not really home for the holidays yet

On December 22, I went to a skating show in Plymouth, MI that Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto organized as a fundraiser. Belbin & Agosto are the 2006 Olympic silver medalists in ice dance, and since they train in Canton, MI, their Home for the Holidays show featured mainly Detroit-based skaters. I decided to go at the last minute, when an impending snowstorm in SW Michigan pushed my holiday travel plans back by one day. I was able to procure a media pass so I could photograph the show, but they didn't have time for me to get any interviews with the skaters - so they said.

I went with my best friend, Jules, and we a couple of people in the show - from being around skating events and such. We wanted to say hi to them, and since we saw some of the skaters dashing around the concourse (there was both an afternoon show and an evening show - we were at the afternoon show, so this anecdote takes place between shows), we tried to play it cool and hang around. Well, after about 10 mins, when there was no sign of anyone we knew well enough for chat, we decided to peace out. I saw an "exit" sign at one of the arena and realized that if this was, in fact, a door, then it would dump us out a lot closer to my car than the main door would. So we went through the door, around a corner, and right into the room where the skaters were having some dinner. Instant backstage access, and we weren't even trying. So we chatted, I got some quotes for my article, and then the real fun started when we decided to hit the mall, not factoring in the fact that it was the Saturday before Christmas until we started wondering why there weren't any parking spaces.

Home for the Holidays 2007 was my second endeavour into using my 20D in show lighting with coloured spotlights. I got mixed results. Plus, I wasn't too happy with the angle I had during the first half that featured the heads of the people in front of me, unless I wanted to stand the whole time, so I moved for the second half. I liked where I was sitting for the second half until I got the memory card home and looked at my shots. With teams, the best shots usually have both faces in them, but when you're sitting on the end, you don't get a lot of those. Oups. Lesson learned. On to the photos - only four this time.

Samuelson & Bates

This is one of my favourite photos from the show, and it was in one of the first numbers. I don't want to say everything went downhill from there, but maybe it did! Emily Samuelson & Evan Bates train in Ann Arbor, MI, and they were the 2007 U.S. dance champions on the junior level. About two months after this photo was taken, they became junior world champions. This program was sweet, and it featured a lot of innovative moves like this one. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Cirque Hoop

The show featured one Cirque du Soleil-esque number in each half. In the first half, two acrobats did crazy acrobatic things in a hoop suspended over the ice - with no mats, no pads. It was terrifying, but it made for some neat shots. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Chock & Zuerlein

Madison Chock & Greg Zuerlein were one of my favourite discoveries of the year. I saw them for the first time in August 2007. They have great charisma for a young team, especially one that has only been together for two seasons. A month after this show, they won the junior bronze medal in dance at the 2008 U.S. Championships. They train in Canton, at the same rink as Belbin & Agosto. 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Davis & White

Another team from the rink in Canton, Meryl Davis & Charlie White are one of my favourite dance teams, and I was thrilled to have the chance to photograph them for the first time. Unfortunately, they skated in the second half, when I was sitting on the end of the rink, so I have a lot of photos where Meryl looks great or Charlie looks great, but very few where they both look great. In this photo, for example, Charlie does not necessarily look great, but I think his expression kind of adds to the shot. I like it, anyway. Once again, 1/400, f/2.8, ISO 1600.

Read or view more of the show here.

Next time: Christmas and the return of those cute kids from my last post!

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