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Why I Still Love Film Photography

September 05, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

In a day in age has made things so instantaneous, sometimes we need things in our life to slow us down. Film is one of those things that slows my life down.

There is nothing “instant” about film photography. First off, there is no handy, dandy LCD screen in the back that shows you how great (or not so great…) your shot it. You can’t even tell if your shots until after the film is developed and you start using it to print on paper! Also there’s that frustration that you only have 36 images to use, instead unlimited, but that’s a subject for a different post.

Secondly, film takes time to develop. Here are the rough steps of what it takes to get just the film processed:

  1. Take used film out of camera! (1a. wind up film before opening the camera if your camera does not have this feature)
  2. Take the canister of film, a film real, a light tight film holder, scissors, and a film/can opener into a pitch black closet.
  3. Open film canister (hopefully the canister feels like behaving)
  4. Take film out of canister.
  5. Cut the little “L” shaped part of the film off.
  6. Start rolling the film on to the film real (again, hopefully the film feels like behaving)
  7. Cut film off of the last bit of the film canister once rolling is complete.
  8. Place the real in to the light tight film holder and take it out to your processing stations.
  9. (optional) Rinse film with water
  10. Use Developer, then dump it out.
  11. Use Stop, then dump it out.
  12. Use Fixer, then dump it out.
  13. Wash the film
  14. Use HCA, then dump it out
  15. Wash it again
  16. Then let it dry.

This entire process, if all goes well rolling the film, takes about an hour start to finish. And that’s not even getting to the prints! Prints, most of time, do not take this long to make. But compared to digital, it seems like it takes forever to get to 1 photograph in film photography.

But I like that. It gives me time to think, and relax, and not worry about what’s happening next. I already know what’s going to happen next. I know what I have to do to arrive at a final product. Sure there is some uncertainty in the process, like is my film going to turn out, did I develop just right, etc., but unexpected things happen all the time in digital photography too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes, I appreciate the final product of a film photograph so much more because I felt productive, and I felt like I put a lot of effort into making it come alive. But please don’t make me choose between digital and film photography. I couldn’t!

Let me know what makes you slow down and why you like that.

5 Things I love about Collegiate Ballroom Competitions

August 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Hi everyone, if you didn’t see my last blog post, I will be photographing Yale’s Ballroom Competition in October. On top of that I will also be photographingBallroom at Maryland’s (BAM) DC DanceSport Inferno (DCDI)! That will make 3 collegiate ballroom competitions that I will have photographed by the end of this year. Crazy!

In light of this, I would like to list the 5 things that I love about the Collegiate Ballroom Scene:

  1. CHEERING!: Because the collegiate scene is centered around university teams, they tend band together and cheer their teammates on during the competition. Not only does this make the competition more lively, it also makes it that much easier to perform and have fun on the dance floor!
  2. Travel: When on a collegiate ballroom team, you usually get to travel to 2-3 competitions a semester. While I was on BAM’s team, I was able to travel to Ohio, UPenn, MIT, and a few other places to compete. I was able to see a good part of the North Eastern part of the US in just a few short years. Not only that, you travel as a team, either by motor coach or by carpooling. This is a really great way to bond with your teammates and get to know the new members of the team each year.
  3. Camaraderie: This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the cheering point, but everyone on a collegiate team looks out for each other. It is common to see upper level dancers give tips, doing hair, or lending a helping hand to the newcomers during a competition. Everyone wants to see the people on their team to do well.
  4. Friendship: The last point has little do with being on one particular team, but rather becoming friends with people on other teams. Of course, when on the dance floor, you are focused on out dancing everyone else on that floor, but off the floor you get to meet and become friends with all the wonderful people from other teams that have come to the same competition. Sometimes you become good friends with the person behind you in the “On Deck” area because you realize just how much you have in common with each other.

The collegiate scene is not like anything else in the ballroom world. In the real world, teams are replaced by studio, less and less people take group classes, and there is very little socialization outside the in-studio interaction. Being on a collegiate team truly is one of the best experiences in my life.

For these reasons, I find photographing these competitions so much fun and so rewarding.

If you dance, why do you dance and/or compete?

Next Big Thing!

July 30, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I am very excited to announce that I will be photographing Yale's Ballroom Competition in October! Yale Ballroom Dance Team, I can't wait!

Who else is planning on going?

Go check out their website and get excited!

4th of July Photoshoot

July 09, 2014  •  Leave a Comment




This past 4th of July, I spent part of my weekend at an amazing dance camp called Independence Day Ball, also known as IDB. This camp is a 5 day event that ran from July 3rd-6th. Top coaches from around the US come together and teach workshops to amateurs dancers to inspire them further in their dance career. Not only does this camp do workshops, but it has a Q&A session called Pizza with the Pros, and they take everyone out to our Nation’s Capital to watch the fireworks on the 4th! It truly is a spectacular event.

I wasn’t here as a dancer this time around. I was asked to take photographs for one of the professional’s website. Dan Calloway is a professional dancer, located in the DC area, teaching private lessons to all sorts of competitive and non-competitive couples, as well as teaching the competitive collegiate teams in the area. I was able to visit 3 of his workshops over the course of IDB and photograph them for his website,

Above are my favorites from the shoots. The first shot is from his floorcraft workshop, where he was helping dancers find great ways to navigate the dance floor with 20 other couples on the floor with them. In this shot, Dan is showing off a stationary figure called a contra check that can be used to bide time while couples are in your way. The second picture is from his Vienese Waltz workshop, where Dan was teaching the students how to make V. Waltz easy to dance, as many dancers know if can be very hard to dance in quick circles for 90 seconds in a row. And the last photo is from his “Dancing with your Entire Body” workshop. In this class, Dan was showing the students how important using your entire body, but more specifically your back, to dance, rather than just your legs in your arms. He demonstrated that the dancing looks more active and engaged when using your back.

I had a great time at IDB and working with Dan, and I look forward to working with him in the future.

This past may, I was given the amazing opportunity to photograph...

July 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
Dance Legends 2014

Dance Legends 2014

Dance Legends 2014

Dance Legends 2014

Dance Legends 2014

Dance Legends 2014

This past may, I was given the amazing opportunity to photograph a major dance event called Dance Legends. This is a two night affair in New York City, that brings top dancers, past, present and future, out to perform. This year’s line up was incredible. Not only were current champions Mirko and Edita, Arunas and Katusha, and Michael and Joanna there, but some very special couples came out of retirement to perform.

One of these couples was the very own Karina Smirnoff and Slavik Kryklyvyy. Many of you know Karina from Dancing with the Stars, but before that she was a world class dancer who has won many titles. It has been ten years since they have danced together, and it was incredible seeing them back together. It seems like no time has past between them. If you ever get a chance to see them in person, go! It is a real treat to watch them perform.

Besides the great professionals that perform at Dance Legends, some of the worlds top amateurs are given the chance to showcase their hard work at Dance Legends. These top amateurs hope to one day, take the place of the current champions once they retire. These amateur showcases were just as beautiful and wonderful to watch as those of the pros. I cannot wait to watch these couples grow and mature in their dancing. And I hope to one day seem them standing amongst the pro finalists.

Besides being able to photograph this great event, I also was able to help the more seasoned photographers who were also invited to this event. Talking to them was amazing! They were all wonderful and so helpful, as this was my first time working with the spot lights. And let me tell you, it is super weird lighting to work with. It was awesome to be able to talk to them and learn new things and bounce ideas off of them over the course of two days. I look forward to working with them in the future!

I would like to thank Ily and Elena Zislin, the hosts and organizers of Dance Legends, for bringing me on board! It was a blast and I cannot wait for next year!

The photos above are some of the photographs I shot from Friday night’s show. Look out for more to come!

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