroom is directly linked to the spacious Arena.

Well, i decided I was going to take my Fuji Xpro2 along with me for the official photography bit, i had my Fuji 16mm f1.4 wide angle lens attached and my faithful 56mm lens, I was thinking that maybe, I would possibly have the opportunity to snap a few images of the dancing and, as always, push my camera equipment; my thoughts were, probably the lighting would be quite a challenge, how would the focus perform? But to be honest I didn't think it would be too much of an issue taking a few photos, without flash, because Ballroom dancing is quite a slow deliberate art!! If i’m photographing the first dance at weddings, I will use flash, slow shutter speed to capture the action, however Ballroom dancing (I thought) will be very slow! Was I completely and utterly wrong!

If you haven't seen the film “Strictly Ballroom” I suggest you do, the competitiveness of these incredible dancers was unbelievable, you could see the emotion and determination in their eyes, you could feel the determination, cut the (Fiery) atmosphere with a knife!

Before I get to the images and the camera's performance, I must tell you, I was absolutely blown away, the dancers had to perform up to 5 dances in one run, from Cha Cha
Foxtrot, Jive, Lindy Hop, Mambo, Paso Doble, Quickstep, Rumba, and the Viennese waltz was incredible, the speed and beauty of this dance, the dancers would float at an incredible speed from one end of the ballroom to the other, I was amazed.

Here we go then, I thought, I want to capture this magical competition, so I set the Camera to manual, took a couple of test shots to set the exposure, using f1.4, Zone focusing and continuous, I fired away, I was sat just behind the main judges and to ensure I wasn't blocking the people's view from behind me, I stayed sat in my seat, to be honest I couldn't move around too much in my Tuxedo (something I wouldn't usually wear, I don't quite look as good as James Bond in his!) So all these shots were taken being as unobtrusive as possible.

But I have to say that the Xpro2 camera nailed the shots, yes, I did miss a few shots as I was trying to move with the action and stay out of the way but the Fuji Xpro2 was a blast to use.

Many of you know that my profession is (mainly) as a Wedding Photographer these days, I do occasionally provide my photography services for a few corporate events.

The reason for me attending this event was to capture the After Party atmosphere but who wouldn't want to grab a few photos of the dance atmosphere?

Take a look at the images and see what you think, one thing I can say, don't be afraid to push these cameras, you will be very impressed.

“Photography is a journey, take it with Fuji” - Michael Gane - thefxworks  

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