Geek speak – gear I used was a simple kit of a Nikon D7000 DSLR (Amazon | eBay) body, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 (Amazon | eBay) plus Nikon 105mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor (Amazon | eBay), SB-800 speedlight (Amazon | eBay) turned down to 1/128th power for some shots. Mix of slow shutter speeds, rear curtain flash sync, high ISO settings, fill flash and dumb luck being in the right place and anticipating some cool stuff.
(1 part finding a post in the drafts folder, 1 part nostalgia for the old hangout downtown, 1 part chicken logo – shake & enjoy)
What to do on the way home from shooting 10 hours of wedding fun on a hot muggy day? Stop by a sweaty hot back room hardcore band debut show at Generic downtown. (I mean at that point I already needed a serious shower and had camera gear handy from a wedding shoot so if ever I was prepared for such a show it was that moment.)
If you like our Facebook page these photos and more came across your feeds last November when The Almost were in town. Nothing like a good local basement venue show to get up close and personal to enjoy the music. The girls fans loved being feet away from lead singer Aaron and the band too, and I’m always a fan of free reign to shoot from wherever I prefer. Here’s a couple of favorite shots from Aaron Gillespie, former drummer of Underoath, and The Almost’s stop at Church of the Heartland in South Bend’s own River Park neighborhood.
Thanks everybody for the flood of requests for reminders to see the wedding photos! While I’m working on the edits…
In my 8 years of wedding photography I’ve never before personally seen a bride and groom put together such a dance routine mix, and even more to have the entire bridal party – a pregnant bridesmaid, the bubble girl and everyone in between – tear it up for this dance!
I’m counting a whopping 15 song medley for their choreographed bridal party dance at the reception. Whoa!
The Right Stuff – New Kids on the Block
Born to Hand Jive – Grease
Keep On (Dancin’) – I’m hearing the Brady Bunch kids on that one
When a concert promoter friend of mine texted me “man u have to see these guys’ road production stuff” I grabbed a camera and headed over to check out Attaboy & News From Verona’s Everything Matters Tour stop in Plymouth. The tour’s free (donations welcome!) and my experience of most bands bringing gear consisted of boxes to stand on that had flood lights in them, not much else.
From a production geek standpoint, I was impressed. It upstaged the lighting gear from most the local shows I’ve rigged and worked, pretty slick setup.
If geeking out over production setups isn’t your thing, here’s something everyone can appreciate: a show that looked as good as it sounded! And when a show looks good, it photographs all the better. Here’s a few favorites to illustrate.
News From Verona
This guy Grifin was having such fun in the front row they recruited him to rock out on stage for a song.
Reiterated confession: I’m a live performance & visual media junkie.
The anticipation, nervous energy before the stage comes to life, and one-shot no retakes atmosphere gets my creativity charged up. I absolutely love the countdown to go time. Troubleshooting in a pinch to make it work and look flawless. Fast paced action all around! (These all translate just fine to wedding photography moments too… but that’s another post.)
Earlier this month I joined the production of Caught – a senior thesis turned full out dance production by Hannabeth Fischer. A brief excerpt from the show’s event page goes like this:
Artistically acclaimed “mesmerizing”, “enthralling”, and “beautiful the whole way through,” Caught is up for it’s second run in South Bend, IN. Choreography and film: Hannahbeth Fischer. After a highly successful debut at Saint Mary’s College in November, Caught has grown. Adding two musicians to the original sound artist, Patrick Quigley, the Analecta trio is complete. Analecta is a group of rising local musicians: indie, progressive, classical. http://www.myspace.com/analectaband
Experience a cross-platform performance with digital film and dance, playing on the borders of Dance Theater. Live sound engulfs the entire audience, the entire building. This performance, while beautiful on camera, cannot be experienced anywhere but live. Fischer’s statements about movement, duality, tension, architecture, desire, and interaction permeate the multiple channels.
Audience members should look forward to an exciting new space at LangLab. The truly unique space, conducive to incubation and artist musings, will shock many that it exists in South Bend.
Fischer shot some of the film for the projection in the space, adding a unique parallelism to this run of the piece. This is LangLab’s first full length dance performance. Neither South Bend nor LL have experienced a full kinesphere performance such as Caught, and should make it out to LangLab on December 10. Fischer and collaborators welcome conversation in the post-show hang time.
Aside from the usual available light performance photography I also worked with a great crew to provide video and multitrack audio recording for the performance portfolio DVD project. This was a first to go a huge step past mics-mixer-camera to allow for precise audio postproduction mixing of the single-take recording. Translation: geeking out.
Shots made with Nikon D700 and Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 lens in existing light / video projection.
Technical challenges outside of the recording side included adapting a theatrical stage performance at Saint Mary’s College to the LangLab warehouse art venue (very cool feel!). Full theatrical lighting and dimming control was simplified to fit the intimate space. I do enjoy a good brainstorm and improvisation!
Congrats Hannabeth and the cast of Caught on a wonderful 2nd performance! Glad to have been part of it!
UPDATE! Jan 2011 – Check out the LIVE recording album the band made from the audio tracks from the show.
Kingston Falls was one of the first local hardcore bands I remember hearing as well as mixing at old Underground Cafe shows. It was a weekend of reminiscing with music between seeing Kingston Falls again Friday and Analecta Thursday. I’ve seen Analecta’s bassist Calvin all around local music since the old Underground shows. Now that I’ve got plenty of loud music ringing in my ears this week it’s time for some office work, family time, and football this weekend.
Last shot of the whole Kingston Falls set, looks like the mic is out of reach.
One shot from Close Your Eyes. It was my first time seeing them and I wouldn’t mind having them in another show soon. There’s a similar version of this shot in the header slideshow on our blog – check it.
Update 11/28/10 -The same gear I took to this show is quickly becoming my lightweight concert photography gear kit I use most:
Nikon D700 for high ISO low light shots (ISO3200 when dim, less when there’s adequate lighting)
Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AF wide angle
Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF macro for closeups on tight stages
Earplugs – get close to the speakers and amps for tight spots to shoot from without losing your hearing
Walking to a good angle. Sometimes you gotta walk in front of people or *gasp* up on the edge of the stage for a better-than-camera-overhead-at-arms-length shot. (See next step for bonus tip)
Knowing people helps. Make friends with promoters, bands, and of course, the production crew. This makes creeping up onstage a little less likely to get you blasted by the guy running the fogger or moved back by stagehands. (I’ve run the fogger and been a stagehand… trust me on this one.)
Last night I dropped by Generic in downtown South Bend to catch Analecta play a live set. Decided to play with my Nikon D700’s high ISO settings in low light. I positioned myself in an open spot across from most of the moving lighting where pretty much all the light was above and behind the bassist up front. It would make your eyes crazy after a few minutes, not to mention mess with a camera’s autofocus. Perfect spot for test shots. The D700 locked focus excellently even in very harsh backlight on top of all the less-than-ideal setings. Seriously – concert lighting is rarely rigged for photography, which makes it all the more fun to find and make good shots in dodgy lighting.
Nikon D700 with 24mm lens. ISO 3200, 1/25th sec @ f/2.8
10.5mm f/2.8 fisheye lens – 1/4 sec exposure at f/3.5 to burn in some of the color. Not even the black ceiling is that dark any more.
Thursday I got out to see a family friend and her theater company perform Gepetto & Son at the Battell Center in Mishawaka, Indiana. The cast did a great job on opening night!
I’ve always been fascinated by stage productions. The anticipation, split timing and single-take, no-redo LIVE production always seems to be my favorite. I love mixing and producing a live concert. Studio recorded audio is a different world to me. The LIVE version is my preference in photography too – I get charged up from the energy as a bride and groom await their wedding ceremony and celebrate the night away. (Our Engagements and Senior Portrait sessions are pretty lively too, don’t get me wrong.) 😀
Back in 2002 I directed and produced a 3 act play with students in Junior and Senior High school, and it was no easy task. Director Jon West and Assistant Director Laura Miller have my respect and applause for what it must require to produce such a great production with most of the cast far younger than even mine was! Bravo!