I really love concert/event photography.
There are subtleties in every genre of photography that separate the great from the amateur, and I want to learn those subtleties in live music settings; I want to keep practicing and getting better at it.
So when I saw that a friend of mine was playing a show in Indy I asked if I could shoot it, and the band kindly obliged. It was a smaller room than I’ve shot in before so I was a little intimidated, but that was also exciting because smaller rooms can offer more intensity and intimacy.
I discovered the main spotlight and camped myself on the other side of it in the corner of the stage, channeling my inner Abrams as I played with lens flares. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for lens flares. One fun thing about shooting right into a spotlight in this environment is playing with the aperture settings, because a lens flare at f/3.5 can look pretty different than the same lens at f/2.8. The smoother flares come from lower f-stops, and the "star-pattern" flares come when you stop down to higher f-stops.
The bands themselves were great, and I just loved being that close to such high-level musical expression and unity. Taking photos four feet away from a drummer and right in front of a guitar amp is a really raw and exciting way to experience a good, tight-knit band.
I learned a lot through the experience, and one of my biggest technical take-aways was that if you want to capture the connection that a whole band has with each other during an intense moment, a wide angle lens is a great way to capture all of them and still have an immersive shot. I spent much of the evening missing good moments until I finally decided to get a little more bold and get closer with a wide angle shot over the top of the band. I probably could have gotten even closer but I didn’t know the guys very well and didn’t want to be intrusive. Something to try next time!
I don't know what it is about backstage/green room time that I love so much...maybe it's the anticipation that comes from knowing that you're all about to go do something you love for people who chose to subject themselves to it. It's the feeling of knowing that you're unified in passion. No one thinks about that consciously in the moment, but I think that's what makes it special. There's just a great spirit in the air before and after shows that I really enjoy.
Photos of musicians hanging out, especially in a "green room", always seem a little glamorous...but there's a reason that some of these guys still have their coats on. It was super duper cold, as though the heat weren't on at all. But that added to the charm, it was a reminder that we were all choosing to be here together.
Coyote Talk mostly played originals, but their set list included a cover of Jackson Brown's "Runnin' On Empty", a song that I love that has one of my favorite guitar solos of all time. I was nervous when they started it, wondering how they'd handle a piece of music that is special to me, and I was relieved and enthused when Josh did a great job with the solo.
This is his guitar solo face.
I love the moments after a show. This wasn't a wild bar/party kind of evening, it was just a group of people getting together to do what they love, and any time that happens it makes me sentimental. That's why I took these last few photos outside as I was leaving, because I wanted to remember what a calm, beautiful evening it was. The cold outside made what was happening inside seem even more cozy and special. That was my experience, anyway.
I did a couple test shots with my Freefly Movi M5, which I'd received in the mail earlier that day. I had my friend Brandon walk up and down the sidewalk a couple times, and the footage was so cool because of the location and the falling snow.
I wanted to stay and shoot photos and video out on the snowy street all night, but I was tired and without the youthful energy I had ten years ago when these kinds of evenings were more commonplace. The appeal of staying out with friends all night changes when you've got a warm house and a loving wife to go home to. Still, I was grateful to be immersed in this world again, if only for an evening.