On a recent evening I photographed Soul House at the Peabody Essex Museum, a collaboration of Hub New Music quartet and a trio from Urbanity Dance. My job was to capture the movement and sound of the performance unobtrusively in pictures using only the existing light. With a fast, trusty steed Nikon 70-200mm lens, I worked from different vantage points--from up on the balcony or down low on the floor (where for a time the dancers were backlit with a single small spotlight and the ambient light was practically nil and it turns out I made, I think, the most interesting images of the night). During this time I was thinking about choices we all have to make in business, creative output, or both. How do we deliver a superior outcome even when all the elements may not be ideal? And how do we comfortably find solutions on-the-fly that create an unexpected and satisfying result?
On this night in particular, capturing an event in very low light meant I needed to set my camera to "think" there was more light, but aware of the potential downside of creating "grain" or "noise" instead of a smooth picture. In context this was the obvious choice to sacrifice, giving over to balancing a slow enough shutter speed to let in some vital ambient light but not too much so as to create unwanted motion blur in the dancers and musician's movements (which can sometimes work to great effect but not as a rule on this night). The other essential was needing to set a wide open aperture to make an engaging and decently-lit picture while having to carefully land precise focus, such as on a dancer's face. A tricky trifecta, and all in all I was pleased with both the process and the outcome, executing a dance of my own.