Category Archives: Music

Ride the Moon Taxi

I recently photographed Moon Taxi at the recently-opened music venue in Sandpoint — The Hive. I had never heard of these guys until I stumbled across their show at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival a couple years ago and they killed it! It was interesting to see them play in a smaller, more intimate environment close to home.

 

It was a bit of a challenge photographing them as the lighting was a bit crazy and the place was packed (no photo pit), but I like shooting in these situations just as much as a huge venue with great lighting and a roomy photo pit to stomp around in. Photography is all about adapting to the situation and making the most of it. I really had to push my gear to its limits as you can see in the resulting grain in some of the photos.

 

If you like high-energy indie/alt-rock with some extended jams be sure to check these guys out if you get a chance. You can find them on iTunes, Spotify and if you just want to get a taste of them there are several videos on YouTube.

 

I did this set all in Black and White. Sometimes B&W just sorta feels right.

 

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Odds & Ends and Recent Work

The blog is back from the dead!

 

A while back my web hosting was interrupted for a few days which unfortunately resulted in the loss of some of my content and settings, leaving me unable to upload to my site. Everything has been restored and I’m finally able to upload photos again and make new blog postings, so you’ll notice many of my galleries have had some fresh stuff added.

 

I’m going to cover a lot in the blog post to get back up to speed.

 

WEDDING PACKAGES & PRICING UPDATES:

 

I think I speak for most photographers when I say that photography is ever changing – and that goes for the business end of it as well. I’ve taken note of what my past wedding clientele have been looking for in their wedding photography and have molded my packages more closely around what I’ve learned from you guys.

 

I believe that simple is better, and with that philosophy I’ve overhauled my wedding packages, offering three distinct packages based solely on coverage amount and the subsequent amount of final photos delivered. I’ve left enlargements, second photographers, albums and any extras along those lines separate of the packages with the ability to add them on an a-la-carte basis.

 

Here is a link to my updated wedding photography pricing: 2013-14 WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PRICING.

 

In addition to weddings, I’ve also provided a little more info and insight into my engagement, portrait and event pricing, all of which have their own price guides linked to the info pages on my site.

 

Speaking of weddings…

 

MEG + PAT’S WEDDING – BOZARTH MANSION – SPOKANE, WASHINTON

 

Spokane has some really great historical buildings to get hitched at, and the Bozarth Mansion is no exception. Add Meg and Pat to the mix — an awesome, easy-going couple  — and I couldn’t ask for a more perfect wedding to shoot. I really have the best clients in the world.

 

Thanks Meg + Pat for being so awesome and for letting me hang around for the day; it was a blast! Best of luck to you two!

 

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REAL ESTATE

 

The folks at Tomlinson Sotheby’s International Realty here in Coeur d’Alene have been keeping me busy shooting beautiful homes throughout North Idaho.

 

One thing that keeps photography fresh and exciting for me is the ability to shoot a variety of assignments. Architectural photography is something I had little experience with a few years ago, so it’s been fun gaining expertise and honing my skills in that area of photography.

 

If you or someone you know is a realtor and in need of professional photography for their listings, I have more information and a pricing guide here: REAL ESTATE PHOTOGRAPHY INFO

 

Here are some favorites from recent property shoots.

 

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COMMERCIAL/EDITORIAL + MISC.

 

I’ve been working up an appetite lately shooting photos for some area pubs and restaurants, including Black Diamond Billiards, Syringa Japanese Cafe & Sushi Bar and Tony’s On The Lake.

 

It was also great to hear from Al Hurt of Silver Bullit Cafés again to shoot his latest restoration, a 1976 Kawasaki KZ900 café racer. We headed up to Arbor Crest Wine Cellars in the Spokane Foothills and had a pretty epic shoot of the two-wheeled beauty.

 

The folks down at Alpaca Direct in Hayden make some seriously awesome (and warm) hand-crafted clothing and it’s always fun shooting their new products. We headed down to Honeysuckle Beach this time and braved the cold to get some fresh photos of hats, gloves and scarves.

 

The Copper Mountain Band came back to Coeur d’Alene to play at the new Country Club and had me photograph their show. It’s always a lot of fun shooting these guys and the new establishment has a pretty nice stage and lighting setup which was a pleasant surprise.

 

I did my first-ever golf course shoot, photographing each of the 18 holes at the Black Rock Country Club on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Black Rock is truly a unique and amazing golf course and reminds me of why I love it up here in the Inland Northwest so much.

 

I had an abosulute BLAST covering the North Idaho Fair & Rodeo in Coeur d’Alene. The Kootenai County Fairgrounds handed me a small shot list, an all-access photo pass and turned me loose. It was truly a visual playground and a lot of fun stomping around the grounds making rectangles.

 

Here’s a little variety of the aforementioned stuff, along with a few snaps from a recent trip to Glacier National Park.

 

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Macklemore & Ryan Lewis | Spokane.Wa | 10.16.12

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!

 

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“Fun” times

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.

 

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The coolest weekend of the year in Sandpoint, Idaho

When The Inlander asked me if I’d like to shoot the Festival at Sandpoint I got all giddy. Hell. Yes.

 

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.

 

The performers were Kasey Anderson and the Honkies, Field Report, (a great band with Mumford & Sons vibes and a solid steel guitar player) We Are Augustines, with Counting Crows headlining.

 

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.

 

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Music and motorcycles

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!

 

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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:

 

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Let there be (stage) light!

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.

 

 

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B&W Scholars

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.

 

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Give the drummer some!

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.

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Food. Music.

 

Concerts are a crazy animal to shoot.

 

Yet, there’s something about this challenging breed of photography that keeps me coming back for more. It’s unpredictable, exhilarating. It keeps you on your toes. There’s always a moment to catch that can be lost in the mere blink of an eye.

 

The Flying Mammals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spokane’s annual Pig out in the Park was an opportunity to satisfy my urge to document music in pictures all day long. With some 80+shows over the course of six days, there were endless opportunities for sweet photos. Further, the whole event is named Pig out in the Park for a reason — there’s food everywhere — good food. Amazing food, actually. From Jambalaya to gourmet grilled cheeses, elephant ears to bricks of french fries, there’s something to tickle anyone’s taste buds.I spent the day Saturday wandering around, grabbing photos of food, people and culture in between shows.

 

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The first group I shot was The Flying Mammals — a high-energy alternative rock band whose stage is not complete without trampolines to help catapult themselves from when jumping off amps.

 

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The next group up was a funkfied nine-piece group by the name of The Freddy Pink Band. Pulling from jazz, funk, rock and R&B, these guys put on a dymanic show chock full of groovy tunes that were sure to get you on your feet and moving around.

 

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Lunker shook things up a bit with their extreme, high-voltage punk rock. Between the three of them, Lunker produced a wall of sound that penetrated your bones — sure to wake you up from your inevitable food-induced coma.

 

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Headliners Carbon Leaf hit the stage at dusk. Some bands are hard to lump into one genre. Carbon Leaf threw a bit of folk into the mix, playing a solid set consisting of high-energy rock, to foot-stomping folk, including a cover of Zeppelin’s Bron-yr-aur stomp. From piccolos to stand-up bass, they put on a visual show as entertaining to the eyes as it was to the ears — the perfect openers for the headlining group — Marcy Playground.

 

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By the time Marcy Playground took the stage, people were lined up as far as the eye could see, anxiously awaiting the alt-rock trio who topped the charts with their 1997 hit, “Sex and Candy.” Guitarist/lead singer John Wozniak broke out with raspy vocals and distorted strumming reminiscent of Kurt Cobain himself. These guys captivated the audience and were the perfect cap to a long, perfect day of food and music under the big, blue Inland NW sky.

 

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Oh, and on a side note, I shot everything with a 17-35mm and 50mm lens. My 70-200 2.8 lens — yes, the lens that seems to always be attached to one of my cameras at all times — the lens that I’ve taken a solid half of my concert shots with — is in the shop, getting a second repair in less than a year of buying it (For more information on why Sigma lenses are crap, email me). But, that’s what being a photojournalist is all about — adapting to situations despite the obstacles. While I could have gained even closer shots of the performers had I had this lens in the bag, I’m pretty satisfied with what I was able to come up with. Not to mention you really can’t beat the sharpness and bokeh (out of focus areas) of a good 50. Luckily I was granted stage and photo pit access to get closer than usual for concert shots.

 

The funny thing is — nearly everyone uses zoom lenses to shoot shows. Look down the sidelines of a photo pit; most likely every single shooter will have a zoom lens, no less attached to their full-frame Canon or Nikon camera ($3k + bodies). While a Canon 5d Mark II is on my wish list for the near future, I optimistically approach shows at a total disadvantage, with my Pentax K10d and K20d bodies. While all my lenses are f2.8 or faster, I’m still working withing an ISO 1600 range on my backup camera. The great thing is, when I attach my 50mm on it, capable of shooting at a lightning fast f1.4, I’m able to get acceptable shots at a mere ISO 800 with no motion blur. It’s somewhat ironic that more concert shooters don’t use fast primes like the 50mm 1.4.

 

My apologies for non-photographers who tried to decipher that last paragraph.