Gig Photography - my thoughts and practice

Gig Photography - my thoughts and practice

  1. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Tony Egan submitted a new resource:

    Gig Photography - my thoughts and practice - Gig Photography - my thoughts and practice

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2016
  2. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    Good stuff Tony. Thanks for posting this.
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Excellent article, Tony!
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Oh, and I hate black. Why do so many performers wear black!?

    I have never understood this. There is usually a black curtain behind them and all you see is a pair of hands holding a guitar and a head floating in mid air.

    Excellent article. I'm usually on the other side of the guitar though. The only gig photography I have done was with a local jazz band where I used my Rolleicord and could barely see an image on the ground glass.

    http://www.thegramophoneparty.co.uk


    Steve.
     
  5. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I almost missed this excellent article because I thought an article on 'Gig photography' would be about gigabit film. Something that doesn't interest me. But I am glad I overcame a prejudice to have a look. This is a very good subject and I bet of great interest to many. Thanks for writing and sharing it here.
     
  6. Kevin Caulfield

    Kevin Caulfield Subscriber

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    Thanks for taking the time to write this, Tony. It was a very enjoyable and informative read. I've only tried gig photography a few times and it can be a challenging subject.
     
  7. rembrant

    rembrant Member

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    Because "Gig" photos were one of my main interests,way back (1979) when I was geting my main gear,I especially looked for fast prime lenses. I had a Mamiya DTL 1000,whic is a M46 mount all manual but with spot meter. I got a pair of Sigma YS mount Teles,the 135 F 1.8 and the 300 f 4.0. They both use 77 mm filter /cap etc and weigh a ton on that body. However...I can shoot color at asa 400-1600. These old Sigma's though multi coat are a tad soft and low contrast wide open.....but then in a "gig" shoot you tend to have an EXCESS of contrast. Daylight....either lens needs to be around f 8 to seem sharp and saturated,but low light they still do very good work. I (finally) got a "modern" camera....well....a few,and discovered I even have a PK adapter for YS, Looking forward to using the ZX5 Pentax with the Fat Tele's...spot metering too.

    I used to do Tri X with a developer called Diafine that did a beautiful push to asa 1600. That made "low light" easy. Now (room mates) I can't set up my darkroom gear...probably forgot most of my skills...shoot color only.

    Something to note....sometimes the light guys lean heavy to using the red spots. You tend to get used to it-but on film the effect is pretty monotone as if you redded up a B+W in photoshop. It further tends to wipe out the contrast and make ideal exposure difficult. Blueish spots or a mix with some white or blue will still give you some skin color and color detail in general while also a more natural contrast. It's easy to focus on the "moment" and forget that in photography you really are not taking a shot of a person-place-thing. You are taking a shot of LIGHT. The eye will "adjust" to lighting shifts...film sees just what is.

    Getting up close is the key. I prefer a bit off center. Dead center and a vocal mic will tend to often be in the way. With a group where you may want to get 2-3-4 guys into the frame,a little more off center helps,though you can run into depth of field issues.

    An annual thing for me is the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest in Golden Gate Park,SF. It's about 5 stages,50+ artists/groups and 500,000 music fans and their dogs or kids. If I'm going to be moving from stage to stage...I can't carry too much or I won't make it through 2 days at 10 hrs each. I can arrive early and take up a decent spot at one of the midsize stages,but once the set begins....I won't have much mobility.

    The main stage has a barrier in front. Security MAY let you have about a minute and a half to get a couple quick shots up front. However...my housemate is handicapped and the handicap section is up front and to the side...a pretty good spot for a base camp.

    At that festival....I know the location now,as I know our local music club. That helps a lot.
     
  8. Tony Egan

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    Yes, good point about the red lights. Quite common in the smaller clubs to have a predominance of red gels over the spots. I haven't done any serious spectral sensitivity with the B&W films I use but I suspect sensitivity to red may be a little reduced even with modern panchromatic film? I can't say I've noticed much difference. Others may have some more scientific input on this point.
     
  9. gainer

    gainer Subscriber

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    Nostalgia! My musical world was different. I was for about 10 years principal oboist of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra (now the Virginia Symphony). The most interesting things happened at rehearsals. I was allowed to bring a camera, without flash of course, to dress rehearsal. That is a misnomer. Dress was casual. It was in fact written into the musician's union contract with the orchestra that I was to be the only photograpger allowed at rehearsals. By the concert the next day, I had prints for the guest artist and to be autographed for the orchestra. I think I've told this story before. Ah, well, I'm in my 81st year.
     
  10. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Good article Tony!

    I also missed this first time around as I thought it was a Gigabit film article.

    If ever you do get the chance to borrow an 85 1.4 do so, you won't believe how bright it is in dim light.

    Mick.
     
  11. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    Great article Tony! Very interesting and informative.
     
  12. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Thanks Mick - the things you learn. I was not even aware of Gigabit film until several people mentioned it here. Sounds like an oxymoron!
    Yes, the 85mm f1.4 is on my wishlist but it's considerably bigger than the f1.8 and I got my 1.8 for a very good price at the time and could not justify the price difference for the extra f0.4! One day I'll have one....
     
  13. Ian Leake

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    This was a very interesting article. Thanks Tony
     
  14. david_mizen

    david_mizen Member

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  15. KWhitmore

    KWhitmore Member

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    Great article! Thanks for sharing.
     
  16. Tony Egan

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  17. seawolf66

    seawolf66 Member

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    Tony: your words do carry a lot of fact and truth to them about doing Gig work weather for fun or for profit: In my few times I was able to fotograph a band or its crew, Were limited But I do have one shot That I have of Buddy Rich on the drums , After an hour or so his Head stopped bobbing long enough to get his hands in motion and his head still: None of the rich band stayed still long : Memories are made of those times:
     
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  18. q2q@tds.net

    q2q@tds.net Member

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    Since I spent 3 years deaf and contact-buzzed from shooting the big shows, I'll add my 2 cents.

    As close as you can, 45˚ to the stage (if you HAVE to chose between straight on and 90˚, go for the 90), shoot manual, use the slowest film you can get away with.

    Took me 2 years to figure this one out, and it's worth it's weight in something: if it's a big show with a lot of bass and drums, learn to shoot between the beats. Sounds silly, but you'd be surprised how much air pressure there is on those speaker enclosures, and how badly it'll screw up mirrors, shutters and the film itself.

    And wear earplugs. I didn't hear a word of my senior year because I was shooting 4 or 5 shows a week.

    jack
     
  19. viridari

    viridari Member

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  20. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    This is a field I've worked in since the early 70's, films have come & gone unfortunately. Both Kodak & Fuji used to manufacture special push process high speed E6 films and these were superb in smaller less well lit venues.

    For B&W I much preferred HP5 to Tri-X and used to push process it in Microphen/ID68 but when XP1 came out I switched to it, and continued with XP2. I found that XP1/2 gives far less grain & much better tonality, I always processed it myself.

    I'm lucky in that I can often choose the venue for shooting a band's live shots, this makes a huge difference as I know the lighting engineers and can discuss the lighting being used before hand. On the odd occasions I've shot at two different venues on the same night but it's not so much fun. I guess I shoot somewhere in the region of 40+ live performances last year, but that's a fraction of the previous two years - I was working for a record company. I've worked with the artistic Director for over 30 years, and still shoot his own rare performances :D

    Perhaps it's time I returned to using film for the odd performances I shoot for fun, rather than work. It's an unfortunate fact of photography that most commercial work has to be shot digitally, or delivered in a digital format. I still use film alongside D****l for location shots.

    Ian
     
  21. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Why do they wear black?

    Earlier in the thread, someone posted this question. As someone who used to work for an amazingly skinny rock n roller (Todd Rundgren) the answer is simple: to look as skinny as possible.