Monday, December 26, 2011

Anseong Cultural Festival

     I was glad that the next festival on the list is held here in Anseong.  It's actually a pre-festival festival.  It might have been scheduled a little early in the middle of the week, and I still have to work during the opening, but I'm still glad it's just nearby.  The problem is I have the dates and time mixed up.  It's not a really big deal but I was really looking forward to attend the opening.

     You see, three of these festivals are scheduled this week.  Two of them are held nearby (Anseong and Cheonan which is just 40 minutes away) and another in Seoul.  Forget Seoul!  I was after Cheonan and Anseong.  Cheonan decided to do a dance festival, and I was really hoping I'd come watch the show at least.  I got a bit intimidated by the Cheonan's programs as there was a photography competition.  It's a contest where photographers take pictures of the entire festival at a span of time, and the price is a bit huge.  I saw pictures of last year's event and I saw about a hundred photographers competing in one small space for this competition.  I though, "meh" I'm not up to the challenge.

     Sometime, I had this urge to come out to the city for dinner.  And somehow, I have this strange urge of bringing my gear out with me.  On my way after dinner, I was surprised that there are some roads closed and we're all re-routed to alternatives.  Then I started seeing some people in traditional Korean costumes.  I thought something's going on in here.  Little did I know that there was a parade an hour ago.  And little did I know that tonight was the opening.  It was a good thing that I started hearing music from nearby, and the traffic wasn't so bad.  I got myself in a park and sure enough, there were plenty of people.

     So I squeezed myself in the middle of the crowd, hoping I could get a good view of the show.  I wasn't able to come close enough and I was in the middle of quite a busy crowd.  People passing by, bumping and pushing everyone on their way, it was a horrible position for photography.  But I persisted and set up my tripod and camera.  The only lens I have that has enough reach was my Canon 55-250mm EFS kit lens.  Not a fast lens and the reach is just okay.  It's the only thing I could use though, so I just have to work it out.  I realized that shows like these have enough light.  This is good.  The problem is my angle of view.  I was stuck at the farthest left side from the stage.  But like I said, I just have to work it out.

     So I took pictures here and there and I was glad.  I got so excited when I saw some Filipino representatives showcasing lots of our traditional dances (it's commercialized so I wouldn't really call them "traditional").  And I know my lens, distance, light, position, and skills, wouldn't bring justice to this performance.  I know because I tried in the earlier part of the dance.  So I switched to video mode and just tried to get whatever is left.  It's a pity that I only got the very last part of it.
They started with a collaboration of dances from the highlands, featuring the "banga" dance.
Next off was a representation of Vizayan dances, the most popular dances within Philippines (except they didn't show the Philippines's true national dance).
Then comes what I think is one of the most beautiful sets of Filipino dances.  Representing the arts of Mindanao.

And for their finale, with the same music, came everyone to do their stuff in such a beautifully synchronized choreography.

The problem with this performance is the transition of music.  Everyone (that includes me) assumed this was the very last of it.  Little did we know that they still had one last dance (finale) to perform and I already shut down video mode.
     After this, was the best Korea could offer.  I suspect these dancers were the same ones I saw in Hyeoseok festival, but I'm not really sure.  Then again, this dance is pretty common here so I might be wrong.

Photobucket Photobucket

     It was utter chaos and for some reason, my lens was having such a hard time focusing.  It was hard enough to track the fast movements of the dancers, along with their complex choreography, and the fact that I'm not familiar with this dance.  To make it worse, my lens was going spastic with the lights.

With this view, you can see the distance I have from the stage.  And this image was already cropped just to get a better sight.
With me positioned at the left, I could only decently capture the right side of the stage.  See that boom at the top left of the image?  I kept trying to avoid that moving camera boom (for tv live broadcast).
       There's more of these awful pictures on my flickr page starting from this image:
To beat or not to beat
Just click on this picture and it'll re-direct you to my flickr page starting with this.
     Unfortunately, I came in a bit too late.  I was only able to catch the last two dance performances that night.  After which, there were lines of people making some speech.  I got bored and decided to go home.  Bad move!  I didn't get far enough when I noticed some banging noise.  It was the fireworks!  I was so upset with myself, I had to slap my face for it.  I wasn't able to capture any of it.  Oh well, next time.

     All-in-all, I think this was another educational experience.  I haven't performed well, but I realized my gear and attitude for these stage shows are just not good enough.  I bet if I payed more attention to the schedule, had enough time to set myself up, and a faster focusing lens OR better my skills, I would have come up with amazing pictures.  At least, good enough to showcase such beautiful performances.

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