NME Tour, February 23 2010

2 03 2010

Some nights you wonder why you bother leaving the house. When the Maccabees took to the stage it was pitch black. This of course is nothing unexpected. Bands do it all the time – one minute the stage is empty then fade to black and when the lights come on again there they are. Except when the Maccabees took to the stage the lights never really came back on. Pain. In. The. Arse. There’s only one real answer to this – you have to try and ‘Catch a Flash’.

A music photographer cannot use flash. Which is fair enough – you don’t want musicians going blind from snap-happy photographers shooting into their face night after night. However when the lights stay low, you can either lower your shutter speed and get brighter, but blurrier pictures, lower the aperture (usually the first point of call) or crank up the ISO. I tried all of these things tonight – ISO at 3,000, aperture never above 3.2 and a shutter speed constant at 1/80. And they were still dark. So i had to rely on the crowd.

For whatever reason people in the crowd can use flashes – and I had to try to steal that light. It’s not a fun, or easy thing to do. You gotta keep shooting, one-after-the-other, filling up your memory card with picture after picture of pure black photos in the hope that you’ll get ONE that has a decent light on it. Usually you get one or two decent ones. Tonight was no exception.

Truth be told I really liked the one useable Maccabees photo (Pic. 2). The flash only caught his head – it almost looks photoshopped. But given that I took well over 600 images of the Maccabees alone, you can understand why it was a little bit draining.

It wasn’t like that all night though. Two Door Cinema Club were bathed in light. So much so that you  could really get creative with the shots. The top image is one Im proud of – I’d been stalking the guitarist for thirty seconds waiting for the light to rest in the right place. He turned his head at the right moment and it turned out perfectly for me. They even had spotlights, illuminating their faces like gods. Pity the Maccabees were so photophobic.

Surely the stars of the show were Funeral Suits. The Irish three piece have been touring relentlessly since I started working for State and tonight was my third time seeing them on stage. They are simply stunning – maybe a little lost on the larger stage at the Academy, but an unquestionable treat for the ear. ‘Only Attack Ourselves’ was a personal highlight – it doesn’t get much better than that. The photos were a bit tame – truth be told I got a little caught up in the music and they were also bathed in a vicious red light, but i couldn’t do them justice anyway. Check them out yourself.

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3 responses

10 03 2010
Nay

Just found your lovely blog! I hear you on the bad lights that night, I’m really not too fond of the pics. Yours are great though, really well done. In over 4 years of PG I’ve only caught a proper flash once!

10 03 2010
deadl

Thank you! – Had to blogroll you. You were one of the most polite photographers I’ve met!

My first shoot for State would’ve been awful without Flash-catching!
It was The Misfits – they must be in their 60s now – and they had one light – a blue laser in the middle of the stage that shone into the crowd… Managed to get ONE picture because the bloke behind me was pretty snap-happy! And even then it wasn’t great.

Has gotten better since though! Hard to believe it’s been almost been a year!!

11 03 2010
Nay

Heh, funnily enough the one flash I caught was also an old band… New York Dolls in the Village in 2006! I must try again next time.

But it was good to make your acquaintance too! Defi a new rumble for the blogroll too 🙂

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