Bec Reid Photography

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

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Having issues getting the rest of this site up and running, so if you're trying desperately to click the 'Contact' button and it's not working, email me here; bec @ (remove spaces)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Flares...+ Amy Meredith/Tonight Alive

According to Wikipedia;

Lens flare is the light scattered in lens systems through generally unwanted image formation mechanisms, such as internal reflection and scattering from material inhomogeneities in the lens.

When I started taking concert photos, I didn't like flares. I assumed they were just an aberration, something to remove in post-processing, to avoid altogether and to scrap images containing them.

Then I started to see it more as a part of the energy, the drama. Concerts often have a fair bit of that. Check out Grant Norsworthy's face in the shot below. Having the flare adds to the obvious excitement and glee on his face. In my opinion, anyway.

Those two, I know exactly how I got those. Pointing my lens down the barrel of the huge bright light. Also using a zoom lens, and a filter. All those things increase the likelihood of getting flares/scattering the light. Also the wider the lens, the more chance.

Apparently Sigma lenses are also more likely to flare. Since two of the three lenses I was using at the event where I captured the above images, were Sigmas, there's a good chance a Sigma was in use at the time!

Sometimes, you get too much flare... my example;

[Justin Michael, Compliments of Gus]

Just a wee bit too much, methinks.

On to the second part of this blog, the gig on Saturday night! Amy Meredith, supported by Tonight Alive and Bridgemary Kiss at the Princess Theatre, Woolloongabba.

I left that show with a big grin on my face. It was fun! The music was great, the crowd was a happy one, and I got a few good pics. GREAT night.

I must express my hatred of one aspect though, strobe lighting. You know, that black/white flashing that makes one feel as though they're moving in slow-mo, induces fits, and definitely doesn't make for good photos. Not when it's the only source of light, anyway.

I've shot at the Princess before, I knew ahead of time that the lights would be minimal. After the first two bands though, I was hopeful. It wasn't too bad. Allowed me to capture shots like this;

[dude from Tonight Alive]

Definitely better that when I was there shooting The Calling of Levi/Adventure Land.

I got worried though, when before Amy Meredith took the stage, the lighting rig was lowered and altered. The set turned out to sound awesome, but be punctuated by strobe lights, single-colour washes and that bright yellowish light you can see in the lower right corner of the above photo.

Ah well, I can't blame the venue for my inadequacies when it comes to a poorly/weirdly lit stage. I was permitted the use of a flash (yes I know...I was a bit shocked too!)  - IF ONLY I HAD ONE, or knew far enough ahead of time to hire one. That's on my Christmas wishlist, a flash. SB-900 plz Santa. :D

I've seen some photos from the night from other people and they look alright, albeit in shrunken form (if a photo looks good at 500px but awful at 1280px, it's an awful photo, sorry)

Despite being told I was the only official photog for Amy Meredith and thus having 'in front' status, I was still mindful of the other couple shooters there, and I think it cost me a bit. I need to be more forceful...MOVE DUDE - MY SPOT NOW. Yeah...I think I'll have a card printed up with that, keep it in my pocket for such occasions.Heh.

All the photography stuff aside, I really lked the music. Each band was different, which I enjoyed. I hate having three bands that sound alike, one after the other. Variety is nice.

Bridgemary Kiss was the first band up. They had a bit of a British pop/rock sound. Helped along by a British lead singer I guess. TONNES of energy. Lead singer couldn't seem to stay on the stage. Nearly took me out a couple times, haha.
Tonight Alive sort of remind me of Paramore, but far more rock than pop. Also they're Australian. I like 'em.
Amy Meredith are described as pop/rock...but really,  don't know how to describe them Have a listen to Pornstar or Lying and you decide. Lead singer has a great voice (and hair)

Well I'm off to edit some more photos from the night. Check out the one's I've uploaded so far on my Flickr.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Follow the pretty lights...

If I mentioned colour in my last post, this one can be about lights.

I love lights at a concert. They create such different effects. Even the most boring band, with the least stage presence, can look interesting in a photo, if there's some lights involved. Sometimes it's not the musician's fault, they're stuck behind a drum kit (hardly ever lit up! Must talk to some lighting people about this...) or a keyboard. My example;

[Hungry Kids of Hungary, The HiFi, Brisbane, May 2011] Good band, but heck, how much can you really do with a keyboard player? Well...that.

Having shot at a few different venues now, I can tell you now...not all lighting people (engineers? designers?) are created equal. One venue in Brisbane seems to think a couple of light bulbs and a red spotlight are all that's required. Um, no. Not for the poor photographers, anyway! Not that red can't be cool, if there's enough LIGHT. My example; my opinion it's fairly cool. [Rapture Ruckus, Easterfest, Toowoomba April 2011]

So just about any colour can look awesome, providing there is enough LIGHT. How to get the light? Well, if it's just a dark venue and you gotta work with what's available, make sure you have the right gear. I chose Nikon based on the low-light performances of both my D90 and the D700. Of course the D700 is by far the better of the two, being a full-frame and all. D3s would have been my first choice, but I like having two kidneys.

Then it's about lenses. No point in having the best body if you stick a kit lens on it. That said, I started off with kit lenses, but I was lucky in that my first gig was a large music festival, one with PLENTY of lighting. Thus enabling me to use a faster shutter, etc.

Basically don't go for any number bigger than f2.8. I use three lenses in my music photography; Sigma 50mm f1.4, Sigma 70-200 f2.8 and Nikkor 24-70 f2.8. I definitely notice if I go from the 50mm to either of my zooms... in fact I often first think "Somethings wrong with my camera!"*shame* then I remember...'Oh yeah....f1.4 - > f2.8...duh'

So you've got your gear, at the venue, band is up. How to get the light? For me it's a mixture of trial + error, patience and luck. Mostly luck, I think. Watch the lights, see where they pan, when they flash. Try to time your click with it. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. That's the great thing about digital isn't it? Take as many shots as you like! In the 3-song window, of course.

Of course, if you shoot at the same venues a lot, you can get to know the 'pattern' most often used, and the locations of the spotlights. I'm down with the HiFi in West End now. I know what they got, and where the lights go.

[Paul Colman, playing with Peter Furler at Easterfest, Toowoomba, April 2011.]

 Not the best shot of Paul, but a good example of the awesome lighting available that night. There was also a ring-style thing. I think I have a shot...

[Michael Paynter, Easterfest, Toowoomba, April 2011]

See that metal rig behind him? Lots of cool lights later on that day (it was barely dark when I took that photo)

So many cool effects can be done with lights. I love this one;

[Paul Colman again]

Notice how all my 'cool lights' shots are from Easterfest? They used the best lighting people, in my opinion. Wish they could do every gig I shoot!

Some photogs use an external flash. I don't, not in live music. It's been recommended to me, I just don't believe it's relaying the true performance with a flash, if you know what I mean. It dulls colours and looks boring, 'set up'. 

That's my take on it, anyway.