Bhangra Bash 2009
- NOTE: These images are copyrighted and may not be downloaded without written permission. If you are a participant and arrived at this page, please contact me and we can discuss re-use of the images.
It is not every day that an event as photogenic as Bhangra Bash comes along.
Dozens of teams from across North America competed for cash prizes at the event, held Saturday March 28, 2009 at the University of Washington’s Meany Hall.
The event is an intense and colorful celebration of the East Indian cultural and musical tradition of Banghra. The rhythmic dancing is mesmerizing, and although there was only a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, each of these groups put on a beautiful show.
I brought my remote gear with me for the shoot, anticipating that I would want to be in multiple places at once. The great thing about good remote camera photos is that they bring the viewer somewhere they can’t be, or allow them to see an event in a different light.
That’s why I put a camera directly above the performance.
I asked a lighting technician backstage if it would be possible to lower the lighting carriage down to the ground and setup a remote camera on it. As luck would have it, the technician was totally into the idea and gave me all the time I needed to ensure the setup was safe that high up in the air. As always, safety is my biggest concerns when elevating a remote camera; I used numerous safety cables, strapped through the camera, magic arm, clamp, and the lighting carriage, along with gaffer-taped connection points, to ensure that if the camera became loose it would not endanger participants.
Here is a picture of my camera attached to the lighting carriage as it is raised into it’s regular position:
I chose a Nikon D2H with an 18-35 lens, set to 18mm, so that I would not have to worry about the participants staying within a certain part of the frame. Also, at that distance, the infinity focus would allow everything to be in focus. I had the lighting tech flip on the lights that would be used for the actual show, and from the ground, picked a base exposure and set the camera to manual exposure, 1/250 @ f/4 @ iso 1000. From the elevated position, I could see basically the entire stage, and this setup worked very well. I found that out by setting up the camera, having the lighting carriage raised, triggering the camera, and then bringing the carriage back down and checking the photos. The 30 seconds it takes to raise/lower the setup felt like an eternity. At intermission, I was able to change the battery and memory card.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the remote camera:
Although I had a good feeling the remote camera images would work out, nothing is for certain, and I used my main handheld camera more than I did the remote.
Some images from before the show, in the basement where all of the participants were getting dressed in their elaborate costumes and having fun hanging out:
As I was about to head back upstairs to shoot the main competition, I spotted this participant singing and dancing as he went down the hallway:
And here are some of my favorite images from the rest of the competition:
This was a terrific event to photograph, full of visual opportunities — I am just glad I got the opportunity to cover it. Thanks for looking everyone.