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Austrian GoaTrance Photos: Cosmic Party WUK 27-1-2007

Great party on an icy Saturday night in Vienna.

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Great dancing from this group of friends
this is what I love about goa
the music, the light and the joy
flowing through one’s whole body.
Perfect moment.

Beautiful people. Nice atmosphere. Full, but not too crowded. Nothing worse than a goatrance party where there is no space to dance.

non flash WUK picture
One of the few non flash photos I took that night
gives a good idea of the atmosphere to the naked eye
Ethereal and lovely dancing
Ethereal and lovely goa dancing
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Her dancing had a lot of R ‘n B groove as well as the goa floating
interesting hybrid dance style

A lot of my old friends weren’t there. The scene seems to be changing quite a bit. I’ve been working too much to be out at late night parties.

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It may was well have been summertime…

Really good sets from all the imported DJ’s.

I took a bunch of goatrance pictures using a new technique. I used my Pentax SMC 50mm f1.4 manual lens, but with the built-in flash on the Canon 20D. This is a nice setup as it doesn’t look all that official. No big protuding flash and no huge lens, white or otherwise.

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Great sets all night
If anyone can identify this DJ, please do so in the comments

This is a nice technique which I came up with last week by accident. The Canon 20D is a smart enough camera to recognise:

  1. the amount of light coming in with a stopped down lens
  2. where the focus spot is (if there is one) and regulate the amount of flash coming out of the lens

For all my loathing of the warranty policies and fragility of Canon gear, they do do a few things really right:

  1. sensors (the low light quality pictures is unbelievable)
  2. electronics – the internal processing on the camera turns out great guesses at the right setting for wonderful pictures even before you start with post processing
  3. those same computers do a great job with measuring light with a manual lens stuck on
  4. great mount compatibility – the EOS mount is one of the few mounts which can take my Pentax lenses as well as Leica and legacy Nikon glass as well

The difficulty is that to get the right amount of light and depth of field I have to stop the lens down to f5.6 or f11. From f8 and higher you really can’t see through the viewfinder to frame your picture and choose your moment.

The solution for the framing issue is to compose the basic frame through one eye but to use my other eye to catch the moment to pull the shutter.

The other big issue is focus. It’s very difficult to focus in the circumstances. In retrospect, one needs to use the distance markings on the lens. I am going to spend some time testing distances to find out how accurate the distance markings are with my cropped down DSLR. They seem pretty close.

Goatrance Dancer
Traditional Goatrance dance style
with straight bending at waist, and high step
This photo highlights a danger with manual focused lenses.
Had the focus been automatic, this would have been a great picture.
On the other hand, autofocus is very shaky in the dark,
so either using an infrared flash (auto focus) or simpler still
using the set focal distances on the lens (manual focus lenses).

While working with the people, it’s quite different with a flash. Some people have a tolerance of only one or two pictures. Others are good with five or six pictures. But you really don’t have many more photos than that.

It is possible to return to the same group and shoot them again a little later.

Radiant Goa Girl with hair loose
While 50mm is a nice portrait lens (80mm equivalent in 35mm),
it’s hard to get this kind of unobstructed space to work in a party enviornment

The limited number of photos possible of any one subject does mean that one really has to have one’s technical house in order before starting a photo session like this. As a photographer shooting movement, ideally one would have the opportunity to overshoot a subject to be sure to have perfect frames. But it’s just not possible with non-professionals and flash.

It’s probably better to undershoot and wait for one’s frame. But in a party like this, the public will give you as a photographer a limited amount of space and time to do your work. You can’t be set up on one person for more than a couple of minutes at a time.

In the end, it’s up to me as the photographer to control the environment around me better. You have to take your space politely but firmly. With real assurance.

Also on the human interaction side, I didn’t have cards with me pointing to this website and the Dance gallery. People are used to photographers having cards – I’ll have to get another set of cards done for La Vie Viennoise and my photography.Something for the new graphic designer to do at Foliovision.

Martin and Julia
They are a very interesting couple, Martin is more goa
while Julia is more into the commercial music scene
with a real R ‘n B kind of grind to her dancing (see linked photos).
Quite frankly it’s good to see a more diverse crowd at a goa party.
There should be more mixing. At one point there were about five
or six people that did both goa and goth in Vienna. Some were like chameleons.
I’d like to try to get a better photo of them sometime.
I do have some good individual shots in the main gallery.

Finally, I should concentrate on the people who are comfortable being photographed. My best photos by far were of the most enthusiastic subjects. I got whole series of wonderful dancers. Alas some of the best photos in terms of composition and subject were marred by focus issues, but as this was the first time using this setup in a live situation (always test new techniques at home first), next time I should have a lot less technical issues.

I also feel like while the 50mm lens takes wonderful portrait shots it really doesn’t let me get any whole body shots at all. I need to be able to get closer to my subject (meaning I need less clear space to shoot.

While I don’t have the lens I’d like to be working with (the Canon 10-22mm for digital crop cameras only) yet, I did dig up out of my lens collection which will be a much easier lens to work with in these kinds of situations. The Pentax SMC 28mm f3.5 manual lens. It’s also another lovely heavy piece of metal and glass from the Pentax hayday when they were the world leaders in lens and camera manufacture in the 70’s.

I haven’t been using this lens much as the 3.5 f-stop is much too slow for my tastes as an available light photographer. After I finally figured out that there is no available light in a nightclub or a goa party and started to use flash – bottom f-stop is much less of an issue.

The Pentax SMC 28mm f3.5 lens will be perfect for this duty with its clear distance markings along the barrel. Worked a treat in tests last night.

DJs who played at the Cosmic Party included HUMAN BLUE (spiraltraxx – SWEDEN), MAGOON (yellow sunshine explosion – GERMANY), SLUG (nexus media – SOUTH AFRICA), COSMO (, GOBAYASHI (astralzone), OLIVER STONED (waldwegmuzik), SAMURAI (cosmic resident).

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