Sunday, June 29, 2008

Bali Arts Festival 2008- part 3

The opening parade of the 2008 Bali Arts Festival started only at about 4PM and since we arrived early, at 1:45PM, I had the luxury of time to check out the delegations as they prepared and queued along the parade route.

One of the contingents which stirred up rabid excitement from photographers when they emerged was the group of ladies with huge headdresses of yellow flowers. Unfortunately, the dance troupes did not bear any identifying signages of what regency or district they represented so I would affectionately refer them as “flowerheads”.

full costume
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/800s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400

To describe their headdresses as fabulous is accurate. Imagine peacock-shaped crowns studded with yellow flowers and traditional gold ornaments. Measuring at least three feet wide and two feet high, these headgears must be heavy. Up front, they were nothing short of intricate, consisting of concentric rows of champaca buds (cempaka), yellow plumeria or frangipani (kamboja) fashioned into squares and capped by a cascade of gold foil flowers.

Bali Arts Fest 061408_0047-3
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/60s, f/5.6, 240mm, ISO 100, +1/3 EV

The backside was just as stunning. Lush petals of yellow flowers profusely sprayed over the half-circular arc of the headdresses. They appeared like frangipani petals to me especially that they seemed to wilt slightly under the noontime sun. However, the strong light can be divine as it played boldly on the bare shoulder curves of the dancers, highlighting the elegance, if not the sultriness of the female form. When a dancer began toying with her extra-long beaded necklace which extended right down to her knees, my camera was quick to oblige.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/3200s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400

I continued taking portraits of these girls with my 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens, testing its rigor as an all around lens for street photography. When set at infinity, the lens is capable of acting as a telephoto lens although I noticed that the details either get blown out by harsh light or underexposed if under the shade. Exposure compensation is important and nothing beats doing test shots and chimping until you get the feel of the lighting conditions.

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/4000s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400, -2/3 EV

Definitely, the lens is excellent for closeup portraits. Its 100mm focal length means you don’t need to come too close and intrude into some body’s personal space. The f/2.8 aperture also provides appreciable bokeh but be quick with the manual focusing to get the appropriate plane of field.

flowerhead smile
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/1600s, f/2.8, 100mm, ISO 400, -1/3 EV

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