Event

Montreal Swing Riot 2017

As a lindy hop dancer I have known about Montreal's Swing Riot for a few years. I had always hoped to make it one year as it brought something new to the swing world that I had not seen before, the yearly infamous Street Dancers vs Vintage Dancers Invitational Battle. Professional lindy hop dancers can perform to a crowd and throw tricks just as much as the next professional dancer. Often thought of first as a social dance that your grandparents did (which it is), the showmanship side of it is equally as fun. And when lindy hoppers compete, watch out, people will be flying in the air. So at Swing Riot, two teams of vintage and modern street dancers were invited to battle against each other. Since it was invitational you knew the dancers were going to be great and the battle was going to have you screaming. This year's battle didn't disappoint. Both vintage and street dancers were amazing. In the end, the crowd crowned the street dancers as this year's winners.

Now for the technical side of this post. At the time, I had just recently upgraded my Fuji X-T1 for a Fuji X-T2. Because I wasn't the primary photographer for Swing Riot, I chose not to use my normal swing event OCF set up. I typically set up two flashes, but I wanted to test this camera and it's autofocus and low light capabilities. Seriously, photographing dancers (especially lindy hoppers) in low light with no flash is a huge camera test. Finally switching from my Canon 6D that I had been holding on to for solely this exact situation, to the Fuji was a tiny bit tricky. There's definitely a learning curve to the Fuji coming from a DSLR.  I have been shooting Fuji primarily (except dance and a few weddings last year) for a few years now. I have loved my Fujis and always gush about them. But this was a new test. A hard test for a camera system that has been known to not have the fastest AF. After a few tests of different focus settings I finally started to feel comfortable with it and then by the end of the night I was convinced. This Fuji X-T2 could hold up to the Canon 6D. I had learned how to adjust my shooting and was catching the moments I needed to catch. So, since then, I have sold my Canon 6D. I finally felt like the Fuji could do anything the DSLR could do. It was a great feeling.

505 Stomp & Rocky Mountain Girl Jam - Albuquerque and Denver Dance Events

Lindy hop. Chorus girls. Live music. Team Performances. Lip Sync Battle. Dancing until the wee hours. 

In April two dance workshop weekends happened back to back, one in Albuquerque, one in Denver. Dance weekends are the most fun times for a social dancer. You get to hang out with your dance friends all weekend, learn new things, and most importantly, dance, for hours!!!

505 Stomp is an annual lindy hop workshop held in Albuquerque each spring. Instructors are brought in from across the country, there are classes all day, dances all night, and laid back competitions during the dances. Rocky Mountain Girl Jam is a workshop weekend focused on follow technique and solo dancing. Performances and social dancing fill the nights.

I've been photographing 505 Stomp since it began in 2008, but this was the first year I made it to Girl Jam and got to photograph it as well! Both events were so much fun. If you are a dancer and have never made it to an event like these I highly recommend it.

505 Stomp

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Rocky Mountain Girl Jam

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Interested in having me photograph your event? Contact me

Game of Thrones Season 5 Premiere - Santa Fe

In Santa Fe, the city different, at George R.R. Martin's personal theater, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, HBO and GRRM hosted a Game of Thrones Season 5 premiere with a tiny red carpet on Saturday March 28, 2015. Now I just might be a Game of Thrones fan... so needless to say I was excited to shoot the event for the Albuquerque Journal. This also meant assistant arts editor and UpFront columnist Adrian Gomez and I were able to watch the first episode of the new season a few weeks early. High five! George R.R. Martin is a very cool cat and extremely generous. I even overheard him tell some fans that were passing by and stopped for a photo with him to wait around to see if any seats opened up so they could come in and view the episode. I don't know if they made it in or not, but for an invite-only event that was fully booked that was very kind of him. He and the theater also had earlier screenings in the morning for locals willing to wait in line. It was so popular they added an extra screening at the last minute.

Santa Fe is a great place for a celebrity of any caliber to live or visit. The city and state are so laid back that celebrities can really just be part of the community. During the after party a group of actors currently in Santa Fe filming "The Ridiculous Six" stopped by and mingled with party goers and of course took some time to pose on the red carpet, but more importantly, pet and pose with Flurry, an Arctic wolf that was visiting from the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary for the premiere. By the end of the night it honestly felt like the wolf was more sought after for a photo than any of the celebrities.

George R.R. Martin has lived in Santa Fe for many years, before the Game of Thrones empire took off. The theater he now owns, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, closed down in 2006, and he bought it, renovated it, and reopened it in 2013, much to the delight of many New Mexicans. It's a neat little theater and he pretty much shows whatever tickles his fancy.

Overall the premiere was quite laid back, heck the red carpet was all of 10 feet long. Whereas the season 5 premiere in San Francisco appeared to be what you would expect from such a popular TV show, with a much longer red carpet that stretched past the piles of media waiting to interview and photograph the show's celebrities. I watched the red carpet portion live on meerkat a few days before our own Santa Fe premiere. They were completely different experiences and I wouldn't trade ours for anything.

Read more about the premiere in Adrian Gomez's UpFront column: "Hollywood comes to the City Different." See more photos on our Albuquerque Journal photo page: Game of Thrones Season 5 Premiere.

George RR Martin Santa Fe
George RR Martin Santa Fe
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe Jean Cocteau
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe Jean Cocteau
George RR Martin Game of Thrones Premiere
George RR Martin Game of Thrones Premiere
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Game of Thrones Premiere
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
Game of Thrones Premiere
Game of Thrones Premiere
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
The Ridiculous Six at Game of Thrones Premiere
The Ridiculous Six at Game of Thrones Premiere
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe
Game of Thrones Premiere Santa Fe

Heights Community Center 75th Anniversary Party

A place where I've spent many Tuesday nights dancing and hanging out with friends, Heights Community Center celebrates 75 years of happy feet walking through its doors (and dancing on its floor).

Steve & Chanzie Denver Workshop - Highlights in Photos - Dance Photography

I've never blogged about any of the dance weekends I've photographed over the years so it's time to start! In December I photographed a workshop weekend hosted by Swingin' Denver. Here are my favorite images from the weekend.