Culturama 2018 Photo Opportunity

Recently I was given the amazing opportunity to take photos at the schools annual event, Culturama. Culturama is a dance showcase that students can sign up for and dance to represent a certain school nationality, there are dances from: Spain, France, USA, Japan, Cambodia, and much more.

As an amateur photographer, I haven’t had a whole lot of experience with different environments, something I’m been working on a lot recently. Culturama was so very different from anything I’ve ever done in the past; the environment was indoors, super fast paced, formal, had fancy lighting, large audience, etc. This was a huge challenge coming from someone who usually does outdoor swimming photography, they’re are very different. It also meant I learned so much both from the experience and the other photographer, Vincent (who I also work on team photos with, its how I got invited).

Starting things off, I had to learn to be aware of everyone within the auditorium. I had to move quickly to take my shot but without being intrusive to the audience or performers. I had to know where the other cameras were and to avoid intruding the livestream. I also couldn’t talk to anyone, such as move them to where I wanted them to be.

In addition, I had to be super active, moving around stage to get different shots and angles. I had to use previous knowledge of framing and lighting to my advantage to get the best show possible. I had to very quickly adapt to the changing environment of the stage and the performers. This leads me to the environment. I had to completely learn how to shoot photos in the auditorium, everything I know about cameras and their settings was tested. I shot full manual with auto focus on my own Canon 80D, changing my settings as the stage changed.

I ended up shooting over 2,000 photos over the course of 2 one hour shows (pre- dress rehearsal and dress rehearsal), but that was only the beginning. After the show I now needed to sort through and individually edit each and every photo (it’s just my thing), this would end up being the greatest photography challenge I’ve ever taken upon myself. I had the great privilege of using the ‘Adobe Lightroom’ software over my normal photoshop or Canon software. This meant I needed to teach myself how to use the software and utilise it to better my photography. I’ll save all the details but over the course of about 20 hours in 2 days, I cut and edited all 2,000 photos, ending up with only about 500 photos in total, which I uploaded to both, Flickr and Google Photos. Overall I’m super happy with how all the photos came out and they really look amazing, even compared to Vincents photos considering his experience. Next time, I’ll work on getting even better photos but for now this was such an valuable experience and the dancers in Culturama were extraordinary.

Taking photos for Culturama 2018. Photo Creds: Vincent Smithangura


Learning outcomes and reflection questions topics included:  

  • Big picture (Goals, Action and Learning)
  • LO 1 AWARENESS (Increased awareness of strengths and areas for growth)
  • LO 2 CHALLENGE (Undertaken new challenges)/NEW SKILLS (Developing new skills)
  • LO3 INITIATIVE (Planning and initiated activities)
  • LO 4 COMMITMENT (Showing perseverance, resilience and commitment in activities)
  • LO 5 COLLABORATION (Working together to achieve an outcome)
  • LO 6 GLOBAL VALUE (Engaging with issues of global importance)
  • LO 7 ETHICS (Considering the ethical implications of actions)
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