Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet

Granddaughter Maya Egensteiner in her ballet number at last night’s recital. This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens(hand held at 150mm) and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/200 sec. at f/2.8 in Manual mode.

Two sensors above the central sensor/AI Servo Surround Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the Hanken School of Dance’s 20th Annual Dance Recital in Frostproof, FL. Granddaughter Maya Egensteiner was in five numbers and her dad, my son-in-law, Erik Egensteiner, was in two. Maya, younger sister of Sam, is the daughter of my older daughter Jennifer who is the Executive Director of BIRDS AS ART.

Kudos to Owner/Director Theresa Hanken for yet another great program. The dancers ranged in age from about 4 years old to the ages of the many involved parents. The two adult numbers, “Gotta Make Peace With It” (mostly moms) and “Dads” (the latter danced to Soul Man) left everyone rolling in the aisles. And “Waltz,” during which the Dads danced with their daughters, tugged on the heart strings of all. The quality of all the performances, which ran the gamut from modern to tap to jazz, to lyrical and the aforementioned ballet was incredibly high.

As I do each year when I am home and able to attend, I created a few images: 919 to be exact. This year I brought along the Canon EOS-5D MIII and my beloved 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. I worked at ISO 1600 and f/2.8 for almost all the images. The very fast f/2.8 aperture allowed me to get decent shutter speeds without having to go above ISO 1600. I varied the shutter speeds depending on the tonality of the costumes and the strength of the spotlights. I worked in AWB and as you can see below, getting the color just right required some fancy footwork on my part.

The title of today’s blog post is a take on a great number from “A Chorus Line.” I have seen this great musical three times, twice on Broadway, and the last time at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL, with Denise Ippolito. Though the audio is less than superb you can hear “Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet” on U-tube by clicking here.

This jpeg represents the original RAW capture. As you can see, I had lots of work to do on the color. Note that the original needed to be leveled and that I did a bit of stage clean-up and removed the thread that was hanging from Maya’s dress. Clean-up as usual with the Patch Tool and the Spot Healing Brush as detailed in
our Digital Basics File.

Removing the Color Cast

Noting the strong and unnatural RED/YELLOW color cast during ACR conversion I lowered the color temperature a bit. Once I had the image in Photoshop I ran an 80% Average Blur Color Balance adjustment on its own layer and followed that up with a 50% White Neutralizer filter in NIK Color Efex Pro. Lastly I reduced the YELLOW saturation 15% on its own Layer after hitting Control U. I used the Quick Selection Tool to select Maya, hit Shift/Control I to select inverse, and smoothed the background using a great tip that I learned from Denise Ippolito: Filter/Blur/Surface Blur. It actually works much better than Photoshop Noise Reduction on luminance noise.

My ACR conversion strategies are detailed in our Digital Basics File.Many claim that it is the best $20 that they ever spent on photography). Also included in Digital Basics are a variety of color balance techniques including Average Blue Color Balancing and Denise’s Surface Blur tip along with my complete digital workflow. For a great NIK tutorial click here.


As regular readers know NIK’s Color Efex Pro 4 is now an integral part of my workflow; I use it on 85% of my images. You can save 15% on all NIK products by clicking here and entering BAA in the Promo Code box at check-out. Then hit Apply to see your savings. You can download a trial copy that will work for 15 days and allow you to create full sized images.

Granddaughter Maya Egensteiner and her Dad in “Waltz.” This image was created with the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens(hand held at 100mm) and the Canon EOS-5D Mark III. ISO 1600. Evaluative metering -1 stop: 1/250 sec. at f/2.8 in Manual mode.

Two sensors above the central sensor/AI Servo Surround Rear Focus AF active at the moment of exposure. Click here if you missed the Rear Focus Tutorial. Click on the image to enjoy a larger version.

You Be the Judge: Hand of Man

Voting on the Hand of Man category will be closed at 8am ET on Monday, June 18. If you have not voted yet or seen the great images, you can do either here.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear used to create the images in today’s post. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2XIII teleconverter. I also use it a lot–depending on the situation–with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon EOS-5D Mark III. Man, I am in love with this camera body. Both the files and the AF system are superb.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

LensCoats. I have a LensCoat on each of my big lenses to protect them from nicks and thus increase their re-sales value. All my big lens LensCoat stuff is in Hardwood Snow pattern.
The Lens Align Mark II. I use the Lens Align Mark II pretty much religiously to micro-adjust all of my gear an average of once a month and always before a major trip. Enjoy our free comprehensive tutorial here.
BreezeBrowser. I do not see how any digital photographer can exist without this program.

11 comments to Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet

  • Vincent Scarnecchia

    Artie, you are blessed with a beautiful Grandauther

  • Artie,
    I LOVE this post you’ve given us. Maya certainly has grown up into a beautiful young woman–I’m so glad they are nearby so you can attend such functions from time to time (i.e., when you aren’t on the road.)
    What tickles me is that you shot 919 images during what must have been a relatively short period of a couple of hours–that’s more images than you sometimes make in a day at Bosque!!!! A very proud grandfather indeed. 🙂

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Jim! 919 images in about two hours of action. Most did not have Maya in them :). I would up keeping 179 images. We will let everyone know if we get an online gallery up. Later and love and see you on the Bear Boat soon.

  • Pat Fishburne

    Dear Art:

    Grandkids are great! Maya looks like she was having a wonderful time and her Dad looks so proud! Congratulations!!

    Pat & Stokes

  • What a lovely evening! Thanks for the color balance tutorial. Did you shoot in “silent” shooting mode? It’s amazing, especially that it supports continuous shooting.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Bill and YAW. I did not use Silent Mode as the music was loud :).

  • Beautiful dress and pose, and as Denise said very pretty. It must be that time of year, as my daughter had her recital last night as well…she is 4 and I find that age group quite comical to watch.

  • Paul Simison

    Congratulations on having the courage to show part of your family on this website. Your granddaughter is beautiful and her relationship with family is probably outstanding. Many people don’t have the opportunity to experience what you have with your family. Again, thanks for the article.


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks Paul, but no courage needed :). Both of my daughters are wonderful young women, married wonderful husbands, and together, have blessed me with four wonderful grandchildren.

  • Mike

    Very Nice, the 70-200 F2.8 IS II and the high ISO of the 5D III really shine in this kind of shooting.
    On a differant subject have you heard when the new 500/600 will be shipping to USA???

  • Maya looks so pretty! It sounds like you had a very entertaining night!