Last year I visited Madrid, and decided to go and see a flamenco show. I had gotten a recommendation to go to Las Tablas, which is not really a known place, but was supposed to be very good. I asked the hotel to book, and they hadn’t even heard about the place, but managed to get a table. I decided to try public transportation to get there, so I took the sub-way to the nearest stop. I had some problems finding the place, as it had entrance from another street than the address, as well as on the second level. And trying to ask for directions in English wasn’t always easy in Madrid.

But found the place eventually, and got a table close to the little stage. I guess the place had around 15 tables all together. I was allowed to photograph, but no flash. All photos in this post are taken with my Sony Alpha 580, with the 24-70 F2.8 lens, with the ISO cranked up to 12800.  I did some noise reduction in Adobe Lightroom afterwards.

The Flamenco dance is very emotional and energetic, even when you don’t understand the words being sung.


Step-By-Step 25års jubileum

The first week-end of December, the  Step-by-Step dance studio set up a great show in Olavshallen to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Since my daughter was part of the performance, I got in touch with Hilde Hellan, which gave me a free pass, and full access to the stage area for taking photos.

I brought my Sony Alpha 580 with a 24-70 F2.8 lens and my old (currently being used by my wife) Sony Alpha 350 with a 100F2.8 lens, and after almost three hours with these two cameras, my neck was killing me.

This is the first time I’ve done a stage shoot at this scale, and retouching this batch of photos was a lot of work, and really took a long time, but finally today I consider myself done. This has been a really good learning experience for me. Due to the artificial light, I did have to do a lot of white balance adjustments, as well as noise reduction due to using high ISO (up to 12800 with my 580).

I also learned to pay attention, especially when changing memory cards. Suddenly in the middle of changing an almost full card, I was hit by a very bright light. I was not aware that the number which was just starting (the one by the camels, by the way) would also take place on the side areas of the stage, where I had been standing in complete darkness throughout the performance. Well, at least I saw enough to insert the card in a hurry, and slide back into darkness (where we photographers belong) 🙂

Below are some of my favorite shots. You’ll find the full official release here.

How to write a date

My first post is triggered by configuring WordPress.

I went into settings to select the date format, where I found the following options for date format:

  • February 5th, 2012
  • 2012/02/05
  • 02/05/2012
  • 05/02/2012
  • Custom

At least all these formats use the full year, but how can you tell if 02/05/2012 is the second day of May or the fifth day of February? It’s even worse when writing dates without the full year: 02/05/12 could mean a lot of different dates.

For some reason, a lot of people in Europe seems to think that the European date format (Day/Month/Year) is a lot better than the US format (Month/Day/Year). Personally, neither of these makes sense. Why would you write a less significant number (day) first. If someone asks you to write the time, would you ever think about writing the minutes or seconds before the hour?

So the only sensible way of writing dates, and which is least probably of causing misunderstandings, is Year-Month-Day (with a dash, not a slash). The date is written in decreasing order of importance, as with Hour:Minute:Second. And guess what. There is an international standard for this called ISO8601.

So let’s all work together now to adapt the only sensible way of writing dates.

Fortunately WordPress has the custom option, which allowed me to create an ISO8601 date. WordPress should make this a date option, which should be the default setting.

So what does this have to do with photography?

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a lot of photos on my hard drives. From day one (in my case, 1997-10-24, when I got my first digital camera) I’ve named all my photos by date/time, i.e. my first digital photo has the following file name: 1997-10-24@10.48.14.jpg. This of course means that all my photos have a unique file name, regardless of where they are moved. They are always sorted in the correct order. Since then I’ve gotten faster cameras, which can take multiple photos each second, which I solved by adding a number after the time, e.g. 2010-02-05@12.33.10-1.jpg