Starlight 10th Anniversary Block Party

I had a great time this past weekend at the Starlight’s 10th anniversary block party in the parking lot behind the venue. Seven great bands, hundreds of people, great food and probably some beer too. I had my camera with me all day and these are some of my favourites from the 800+ photos I shot.

D700 + Sigma 35mm f/1.4 and AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G

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Big Country – Starlight, Waterloo – August 1, 2013

Scottish band Big Country rocked the Starlight in Waterloo a few weeks back. Lucky me got to photograph the incredibly animated 5-piece. The highlight for me was the HUGE sound that the drummer got out of his equally HUGE kit.

D700 (the replacement one) with Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8 G. All shots were with the lenses wide open at ISO 3200-6400.

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Lee Fields and the Expressions – Starlight, Wateroo – June 27, 2013

Quite the week for music at the Starlight in Waterloo. I was told that they had been trying to get Lee Fields to play the venue for two years and finally it worked out that he could come. A phenomenal singer with a phenomenal band.

D700 with Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8. Mostly wide open at ISO 3200.

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Danny Michel with the Garifuna Collective – Starlight, Waterloo – June 25, 2013

Last night I got to try out the D700 in a concert photo shoot at the Starlight in Waterloo. Danny Michel brought the Garifuna Collective up from Belize for a tour as his backing band. They were simply amazing and definitely a contender for Top 5 acts seen in my 14 years in Waterloo. Danny and band traded off between his songs and theirs every two numbers to keep the night flowing and dynamic. Coolest thing of the night was the turtle shell and donkey jaw percussion.

The D700 performed as I had hoped it would. Fast AF, low noise, great dynamic range at ISO 3200 and 4000. The photos below were taken with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Sigma 50mm f/1.4 and Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8.

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The Tragically Hip at the Aud – More Photos

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.Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-18Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-2 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-17 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-16 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-14 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-13 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-11 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-10 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-9 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-7 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-6 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-5 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-4 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-3 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-20 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-21 Tragically Hip - Feb 5 2013-22

Tragically Hip at the Aud – Impromptu Shoot

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:Tragically Hip