This has to be one of the best concert experiences of my life. I’m a big Collective Soul fan and I could not wait to simply go to the concert. To be able to shoot it was fudge on the sundae. To make it even more sweet, I was the only photographer there, so I had the whole pit to myself. It was glorious. Because I was the only one shooting, the band made eye contact with me much more, leading to career defining shots like the one above. The audience was great, the music was amazing, and it made every other concert experience leading up to this one worth it.
Shutter: 1/200, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 1600
Typically I eschew when the lighting is all red, and here I am featuring two redlight photos in a row. In this photo, the focus is on Dean’s form and stance, his skintone doesn’t show very much at all. I could easily change the color to blue, but the red definitely gives a lot of power to this pic. While the top image of Joel pointing at me is my favorite pic I’ve taken (in my career) he was very aware of me at the time and posed for it. That’s all well and good, but I do like this photo where I captured a spontaneous moment. To be fair, Dean’s on stage rocking out, he should be aware of how badass he looks, but I feature this one for its candidness.
Shutter: 1/125, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 1600
Even though Ed Roland is the lead singer and the most prominent face of Collective Soul, it took me awhile to recognize him from the videos… the 20 year old video, oh dammit. I know. Anyway, he was rocking out and dancing like he was having a blast up on stage in front of old friends. One of the unique challenges was that he had two mics, and it seemed no matter where I stood for close-up shots, one of the mics would be in the way of his face. It really took awhile to get a shot I liked, but shortly after popping on my 15mm fisheye, I got this shot and I was really happy. I love how it shows him dancing within the context of the stage and tells you more about the performance than a close-up would.
Shutter: 1/80, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 1600
Another challenge was getting a good shot of Will Turpin. He took a spot back out of the spotlight near the drummer for most of the time I was shooting. He’s a talented artist, but he doesn’t rock out nearly as much as Joel or Dean. With his generally laid back aura, it took awhile to get a great shot of him. I love this one, when he finally came forward and rocked on the stage a bit. The blue looks cool, and the wide-angle gives you plenty of setting. Almost too much? In some versions of this photo, I’ve cropped down a bit, but I want you to see the whole thing here, and then imagine what it would look like if I trimmed an inch (or not quite) around the whole thing.
Shutter: 1/100, Aperture: f/2.8, Focal Length: 50mm, ISO: 1600
This is one of the close-ups of Ed that I like. I love the motion blur of his hands (but the mic stand is pretty crisp) I think that it’s got some dynamic energy to it. I wish his face and left hand weren’t so blown out, but I think it’s balanced a bit by the red smoke in the right corner. After I got this shot I felt pretty satisfied on my mental checklist for getting a kick-ass picture of each member of the band.
Shutter: 1/160, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 1600
I also love this picture where I caught the reflection from Ed’s guitar on the stage. If I could improve this, I wish the composition pointed your eye to the reflection a bit better, to let the viewer know what I’m highlighting, OR I wish Ed was doing something a bit more dynamic. It’s a cool scene, but it’s lacking some of that oomph that I look for when featuring rock photos. But this is one of those moments that you shouldn’t ignore when keeping an eye out for those kickass scenes.
Shutter: 1/100, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 50mm, ISO: 1600
You know that I’ve been experimenting with slightly tilting the camera to add just a little bit more dynamism to some of my rock photos. The hardest part is not over doing it, but lookie at this happy accident. I tilted the camera just as Dean was leaning, so he appears straight up and down, but the horizon line (SOUL in the background) has been tilted. Think this diagonal gives it a lot more energy than if it were straight across. So sometimes it works. And again with the red light, it’s not bugging me too much here.
Shutter: 1/80, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 1600
You can see it’s a bit washed out in this photo. My shutter was at 1/80 which is too slow for this direct spotlight effect. What happened was my camera was set for the lighting like the blue pic of Will Turpin, and then boom, spotlight, but I like it. The brightness helps within the context of a concert, it may not fly in other type of portraits. It’s not perfectly executed, but it’s alright. One of the hazards of shooting in full manual all the time? Speaking of Manual settings, I’ll get into this in another blog post, but I tried playing around with AI Servo (I usually use One Shot) focusing mode, and I did not like it. Its probably my method of shooting, but I did not like AI Servo, even for bands.
I had an amazing time at this show. I go into a bit more depth on the actual experience on MillionairePlayboy.com, but the gist of it is that I had the pit to myself, so it was like my own reserved area at the front and I didn’t have to compete with any other photographer. Then I met a whole host of people since I was shooting by myself, and then I spent the last half of the concert in one of my new friend’s VIP box, they bought me a beer and we all sang the number one hits together. It was epic. More pics below, and I have a bunch of new posts coming next week. Collective Soul is currently touring, check out their site for dates and music.