One Year On : My First Gig – The Misfits

25 06 2010

While most people will remember today as the one year anniversary of Michael Jacksons death, but to me June 25th 2009 was the day I shot my very first gig.

It was a baptism of fire. I was armed only with my D80 and a 50mm f1.8. I had no previous experience really. I’d been to some gigs as a punter with a camera before, but this was a whole different kettle of fish. There were rules now – three songs only, no flash. And a rake of other photographers. Four overall, including myself. I thought this was the norm at the time, but have since learned it’s about three more than usual. The misfits were – and still are – big news to their fans. The queue had started an hour before the doors even opened – two and a half hours before the band were due onstage. And they were freaks. All waxed up hair, odd piercings and gloomy looks. I was a bit out of place with my ‘Travis ’01’ tee shirt…

I was no way prepared for this gig. There was one light. A neon blue lazer that shots around the crowd. The band were in practical darkness. Intentionally obviously – they were so old the thick layers of make-up had worked its way into their wrinkles. There were fans on each band member, presumably to keep them alive. I was shitting meself – My first assignment and I was looking at an instant fail. Thankfully, I panicked and adjusted my settings down and shot continuously for the first two songs. A quick check at my screen between shots showed nada. Pure black. At f/1.8, 1/40 and ISO at about 1250 (the D80 doesn’t really handle it well at anything higher than that) it was black shot after black shot.

Then, there was a flash from the front row. Someone had a camera and their flash went off at exactly the same time as I took my picture. It was all I needed. One picture that was usable. Nice and sharp and good focus about the eye area. The relief was immense. I kept on shooting, but got very little else.

The image was used on State, which was a nice relief too, but I always felt there should have been at least one more.

Thankfully it’s gotten better since. Some gigs have three usable pictures these days!

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3 responses

25 06 2010
DanTheManFantasitc

From The Misfits to Green Day you’ve come along way sugar…
All manner of sycophantic superlatives should be showered upon you and your progress sir.

Give you the opportunity and you’ll rise to the challenge.

2 07 2010
Denis O'Donovan

Great story! You can look back now and laugh but I bet it didn’t feel so funny at the time 🙂

2 07 2010
deadl.ie

Oh god, No. I was terrified. It was already fairly heavy on me – getting used to everything for the first time and then to meet lighting like that!… Awful. Thankfully that one shot kept me in with the good crowd though.

And I’d like to think that it’s taken me a long way!

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