Making Swan Lake

I’ve wanted to shoot a dancer on the water for the longest time, so when I found out that our Theatre Ballet would be presenting “Swan Lake”, I knew that I finally had my opportunity.  Shani Robison, the Director of BYU’s Theatre Ballet, liked the concept and we set about to make it happen. My idea was to put the dancer on a platform about an inch below the water, and take the photo at sunset with a simple background. I used Google Earth to scout all the small lakes within an hour or so of campus, and I found one that was about 45 minutes away. I went up to the lake early one morning to see it for myself and found a spot that would allow me to get the shot I wanted in about 2-3 feet of water.

Next came the platform. Stability was the most important thing about the setup, because I didn’t want the ballerina to end up in the lake instead of on top of it. My dad is a general contractor, so of course I went to him for ideas on how to make this happen. What we settled on was a metal platform that is used by guys that hang drywall. It was about 12 inches wide with very sturdy adjustable legs.

Bella Torgerson and Todd Wakefield find the perfect place for the platform in the mud. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo
Bella Torgerson and Todd Wakefield find the perfect place for the platform in the mud. Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

My plan was to set the platform in the mud where the water was 2-3 feet deep and then carry the dancer out to the platform. Continue reading Making Swan Lake

Dancing in the Rain – BYU Photo

By Mark A. Philbrick and Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

A few months back we were approached by our dance department to create a poster for their upcoming concert. One of the featured numbers involved students dancing in the rain so we thought that would make the perfect poster, as long as we provided the rain. In case you were wondering, we kind of have an affinity for water shoots as of late (Softball – Gymnastics). Continue reading Dancing in the Rain – BYU Photo

A Spin on Christmas – BYU Photo

By Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

This year we tried to create a really unique image for the annual “Christmas Around the World” Concert with the BYU Folk Dancers Company. We wanted to shoot directly down on a group of dancers with some fog and lots of different colored lights. The best way to do this was to attach our camera to a lighting bar directly above the stage and take it up 20 feet above the dancers. Continue reading A Spin on Christmas – BYU Photo