GWAR in Baltimore

Balsac the Jaws of Death
Shutter: 1/500, Aperture: ƒ/1.8, ISO: 2500, Lens: 18-35mm, Lots of plastic wrap

Hooray I got to shoot GWAR again. I’m not a huge fan of their music, but it’s an incredible show live, and if you have the opportunity, you have to go at least once. The first time I got to shoot GWAR, it was in DC, with Oderus leading the invasion. Since then, Dave Brockie passed away and two new leads have kept the band going. I was excited they were wrapping up their tour in Baltimore, but I was also psyched that I’d be able to christen my new camera bag. The best feature of my old camera bag was the GWAR blood, and I was said to have to retire it. Click below for more, including a snaplapse of my entire shoot!

Shutter: 1/160, Aperture: ƒ/1.8, ISO: 6400, Lens: 18-35mm

This is up there with one of my favorite concert photos ever, since it’s of the fans. I was kind of lucky with this shot, I had turned around just to get a basic crowd shot and I saw the guy crowd surfing. I thought “oh cool, let’s get a shot of this guy up above the fans” and then a few moments later, he came tumbling into the photo pit and he was ejected. If you watch the snaplapse video below, you can see his progress into the pit and even whack a fellow photographer. Whoops.

Take that!
Shutter: 1/200, Aperture: ƒ/2.8, ISO: 1600, Lens: 70-200mm

After that particular mosher crashed into our pit, security decided to push all the photographers (about eight or ten) all into the left side of the pit. I’m glad I had the 70-200mm on my second body so I could shoot with that. This is one of the new leads, Blothar and he has a special udder. I like how I got the stream in high-speed, giving it a bit of frozen action. In addition to Blothar, Vulvatron joined the line-up, but she didn’t come out until the fifth song, so we weren’t able to photograph her.

Balsac the Jaws of Death
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: ƒ/1.8, ISO: 2000, Lens: 18-35mm

This is my other absolute favorite shot from the show. I saw it happen a few times before I caught this moment. I got lucky Balsac didn’t move out of this position before I nailed it. This was lucky moment three. The stroke of luck was keeping my 70-200mm attached to my second body and covered with plastic. I entered the pit with my 18-35mm attached to my 7D and my 70-200mm attached to the 6D. I had a rain sleeve on both and I was ready to go. As I got to my spot in the pit, I realized the 70-200mm is overkill, and I should probably pop on my fisheye lens. However I do not have a UV filter, or plastic sleeve for my fisheye, so I hesitated as I thought of the damage the lens could sustain. Before I knew it the lights went low, so I decided to stick with what I had. That was incredibly lucky as we were later shoved to the side of the pit. Also this image was pretty much straight from camera, I didn’t have to tweak too much.

Beefcake the Mighty
Shutter: 1/500, Aperture: ƒ/1.8, ISO: 2500, Lens: 18-35mm

The lighting was extremely difficult. I was shooting at ƒ/1.8 for most of the night and I still had a hard time getting exposures I liked. The wide open aperture did allow me to keep the shutter speed up for crisp focus, but it was a slimmer depth of field. The fog looks cool, but it didn’t help me out very much. Luckily the GWAR appearance is so fucking cool, that sparse details coming in and out of the fog looked great.

Mattron looks on
Shutter: 1/200, Aperture: ƒ/2.8, ISO: 1600, Lens: 72-200mm

Since I had the 70-200mm on the camera, I wanted to get some clean close-ups of the individual characters. I like this close-up of Mattron, showing the handiwork of the apparatus they wore. (Dare I call them costumes.) I do want to add, that this was my second GWAR show. I do want to add that the city’s influence is palpable. The DC crowd was amazing. They were there to rock out, but they were also rational and in control of themselves. I love Baltimore, but the GWAR audience in Baltimore was there to get fucked UP. Before I even got in the door, a Chewbacca-lookin dude was being escorted out for fighting. He was wearing a shirt that said Stupid Is As Stupid Does. After I decided to leave for the evening, I was followed out by a guy with a bloody knows, looking like he was hit by a truck. The audience wasn’t bad, but they were definitely a different group. I did love the amount of GWAR blood I got splattered with. My camera bag was appropriately stained. I’m a happy guy.

Check out my snaplapse video below. I’ve put every photo I shot during the first three songs together in about a minute and a half, followed by the ones I selected and processed. This can help you see my framing and selection process. If you ever get the chance to see GWAR, do it. If you get the chance to photograph GWAR, get some Rainsleeves, they’re cheap, and they’ll keep your gear clean.

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