This year events seem to be few and far between. Almost at the last second, my young Child Bride (CB) and her dance companion decided to attend Nadirah Nasreen's Annual Hafl at the Pasha Land restaurant in Gaithersburg MD. Reservations were made over the phone for the following night (Sunday) and the excitement slowly started to build for both of us. Her, because she loves the Dance , and has so for almost 35 years. Me, it was an event, my real passion, photographing events. I have my favorites but as a rule, The Middle Eastern Dance events are not on the top of my list.. Don't get me wrong, I love photographing Middle Eastern Dancers of all shapes and sizes. And what's not to love, the colors, movements, music? No what's not to love is the venues.. It's a real challenge to capture a worthwhile images of the dancers in a High School Gym, Senior Center, parking lot or worse. Which with small exception is where they are. Fact of life, the girls love to dance where ever they can to show off their skills, and to do this "You takes what you gets."
But I have, as they say, digressed. We both went into our usual preparation modes, hers are not for public consumption, mine are more of a mechanical nature. Batteries to be charged, cameras & lens' needed to be selected. Which always proves to be a dilemma. Most times not knowing the where's why and whens of the venue always makes it at best, a guess. This time not being different, I decided to travel light with the 5DMII, a 50mm f/1.2, 100mm f/2.8, and one flash to deal with what ever lighting situations were presented.
When we arrived at Pasha Land at the appointed time, I was a bit distressed to see the restaurant was really not that large, and was packed with dancers and guests, with space already at a premium . which built when we came to find out our reservations had more or less, "flown the coupe". Lucky for us the owners daughter did some magic logistical redirection and we were ushered to our table, right out front. This was much appreciated by CB and friend as they almost were out on the dance floor. For me any use of the 100mm F/28, was ruled out. The only other bullet I had was the 50mm f/1.2 which was still a little long for this space. ("Darn why didn't I pack a wide angle?" ) As the excitement built, drinks ordered, menu choices made, I stated to realize the pickle i was in. When the dancers started to line up for the first group dance, the front line was only a foot and a half away from the front of the lens.
Nor perfect but Oh well, time to make some lemonade.. It's only pixels anyway. The music started, the light dimmed (I wish) and the magic started. Knowing things were far from perfect but I would get what I could i sat back, stretched my right pointer finger and started firing away. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of whirling dancers, delicious food and trying to get that "perfect shot.
A note of apology to the dancers, I was unable to capture "keepers" of all the dancers due to their proximity and lighting, and I'm still trying to mach the dancer listed in the flyer, to the images..
My thanks to all involved in making Nadirah Nasreen's Annual Hafla! a smashing success. The images posted are from my Flickr site but many more are posted or are in process of being posted on my gallery site. so check back often. .