Archive for February, 2006

Famous People#10 The Darkness

Sunday, February 12th, 2006

I shot The Darkness earlier this evening at Sheffield Arena… a little disappointing.
I was actually hoping to photograph Juliette & The Licks but her management were not giving out passes, which is unusual for a support act. I need to review the concert, which is going to be tough seeing as my photo pass didn’t allow me to watch the rest of the gig after the first 3 songs.
I was expecting a big show, lots of charisma and showmanship… but instead we got a giant pair of breasts and a loud pyrotechnic explosion after the first song. My impression of Justin Hawkins is one of a little kid playing at being a grown-up rock star.
Anyway, here are some photos:

Panic Cell

Monday, February 6th, 2006

I had the opportunity to shoot the Soil/ American Headcharge/ Panic Cell gig on Saturday at Nottingham Rock City.
The lighting is awful, just dark red and dark purple which is very difficult to work with. In situations like these, I bounce flash off the ceiling… but the ceiling slopes at Rock City, so the light dissipates into the audience.
But it’s irrelevant, because my external flash stops working a few seconds into the gig.
I also have raging flu and despite being at a sweaty rock gig, I’m shivering and aching.
I have to cut the shoot short, and find it tough focusing on the drive home.
Not a good day!
Bearing all that in mind, I did manage to get some reasonable shots of Panic Cell who I’d made the journey for.

The Great Glastonbury Flood of ‘05

Thursday, February 2nd, 2006

Thursday at Glastonbury ‘05… a scorching hot day. No need for wellies this weekend, as the forecast is good. Camp near the stone circle up from the railway embankment.
2am, get out of the tent for the toilet… notice ominous black clouds and flashes of lighting.
Next morning, the loudest lightning I have ever heard wakes me up and literally shakes the ground I’m sleeping on. I have my first big photo assignment working for The Guardian, and I have to force myself out of the tent into the pouring rain to make my morning meeting backstage with the crew. A little further down from where we’re camped, tents are submerged in raging torrents.
Apparently, people were unlucky enough to wake up, open their tents and find themselves underwater. Thank God it wasn’t me… all my camera gear was in my tent with me!
When I get to the Guardian portacabin, I’m able to break the news on The Guardian website. What a scoop!
I wasn’t able to get wellies though, and I had trench foot when I got home. It was months before I could feel my toes again. I was disgustingly cheerful all weekend though, the photo opportunities were fantastic.

Tip#13 Camera Settings

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

No matter what (digital) camera you own, if you use jpeg files (as opposed to RAW) there are 3 basic settings that you should set.

  1. Minimum contrast. This will usually be -2. Although your picture will look more washed out straight from the camera, you’ll capture a wider range of tones. This way, you’ll have more detail in your extreme highlights and shadows. You can put the contrast back in Photoshop (a must have!).
  2. Minimum saturation. Again, usually -2. Saturation is a measure of how colourful your photo will look. The problem with much gig photography is that light of only one colour is often used to light the stage, such as red. Cameras struggle to record a scene if it consists of only one colour, all the detail is burnt out if the saturation settings are high. Lowering your saturation setting means you’ll keep detail in your photo if the scene only consists of one colour.
  3. Minimum sharpening. Usually -2. Almost all digital cameras have a filter in front of the sensor that slightly blurs the image. This helps to avoid jagged diagonal lines in your shots, amongst other reasons. Photoshop is much better at putting that sharpness back than your camera.

If you follow the above tips, you won’t have problems with images such as these:

Steve VaiĀ 
Goldfrapp DancerĀ