‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy. Photographing the Experience Hendrix Tour

Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Shutter: 1/320, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

Last night I got to cover the Experience Jimi Hendrix show at the Strathmore Concert Hall in Bethesda. It was an amazing night of legendary guitarists coming together and playing timeless Hendrix tunes. If you have any love at all for Rock, you would dig this show. Check out my pics below and see what I learned.

UPDATE: These photos are featured on the official Experience Hendrix Tour Gallery and on the DCDecibel.com blog.



Audience at the Strathmore
Shutter: 1/30, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 1600

First off, I had never shot at the Strathmore before. It’s a gigantic music hall auditorium, with seats. It’s very grande and relatively new feeling inside. It was also clear that the ushers were not very familiar with handling press. There were at least six other photographers (some were writers with point-and-shoots) struggling for position at the front. After I got my photo pass, I had a difficult time getting past the ticket taker, and no one seemed to know what the policy was on where we could stand and shoot. But I talked to the house manager and he was very helpful in showing me some spots that wouldn’t obstruct the view of the other patrons.


Eric Gales
Shutter: 1/200, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

I spent the beginning of the show crouched down on my knees like the other photographers, however I was literally inches away from the patrons in the front row and it was uncomfortable for both of us. I eventually found a good spot off to the side where I could get in close on the talent, without blocking anyone.


Mato Nanji
Shutter: 1/320, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

I’m very glad I brought my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens this evening. Typically I prefer to just use my 50mm prime, but when I slid back along the wall, I’m glad I had the reach to get in there. The 50mm f/1.4 gives me a bit better lighting due to the larger aperture, but if the musicians were in the spotlight, or had some decent stage light on them, I was in good shape.


Buddy Guy
Shutter: 1/50, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

This is Buddy Guy, Rolling Stone ranked him the thirteenth greatest guitar player out of their top 100. Buddy did an amazing job, however he stayed out of the literal spotlight most of the time he was up there. But when he played, you knew you were listening to greatness.


Brad Whitford
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

This is Aerosmith guitarist Brad Whitford. Something funny I noticed, when he was on stage, he was clearly the featured talent, but he is very unassuming. You can tell he’s used to being on stage with the likes of Steven Tyler and Joe Perry. He picked a stance and then held it for a bit, completely in the zone on the chords he was shredding. He was in the spotlight, and he handled it well, but also as a man that didn’t need it.


Dweezil Zappa
Shutter: 1/320, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

This is Dweezil Zappa. I got several clean, solid shots of Dweezil (as you can see below), but I picked this one because I love how the stage lighting is picking him out of the darkness. Dweezil was also not very assuming on stage when in the spotlight. He played some amazing tunes, but he wasn’t rocking out and jamming it in your face, so I wanted a pic that had a little bit more energy and depth.


Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Shutter: 1/320), Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

But to the contrary, here’s Kenny Wayne Shepherd. He took the spotlight and knew exactly what he was doing. You’ll notice 3 or 4 pics of him in my gallery, I had the toughest time picking which ones to include because almost all of them were bad ass. He just stands there and exudes pure rock. Like Slash (whom I hope to photograph this summer when he comes to Baltimore). I am also very proud that most of the photos from this evening required very little processing in Photoshop, I’m getting more comfortable with my manual settings, and 90% of these are straight from the camera.


Jonny Lang
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

Then there’s Jonny Lang. This guy was rocking out six ways to Sunday the entire time he was on stage. I have a good number of shots of him below with every imaginable grimace and rock-out face you can imagine. I like this one in particular though, because even though you’re really not supposed to just shoot someone’s back (side), there’s so much energy. I also love how my position to him in regards to the stage lighting has him popping from the background dynamically. Ok, here’s one more.
Jonny Lang
Shutter: 1/400, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

Notice I have the shutter speed all the way up to 1/400. I had to ramp it up a bit because of how much he was moving around, but luckily he ate up that spotlight, and the images still came out sharp. Again, I just love the energy and vibrance he possessed while on stage. True rock.


Mato Nanji
Shutter: 1/160, Aperture: f/2.8, Lens: 70-200mm, ISO: 1600

This was a great show for my portfolio. Not only did I get to witness some amazing rock legends playing some incredible music, but I got a good variety of big-names to put in my portfolio. Yes, I can always use experience shooting, but I feel I need more star power to get noticed more. If you have the opportunity, I completely recommend checking out when the Experience Hendrix Tour comes to your city. A few more pics are below. And be sure to check out the rest of my concert coverage. Stay tuned (or follow me on Twitter) as I continue on my quest this summer to get into more big name shows, like Slash.


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2 Responses to ‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy. Photographing the Experience Hendrix Tour

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