I normally strive for technically sharp, correctly exposed concert photos. That’s the nature of shooting for publications: there’s a limit to how artsy you can get. Tonight I shot Nikki Yanofsky, an immensely talented 16-year-old Canadian jazz vocalist, and my favorite shot of the night, above, is about as far from technically perfect as it gets. I completely missed the focus, but I did manage to catch a genuinely expressive moment, and the blur and blue halo (from the strong backlighting) give the shot an impressionistic feel that’s quite different from what I normally produce. The rest of my shots from the show look kind of boring by comparison, although Yanofsky was quite a sympathetic subject.
The primary challenge here was dealing with the backlights, which were intensely bright, especially when compared to the relatively weak frontlight. This was a seated show, so I had to kneel down at the front of the stage, and when I pointed my lens up at Yanofsky, the backlights were right there in my frame. What would have been my best shots were largely unusable thanks to the resulting loss of contrast, although I did salvage that headline photo and a couple others. The Varsity Theater has a balcony that I moved up to in order to get a few shots without that strong backlight, but unlike, say, the 9:30 Club, the balcony is pretty far away from the stage. The shot immediately above was at 200mm and cropped in a good bit – I might bring my D300 to the next show I cover here if I expect to be shooting from the balcony.
A few more shots from this show are up at Flickr.