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Tuesday, July 23, 2013


On being part of the natural cycles we watch as photographers

Labels: How-ToColumnBasic Jones

The original image was shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a 70-300mm lens. Jones masked the hula dancer out of the background of the festival and blended it with an iPhone shot of a rain-soaked forest that he had tweaked in Topaz Simplify. Then he took the resulting image into Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to give it the sepia cast and the frame.
When I did return to the festival, I remember asking myself, "Should I sit on the left side or the right?" Without hesitation, my body moved left. My mind and my cameras followed. I love when my intuition kicks in.

I ducked in front of the sound mixer's table and put my telephoto to my eye. There, in the viewfinder, was a dancer I didn't know. Not one of the local girls, she had come from a neighboring island with her halau. The music began and she raised her arms in the first gesture of the dance. Unspeakably beautiful. One upon another, the gestures flowed from her. She wasn't dancing the hula, she was the hula.

And her face! The emotions of the dance overflowed from her eyes, poured from her cheeks and mouth. It was as if she was so full, she couldn't contain it another moment. She was full from the inside, and she overflowed.

I shot one dance after another until finally she left the stage. My CF card was full. I sat there touched by the same energy I had felt standing before the Bathtub. The sheer joy of watching some thing, some body, fill up from the inside and overflow.

Later that afternoon, storm clouds moved in, and I walked back to my house in the rain. I thought of photos I had taken of this incredible young woman and knew when I eventually made prints that I didn't want her standing before the bandstand and the crowd. Her beauty seemed more connected to nature than the man-made structures at the festival. I stopped and photographed the rain-soaked forest with my iPhone.

Later, in front of my computer, I surrounded her with that soft, misty forest. It seemed the perfect background for her gesture and the emotions that overflowed from her being.

Looking at the image, I realized that, when we let ourselves, we, too, are part of those natural cycles we all watch as photographers. When we allow ourselves to truly feel their wonder, we, too, fill up from the inside and overflow.

Dewitt Jones now posts daily celebration images on his Facebook page. He invites you to post yours as well at www.facebook.com/celebratewhatsrigh. Or sign up for his weekly Photos of Celebration at www.celebratewhatsright.com.


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