Jake & Jessica’s Very Metal Engagement

Early this winter while working with friends Judah at Fourth Tribe concerts and Jake at the River Bank venue to plan spring concert productions, I got let in on a big secret: Jake planned on proposing at the show. (Insert wailing guitar here!)

I gotta say he was looked pretty nervous while Armana Reign played and he waited to grab the mic before Haste the Day’s headlining set.

Jake greets the crowd, has the staff introduce themselves one by one, and when the last one was done he asked her to come back up. Still held it together pretty well at this point. Grabs the mic and re-introduces Jessica as his girlfriend and says “I’ve got a question for you…” drops the mic, drops to one knee, and gets the hugest smile ever while asking her to marry him. Everyone who could see the stage area went nuts cheering!

Most. AWESOME. Moment. Of. The. Night. – she said YES!

I’ve got to hear some pretty cool engagement stories but up till then hadn’t been in the same room or only a few feet away when the question was asked. WOW. It was crazy amazing excitement everywhere. People were flipping out…

And of course, Haste the Day played an awesome finale to this amazing day.

Congrats Jake & Jessica!

Personal: Night Light at Underground Cafe

More times that not I don’t bring a camera to the Underground cafe. Usually I’m busy mixing or lighting a band set, tired out, or eating while someone else mixes or lights a set. Tonight was more than well covered as Matt & Doug from One Way Audio brought in a new audio mixer to try out this week. This mixer is like the photography equivalent of having a full blown studio and new camera & lenses dropped in front of me. Way shiny, way cool, way helpful. We were more than well covered with these two pro technicians at front of house audio. (Think broadcast audio for Indy Car races, paid to go mix audio at the Wrigley Field and Notre Dame home games, and more.) Our headliner Paper Route brought an audio tech to fine tune their unique sound too, plus our two audio techs were both there, so I wasn’t needed to mix.

Got talking to some friends outside, and started snapping photos. The result is that of not having a game plan, not a whole lot of food, not much sleep, and lots of great laughs. Plus friends who are game for fun ideas can’t hurt.

Chris & Matt DFX band
Chris & Matt DFX band
Get jumped - 4 kids get air
Get jumped - 4 kids get air
Gravity is calling. Jump photo falling down.
Gravity is calling. Jump photo falling down.

Found a flashlight one of the bands left behind and used it for some painting with light portraits. Don’t leave shiny things that light up where I can find them. The bright light worked perfectly to paint this quick portrait. 6 second exposure, f/5.6-ish.

Ashley's paint with light portrait
Ashley's paint with light portrait

Switched it up for Mark’s last photo of being 20 years old. Just hours before his 21st birthday I fired up the “flashlight” app for my iPhone and found a green color to match his shirt. Nothing too fancy on this rather low-key photo. Not bad for 6 second exposures lit by a phone and distant street light. Not bad at all.

Mark's iPhone paint with light portrait
Mark's iPhone paint with light portrait

Lesson learned: try something new. Also keeping a tripod in the car and a flashlight nearby isn’t a bad idea.

the Rendition – March 7th debut

In addition to our Gallery Debut this weekend, Saturday night will also be a night of firsts for our friends The Rendition. This weekend brings their first show with the new band name, new music, and we’re thrilled to share the spotlight of “debut weekend” with Jess, Jess and Aaron!

From their announcement March 1st:

The Jess Strantz Band has been together for about ten months now. Originally formed around acoustic artist, Jess Strantz, who has successfully been stirring coffee shops and local venues solo for at least seven years now. She has incredible song writing ability, a voice that cannot be matched, and pure God given talent on guitar and piano.

With the addition of Aaron Busenbark on drums, keys, and percussion, the solo project began to take a turn in style. The duo brought in long time friend, Jess Stacy for bass guitar and synth.

As you can imagine, these changes have adapted the style and the band has “decided to sing a new song…” and taken the new name as of March 1st: The Rendition.

Aaron and the cymbal jungle

the Rendition band, now Von Strantz - Aaron and the cymbal jungle

Jess and the 5 string

then The Rendition now Von Strantz - Jess and the 5 string

Jess on keys / tambourine

then The Rendition now Von Strantz - Jess on keys, tambourine

Aaron and the bells

then The Rendition now Von Strantz - Aaron and bells

The magical practice room (featuring Jason on keys)

then The Rendition now Von Strantz - magical rehearsal room

Songs and shadows

then The Rendition now Von Strantz -

then The Rendition now Von Strantz - jam

Jams at Ugly Mugs

I’ve been fortunate to catch some good local music at Ugly Mugs downtown. The favorite and most recent is the Jess Strantz band. (What started as a solo piano / acoustic guitar vocalist act incorporated a shredding bassist and kickin drummer.) Here’s a handful of my favorite shots from the set while hanging with guys from the Underground Cafe crew.

Jess Strantz on acoustic guitar

Musicians Jess Strantz and drummer

Live music coffee house photography at Ugly Mugs

Ugly Mugs Coffee shop musicians drummer Aaron

Live music coffee shop performance bassist at Ugly Mugs

Jess Strantz Band - the Rendition - Von Strantz at Ugly Mugs South Bend Indiana

Well played, Jess, Jess and Aaron!

Update August 2014 – check out Jess’s latest musical ensemble Von Strantz

Jess Strantz at Borders

I have some pretty amazing friends. Some carry cameras, some carry paper and pen, some carry vinyl, others carry instruments, all carry their own art forms in some way. It’s an expressive collection of companions I keep.

Last weekend I caught up with one such creative pal, Jess Strantz. She played some acoustic and a handful of piano songs of hers over at Borders Bookstore in Mishawaka. Such a refreshing sound, lively, chill, excellent all around. As usual I brought a camera along to snap some photos off the clock. It helps me keep sharp shooting in available light and I got to snap with the 85mm f1.8 lens, a new favorite! Even though I was just shooting for low light practice and for my own use at a similar gathering years back, I actually met some very cool musicians and ended up shooting weddings for 3 of the bandmates after snapping some available light photos of their set and sharing the shots afterward.

Jess Strantz at Borders Bookstore

Drop me a line for your live performance & promotional photography!