This past weekend was the biggest annual sporting event in Baltimore, the 138th Preakness at Pimlico. My friend Paul was contracted by USA Today Sports Images to shoot the event and they needed a runner, so he got me in with a press badge to help out. My primary goal while I was there was to run memory chips full of images from the primary photographers on the dirt, through the crowd, up to the photo editor way up in the press office. The distance wasn’t the issue as much as the thousands of people standing around. In between running disks back and forth, and helping with equipment, I could walk around and shoot the concerts (Pitbull and Macklemore), the crowd, and the occasional race. Here’s what I learned and what, what? I got some pics published to boot. Oxbow may have been the big winner, but I felt like I was the lucky one.
I was the official photographer for the DC101 Chili Cook-off, an annual summer concert hosted by the legendary radio station. I had shot an all-day festival last fall, but this was my first experience shooting rock bands and then immediately providing the images to be uploaded to their website. The greatest part of the whole experience was seeing my photos dominate their website and Facebook wall, and watching all those hundreds of likes and shares come in. Oh, that and getting to have a beer backstage with Soundgarden at the end of it all. The line up was RDGLDGRN, Beware of Darkness, Capital Cities, Silversun Pickups, AWOLNATION, and Soundgarden.
Shutter: 13 seconds, Aperture: f/5.0, Lens: 15mm, ISO: 400
Hoping to get a unique shot of the new cherry blossoms, I snuck out in the middle of the night for some long exposures. I got this shot with a Yongnuo remote flash, and a thirteen second exposure. Joke’s on me, this is a Bradford Pear tree. But tis the season. Continue reading →
A few weeks ago I got to shoot They Might Be Giants in Baltimore. This was a big deal for me as they were the first concert I went to back in high school. I particularly like this shot because this is something a little different than your standard rock concert fare. There were several challenges that night. First off, there was no pit, so I had to shoot from wherever I could in the crowd. I like being able to line up shots so that I can frame the lighting better, and make sure I can avoid getting the microphone right in front of their mouth. But the bigger challenge is how do you take cool, rock n roll photos of the two biggest (self-proclaimed) geeks in the business?
Monday night was supposed to be the peak viewing time for the Perseid meteor shower, so I drove about an hour and a half away from DC to try and get good shots of some shooting stars. However the moon was an almost-full waning gibbus, lighting up the sky, and it was just around 40 degrees out, so I did not get any good meteor shots at all. As to avoid the whole trip being a bust, I decided to finally try the flaming steel wool trick with a long exposure, and it came out pretty well! Click below for some instructions and a few other examples, and some bonus video!
Two weeks ago I returned to Towson Maryland to shoot hard rock band Nightsbridge at the Recher Theatre one last time before the owners closed it down and turned it into a DJ night club for the college set. Nightsbridge was one of the bands I learned how to shoot, and Recher was the first venue I got to shoot in the pit. More kick-ass photos and reflections on two years’ progress, below.
The circus was one of the first places I really took shooting in manual mode seriously. I had to furiously change setting to keep up with the different lighting. This past week I had an opportunity to go back and shoot the circus again, but this time I felt better armed, as I was much more comfortable with my camera, and shooting on the fly. I got some stuff I’m slightly proud of, click below to check it out.
If you watch carefully you can see two of my photos in this ABCNews Audiofile interview with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.
Spoiler alert, they’re at the 1:30 and 4:30 mark. My name, Andy Jones, will appear on screen with each shot. You can read about shooting that concert here.
Getting in to shoot Mumford & Sons has been the most nailbiting experience I’ve had shooting a concert, and it ended up being my top overall concert as well. They had just won the Grammy for Album of the Year a few days prior, and they still managed to give DC a two hour set (on two consecutive nights). They could have quit early and no one would have minded, but you can tell they love it. Click below for more pics and this insane story of how I got into the pit.
Watch in 720 HD. Video is safe for work, but contains lots of bikinis.
Ok, I’ve officially completed my 2013 Miss America coverage. I have two blog posts; one about shooting the hallway portraits with custom bokeh, and another about shooting the preliminary & the main pageant. The video above has all kinds of cool camera techniques I tried out while in Vegas, like dash cam, time lapse, and highspeed DSLR video. For good measure, here is a link to all of the photos, organized by gallery.
I recently got back from Las Vegas covering the 2013 Miss America pageant at the Planet Hollywood. I’m a little bit proud of getting myself credentials, but mainly I’m relieved I didn’t screw it up. It was certainly the biggest photographic undertaking I had ever pursued, and I’m very pleased with what I got. Before I left, I looked all over the internet to try and find advice about shooting the event and I couldn’t find very much, so I’ll share a little bit of what I learned as well.
Tons of stories to share, and of course, lots of pics of beautiful women. Click below! Continue reading →
Last week I was in Las Vegas covering the 2013 Miss America pageant on behalf of WV Magic. On Friday I could get some one-on-one time with a handful of contestants before the big event. In lieu of interviewing them with silly questions, I used the time to try and take some studio-esque portraits. I was inspired by the amazing portraits of Olympic athletes from their media day. The Olympians are in one big room, and all of the photographers from the big publications like Time, USA Today and CNN go around and take some time to take their photos. They have props and portable lighting and get some great photos. In my scenario, I got about five minutes with four of the contestants. I didn’t know what the lighting conditions would be like before I got there, and it ended up being a busy hallway. I came prepared to try and get some unique portraits, given the conditions. Click below for more. Continue reading →
I have such huge news, but I must get this post up or else I won’t get to it after my big trip next weekend. Ok, I can tell you now. I’m heading to Las Vegas to shoot Miss America.
Instead of dragging it out into three or four entries, I’m making this one large post. I was one of the official photographers for DC101′s Downtown Countdown on New Year’s Eve. Three awesome acts helped rock in the new year. Grouplove, G. Love & Special Sauce, and Lloyd Dobler Effect. In between shooting the three bands, I also walked around shooting pics of party people having a great time. Click below for a lot more pics.
I’m really digging AWOLNATION right now. They’re relatively new to the scene, and they’re hot. The band’s first single, Sail, peaked at #10 on the U.S. Billboard Rock Songs and has gone platinum in the US. If you notice, most of the bands I get to shoot, while legends, are also about 15 years past their peak. So it was very exciting for me to shoot a new band that was this big. I cruised up to Baltimore to shoot this on a Thursday night. Here’s a blog post review of the concert itself. But click to read about photographing the show and see more pics below.
A few weeks ago I took my wife and five year old to Disney World. It was exciting for us because, now that he was five, there were a ton more things my son could enjoy with us. He also was able to be out and about a lot longer without a nap. I took a lot of video to document the trip, but I tried to get some really decent stills along the way. I decided it would be overkill to shoot with two bodies while enjoying my vacation, so sometimes I stopped the fam, changed lenses, and really positioned them, other times I got lucky and nailed a completely candid scene with whatever I had on. And then there were a few instances where I missed the shot because it was not worth changing lenses and re-enacting something. For this shot, I purposely positioned my family into the sun beams. My son wore that pirate outfit the entire day (I was really quite proud of his dedication). I like how he has his hand gingerly resting on a human skull, while wearing a pirate outfit, and almost getting a kiss from his mommy. The look in his eyes is genuine, and I love sunny shots with more atmosphere like this. Click below for more shots and some tips around the Disney Parks.
I’ve been meaning to share these pictures for awhile. I don’t typically talk about my family shots on here, but during this recent trip to the Air & Space Museum in DC, I finally pulled off something I’ve been working towards for years. Unique, expressive portraits of my son, that effectively document the trip/activity, but that his (non-artsy) mother still likes. Click below for more.
You know I love shooting American bald eagles (not you too… fine. I love shooting photos of American bald eagles. Seriously, it’s getting old.) So Paul Frederiksen took me up to his favorite spot to get pics of eagles, Conowingo dam in northern Maryland. The last time I tried to get an eagle photo, I spent the better part of 2 hours in a kayak on the eastern shore, and I saw one mature eagle (and one juvenile). Today I saw closer to 25 eagles, and they were hungry. Click below for more eagle shots.
Less than a week after I shot tha Doggfather, Snoop Dogg, I was back home in DC at the 9:30 Club shooting indie dance masters Matt & Kim. Their music is frenetic and contagious and you can’t help to jump around to the beat and friendly lyrics. Their live show doesn’t disappoint either. They have so much energy, even though they’ve been doing this just over a decade, it felt like they had all that energy of a band doing their first gig in front of a packed house. Kim could simply not sit still during the set at all. Click below for more high energy pics.