Category Archives: Music
Macklemore blew me away.
I shot the first three songs of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ sold-out show at The Knit in Spokane Tuesday. I’ve been to several shows in Spokane that just didn’t feel like the artists gave it 100 percent. The crowd is smaller in comparison to the real big cities, and I think the energy from the band usually suffers.
Not at this show.
Macklemore played the Knitting Factory like he was headlining a major festival playing to 100,000 people. It may have been partly due to DJ/producer Ryan Lewis growing up in Spokane. Whatever it was, it was amazing. The amount of talent these guys possess is clearly evident in their live performance, not to mention their latest album which reached No. 1 on iTunes, something that’s unheard of for an independent artist.
It was a tricky one to photograph, as the lighting was pretty dim for the first two songs. Also, this guy moves fast! But I was able to walk away with a few frames I’m proud to share with you guys!
I couldn’t help but use a horrible, cheesy pun for the title of this post.
I had the opportunity to shoot Fun.’s sold-out show at the Knitting Factory in Spokane Sunday. What a blast. I’ve been to a ridiculous amount of concerts (well over 100) and this show is one that will always stand out.
These cats have so much energy. It made for a pretty epic show, but a challenging one to photograph. It was always a struggle to get high enough shutter speeds to keep from motion blur. Access was the typical first three songs from the photo pit. Well, those first three songs flew by insanely fast. Luckily I got a few keepers.
I will definitely be seeing these guys again if I get the chance. Stay tuned to the blog for more concert shots. I’ll be photographing Allen Stone, the Avett Brothers and Dave Matthews Band this Sunday, The Memorials and Matisyahu in Seattle a couple weekends after that and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis later in October.
I’ve said it over and over — I love live music. I love everything about it. And when I’m given the chance to make some rectangles of musicians doing their thing, I’m all about it.
The great thing about a festival — other than the fact you get to shoot multiple bands — is the environment and resulting photo ops because of it. The music started at 7:30, but I started clicking my shutter at 6, precisely when the gates open. You see, it’s all general admission. Yeah, hundreds and hundreds of people fighting for those few precious spots near the stage. I got some pretty great snaps of people running as fast as they possibly could (no exaggeration) to get up front.
What a blast. Adam Durlitz, lead singer for Counting Crows, was nice enough to hang out with fans prior to the show and sign a few autographs too. It’s great to see a solid little festival in small-town North Idaho.
Stay tuned to my blog for more concert photos in the next month. I’ll be shooting Fun. August 26, Allen Stone, The Avett Brothers and Dave Matthews Band September 4 at The Gorge, The Memorials, September 21 in Seattle (Their drummer is from The Mars Volta and guitarist is a buddy of mine from Coeur d’Alene) and also Matisyahu, in which I’m the “official photographer.” I’ll get to meet Matisyahu himself backstage after the show!
Yeah, September’s gonna be a fun month.
Well, it’s been an insanely long time since my last blog post. But I have a (pretty legitimate) excuse.
I got to experience my first broken bone in the beginning of January this year. I broke and fractured my leg, went through surgery and was destined to spend the next couple months on my couch, bed and eventually crutches. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to do what I love for quite some time. But, I picked up a few photo books and furthered my education and inspiration in photography while I was making my recovery.
I’ve since been back on my feet and have made an excellent recovery. I can’t express how great it feels to have a camera back in my hands again. I’ve had quite a few shoots lately, so I’ll share a couple of my favorite ones in this post.
Last weekend I got to work with one of my favorite groups of people again — The Angela Marie Project. I’ve photographed these cats a couple times previously, one of those times being at the Annual Earth Day celebration in Downtown Spokane. They contacted me and arranged for me to shoot the Earth Day gig again.
But that’s not all.
I was offered the amazing opportunity to provide them with a shot for their upcoming album to be released this summer! You’ll have to wait in suspense on the album shots, however, as I won’t be posting them until after the album is released.
Here are some of my favorites from their Earth Day gig. It was a bloody, good time — literally — their guitarist sliced his finger open on a broken string halfway through the show, toughing it out and playing through the rest of the set without skipping a beat.
It’s always a blast to photograph these guys and you just can’t beat shooting outdoors in 70-degree sunshine in April. I want to give a huge thank-you to The Angela Marie Project for continuing to provide me with awesome opportunities to work with them. They’re a great group of people and terrific musicians. Give them a listen sometime if you haven’t yet!
I also had a really cool shoot recently with Albert Hurt of Silver Bullit Cafes. Al builds “cafe-racer” style motorcycles and hired me for a shoot of his pride and joy he just finished up – a Kawasaki KZ1000. I can’t describe just how awesome of a job Al did with this bike so I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. His attention to detail is incredible and this is truly a one-of-a-kind bike.
The photos will eventually be used to help sell the bike to its lucky new owner; however, since the bike is so rare and unique it is being featured in various online motorcycle publications. I feel very fortunate to not only take part in such a cool photoshoot, but to also get worldwide exposure with my photographs on top of it is just simply amazing. So far, the bike is published in Pipeburn magazine and Silodrome.
Here are a few shots of the bike taken at Industrial Park in Spokane, WA:
I’ve shot several bar gigs, but this one was different. This one had light — lots of it.
See, typically bars are very dimly lit and the stage (often stageless) area the band plays is no exception. But when I shot The Rhythm Dawgs at the Eagles in downtown Coeur d’Alene it wasn’t this way — in fact, they brought their own lighting. They had two light stands with four high-powered lights a piece. That, paired with the eight stage lights behind the band provided more than ample lighting to get some great shots — something unusual for this sort of gig. I was actually shooting some at ISO 800 with shutter speeds as high as 1/640! Compare this with the Blue Scholars Show I shot last weekend where I was shooting at ISO 3200 and 1/50, praying against logic that I would get something in focus without motion blur.
Furthermore, one of their songs even featured a cowbell. Never before have I had a chance at a good cowbell photo.
For this gig I used my 16-35mm f/2.8 wide angle and 50mm f/1.4 lens for all of the photos. I left the 70-200 at home, partly because the lighting is usually so terrible that using that lens is out of the question, but also I’m able to get so close to the action at these sort of gigs that there’s no need for a telephoto lens. Plus, it’s best not to leave a $1,200 lens unguarded in a bar when not using it.
All-in-all I’m very pleased with the photos. Instead of trying to polish turds I was actually having a hard time editing down to the keepers because there were so many great shots. For this blog entry I’ve narrowed it down to my favorite 20 shots.
Please, musicians, take a hint from the rhythm dawgs — buy your own lights to bring to gigs! It makes you look much more professional and in the event you hire a photographer, the photos will in turn be of much better quality.
Talk about frustrating.
I had the opportunity to shoot one of my favorite hip-hop groups performing in Spokane Friday — The Blue Scholars. The venue? Spokane’s A Club, an all-ages club with no photo pit and terrible lighting — I mean, downright awful lighting for a photographer to have to battle with.
The typical concert house will have a sectioned off area in front of the front row for photographers to shoot from. The A club didn’t have this. The typical concert house will have several high-powered stage lights to highlight the band members. The A Club didn’t have this. What this means is that I was destined to shoot the entire show from the sides of the stage and was restricted to shooting with only my fastest lens (50mm 1.4) because my f/2.8 zooms just wouldn’t work with the dim, often non-existent lighting. I also had little control over perspective, having to shoot from one spot the entire show.
So, in light of this, I decided to do something I’ve never done with a set of concert photos. I’ve mad them all black & white (well, almost all of them). Since the lighting was typical club/dance floor lighting, there were splashes of blue, red and green light all over the place. In converting them to B&W, I’m able to play around with the color sliders to lighten or darken them to make a more balanced photograph. Camera sensors have a hard time with red stage lights especially, leaving the areas looking posterized, so converting to B&W also eliminates that posterized look they have in color.
The most frustrating part was looking through the 800-something photos and throwing away one after another that caught a great moment and would be awesome had there been better lighting. I narrowed the photos down to only 50 keepers on just the first run through them. Going through them again I deleted another 20 or so, finally coming away with 13 out of the 800 that I’m comfortable with posting. That’s by far the worst rate of keepers I’ve ever come away with from an assignment.
All of the performers were stellar and I would love to shoot the Blue Scholars again at a better venue.
It’s not often you get good drummer shots.
Well, that’s all there was to offer at the 2011 Guitar Center drum off in Spokane. Eight competitors took to the stage to make three minutes of noise for three judges. Only two moved on.
There was an incredible amount of talent and diversity. Ages ranged from 17 to 50-something. Influences ranged from jazz to metal, John Bonham to Buddy Rich. All-in-all, it was a close competition, and everyone put on a solid performance. This was also the first music-related shoot I’ve done since getting my new equipment, and let me say, it really pulled through.
Everything was shot with a Canon 5d and 70-200 f2.8. All shots were taken at f2.8 and ISO 1600 or 3200.
I’ve said before that music is my favorite subject to photograph. Well, Vibe, playing at the Spirit Lake Bluz Festival, reinforced this feeling.
It’s not often you get to photograph a band performing outdoors in the sunlight. It’s also not every day you photograph them at nearly high-noon.
Vibe, a newly-formed Inland Northwest Blues-Based group, opened the festival with their 1 p.m. performance. They immediately gained the forming crowd’s attention with their gritty, funky blues jams. Their combination of professionalism and talent is something that is rarely seen in the local music scene here.
I was given freedom to roam around the front, sides and back of the stage, which provided me with a variety of angles for shots. I mostly stuck to my 17-35mm on my K10D with the 70-200 on the K20D. The backdrop of the stage was blue skies and trees which worked well for tight shots and wide shots alike.
As usual, the members of Vibe were easy-going and great to work with. I wish I could get gigs like this every day!
Sometimes you’ve gotta be selfish.
I love all the work I’ve done for clients. It keeps me busy doing what I love and pays my bills. However, I decided to take a break from taking pictures for anyone, opening the door to a world of pure freedom for my camera and I.
I set out on my road bike with my camera and 50mm lens strapped around my neck. In the matter of an hour or so, I managed to snap 24 shots in the downtown Coeur d’Alene area I thought I would like to look at. Nothing more, nothing less. I came away with 12 keepers.
Some people might hate some of these photos. Some people might hate all of them. But that doesn’t matter — see, that’s the point. If every time you click your shutter you’re making a photo that will appeal to everyone, you’re never going to find your style. I’ve been thinking a lot about what defines what I like in a photograph. This might be just a small glimpse of what that something is.
I’ve found that reducing what I see through my viewfinder to mere colors, lines and shapes tends to help me think outside of the box, coming up with something the average person wouldn’t see. Many of these shots were merely walls or doors on common buildings around town — Goodwill, a grocery store, etc. But for some reason, these rectangles caught my eye and deemed themselves worthy of clicking my shutter over.
I realize shots like these have little to no value for any sort of publication or potential client, but that’s the point. It’s not as if I’m going to start shooting the carpet or a wall during a wedding ceremony because I like the way it looks. It’s just that sometimes you need to shoot entirely for yourself, and that’s what the following images represent.
I love feedback, so please comment if you have any thoughts.