A few weeks back I had the chance to catch one of my favorite local bands Archie Alone play a free set at WPCS. The radio station was filled with energy, youth and one out of place old guy (me). As with any event of venue. The room presented it’s share of challenges when it came to shooting. A rather small room where I was inches from the band and cinderblock walls that returned a heavy shadow when I used my flash. Making it worse, I accidentally brought my 28-135 lens as opposed of my 15mm fisheye. After making a few adjustments and coming to the realization, I was just there to listen to some music. I managed to get some usable images of singer Nicole Mesce for an upcoming interview with the band. Though I’ve improved my overall clumsiness in recent years. I still manage to pull off boner moves such as not checking my camera bag on the way out. At least I made it home without losing my lens cap. Until the next time…
After months of toiling and tweaking I’ve launched a new WIX site that focuses on my music photography. It features live and studio work with numerous bands and musicians. Be sure to stop by and visit. Thanks
Though I would love to shoot all my concert photos without the distraction of flash the lens I normally use (Canon 15mm Wide USM) simply does not give me the speed I need to get the sharpness a lot of my work requires. A couple of years back I did a little research and found that Canons 50mm 1.4 had the speed I needed to get the job done. However, the fact that the bulk of my concert shots are taken in small to medium venues made for a lot of really tight shots. In bars and taverns such as Maxwells those tight crops were more like head shots.
So over the past weeks I did my share of tests with both the Canon 50mm 1.4 and the Canon 15mm Wide Angle USM. Shooting on Manual Mode and changing the settings to adjust to the light I was able to produce some interesting results. While using the wide angle approach I was able to get right in the eye of the storm and get some interesting and artistic results. Though most were blurred and disposable, I did find some keepers amongst the ruins. The next night I played around with the 50mm 1.4 and though I was able to get crisp image after crisp image, the distance from which I shot made me feel more like a bystander. There was really no comparing as far as I was concerned. Although shooting without flash adds a sense of intimacy and storytelling to my images. I felt the wide angle clearly gave me a the exaggerated vibe I want in my work. It gave me a sense that I was right in the middle of the action as opposed to the bystander element that the former produced. I’d love to hear from other concert photographers about their experiences and approach. I’m always looking to experiment and try different things as I move towards creating my own style. I look forward to the challenge.
Considering how much concert photography has dominated my life as of late. I thought I’d take a moment to post some recent images I shot at what has become my home away from homes, Maxwell’s. While I’m here I might as well plug the blog and website I’ve been spending so much free and not so free time working on.
In the last year or so I’ve seen a lot of evolution in regards to my concert photography. Part of that can be traced to my purchase of the Canon 15mm wide angle lens. The shots I’ve taken with it have been my best by far. Though it requires me to get a lot closer and in the grill of some of the musicians it has helped to really feel the music on an entirely different level. I no longer a bystander. I’m right in the cage with the lions. Whether or not I get eaten up is up for grabs. I do however feel I’ve carved out my corner there. I feel that I’m getting more and more positive feedback lately ad it feels good.
I started United By Rocket Science with my friend Dave back in May and have enjoyed every minute of it. Both Dave and Me have seperate blogs/sites that, at the time, weren’t giving us a lot of inspiration to work on. Combining forces really gave us the kick in the ass we needed. Since we started we’ve been focused on doing reviews, interviews and covering local music to our best ability. It’s been a blast exploring the vastness of the music coming out of the basements and beer halls of the tri-state and beyond. Check us out and help spread the word.
After a long day of good food and gallery hopping in Chinatown, SOHO and The Lower East Side we began to head West on Houston to catch the Path Train back to Hoboken. Stopping here and there to check out some of the artisans that sell their gear in front of that church I came upon one particularly interesting table. The man and his wife were selling these intriguing artifacts they cleverly restored and made into jewelry. As I listened to the man explain the background and process to an interested party I started to set up my camera to sneak a shot of this very interesting looking gentleman. I could have pulled it off without him noticing but would I get a really honest telling shot? I got over my shyness and began an interesting conversation with Scott. I then asked him nicely if I could take a picture of him. He obliged and I left with both a story and a picture. You can check out some of Scott’s work at www.newyorkartifactart.com I’m sure you’ll be impressed.
Fall of the Albatross proved to me once again to never judge a book by it’s cover. I was about to head out when the band began to set up their equiptment on stage. Their singer immediately caught my attention. Not exactly the type of guy your used to seeing at a Metal show. Something about his look and personality reminded me of Keenan Thompson from SNL. There was definitely a charm about him. As the band started to play I was immediately reminded of Living Color (That is in a good way) Tight musianship and damn did this kid have some major singing chops. His range matched with the bands precision and ability to put their unique stamp on any style or genre were amazing.The band hails from Jamaica Queens which is a short distance from where I grew up so it immediately felt like I was supporting the home team. Basically, I was blown away. This was a great example of why you should always get to the show early and leave late. Make sure you give every band a chance and don’t be afraid to say hello after. Tell them you enjoyed their set.
On Sunday the 17th I l headed South on the NJ Turnpike to New Brunswick for brunch and an Punk show at the legendary Court Tavern, We swept into town super early and did a little (actually, very little) exploring before grabbing a bite around the corner. All ages matinees are a rarity at the Court Tavern but Shannon Perez more than made it work. Instead of having the show downstairs or even in the back where numerous minors would be passing the temptation of the bar she had it in a small room just off to the side of the front door. (No one would even get as far as the bar.) The show opened with a five piece from Maplewood called Polyphony (more on them in my next post) and followed with Shannon’s band Hope You Die before making way for Four Fingers.
Four Fingers is a band I interviewed a little over a year ago and have kept in contact with since. I can’t think of a better group of guys to throw your support to. Their style reminds me a lot of Adrenalin O.D. with some Blag Flag and Stooges thrown in for good measure. Tohm puts 125% of himself into every performance. Always making the crowd feel involved and injected into the music. I think a lot of that leads to his many performance injuries which again makes me think of the Stooges. This performance was the tightest I’ve seen them and to give Tohm proper credit, he didn’t injure himself or any one else for that matter. Chris reminds me a lot of Animal on the Muppet Show. Pounding away on the drums with wild abandon. I’ve never seen any one get so close the the skins while he was pounding them. Be sure to keep your fingers away from his mouth. Ryan, the newest member has fit in well and seems to be the glue they’ve needed all along. Then there’s Jeff. He seems like the calm within the storm but his guitar playing is a sickness there seems to be no vaccine for. Check them out if you get the chance.