This post is a follow-up to last week’s about my impromptu shoot at a Tragically Hip show at the Kitchener Auditorium. I thought I’d show a bunch more photos but also give a few tips and tricks.
Let’s start with packing gear. Because I hadn’t ever shot at an indoor stadium show and had no idea what kind of vantage point I’d have, I brought nearly everything (11-16, 17-55, 50-135, 35, 50, 85 and both the D300s and D7000… oh, and some strobes and light modifiers too). I really didn’t know if I would even have the chance to change lenses during the shoot but I wanted to be safe. At the time I also didn’t know the extent of the shoot…. would I be covering just the show? or maybe shooting the band afterwords? would the writer need some details to support an interview? In the end, when I found that I would just be shooting the first three songs, I opted for a simple and versatile setup that would need no lens swapping. I put the AF-S 17-55 f/2.8 on the D300s and the Tokina 50-135 f/2.8 on the D7000 and left the rest in the car.
Concert photography presents a few technical challenges due to the extreme contrast and colour of light and fast-moving performers. In the concerts I’m used to shooting, there is barely enough light to shoot 1/60s with a wide open lens at ISO 1600; however during this show there was ample light. I chose to shoot at ISO 1600 with the lenses wide open or near-wide open but was able to get very fast shutter speeds like 1/250s. Freezing the subjects was a breeze.
When shooting a concert the hall is usually quite dark and the subjects quite bright. Imagine trying to properly expose a backlit penguin in the snow and then invert the light and dark. The camera will want to expose for the shadows and completely blow out the subjects. When shooting wide angle with the D300s I dealt with this extreme contrast by setting the exposure compensation to -1EV and crossing my fingers. For the most part it worked and I got a lot of keepers. With the D7000 and 50-135 I used the spot meter instead of the matrix meter. I actually have the function button programmed to quickly switch to spot meter while pressed. Occasionally I would combine the spot meter with the AE-L (exposure lock) when I needed to recompose.
In all I got 20-25 shots that I consider keepers (not bad for three songs). Here is a selection.
Here’s a photo I took at Halloween in 2011, late at night on our way home from a party. Mitzy had spent a solid week making her Fantastic Mrs. Fox costume and I’d had a hard time getting just the right photograph of it. It was a misty night, and cold, but I convinced Mitzy to stay in the parking lot across the street from our apartment while I grabbed a tripod. I positioned her under the street light and took just one shot.
D300s on tripod with AF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 @ 38mm f/4 1/4s ISO400
Last night while cooking dinner I got notification from my friend Nathan that a Vancouver blog, http://www.unnomdeguerre.com/, was looking for a photographer. The Tragically Hip were playing at the Aud in Kitchener (with The Arkells) opening. Not being a huge fan of the Hip (and really keen for a relaxing night in) I reluctantly agreed to do the shoot. I had less than an hour notice and hadn’t even eaten yet but I did make it to the venue in time for the Hip to start (sadly missing The Arkells’ opening slot).
I was also only allowed to shoot the first three songs so I had to pack strategically. There wouldn’t be much time to change lenses, so i settled on using the 17-55mm f/2.8 on the D300s and the Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 on the D7000.
I’ll put some more shots up in the future, along with some technical pointers, once I’ve made my way through the 350+ shots I took within my 20 minute window. Here’s a standout from my initial glean through the set:
During the work week I like to take my camera and lunch into the country. Of course I don’t usually get the chance in the wintery months. But last week, when the temperature went up into the double digits, I jumped into the car and headed out to my favourite spot on Three Bridges Road, just north of Waterloo. I had a feeling that the water would be high due to all the melting, but I didn’t expect the bridge to be totally covered. Here are two takes of the same scene. The first is a straightforward panorama with the D7000 and 35mm f/1.8 G.In this second image I went a little more artistic with a shallow depth of field Brenizer Method panorama. To really get the best bokeh in this image I should have been a little closer to the warning post that’s in sharp focus… but it was kind of mucky. Enjoy!