Archive for September, 2011

Gabriel and the Apocalypse’s CD release show

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Friday night was a doubleheader for me: first I hit up Kamelot‘s show at Station 4, then I headed to the Cabooze for a CD release show by Gabriel and the Apocalypse. It was a significant show for me because GATA’s new album, New World Disaster, features a portrait of the band that I shot during the promo session we did back in June:

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

The show was fun – a small but enthusiastic crowd, great energy from the band, nice lighting at the Cabooze. My camera was still kind of screwy from all the condensation I’d put it through at the Kamelot show, so unfortunately a lot of my shots are a bit hazy, but I still came away with some good stuff. Frontlight was pretty inconsistent so I busted out the flash for a few shots, many of which ended up being favorites. Here are a few shots I like; check out more at Flickr.

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Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

Gabriel and the Apocalypse

The new-look Kamelot

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

Kamelot

He’s not Roy Khan, but new Kamelot vocalist Fabio Lione got a warm welcome from fans at Station 4 in St. Paul last night. Playing in oppressive heat (the venue is in a historic building that has no air conditioning), Lione, the rest of Kamelot, and guest vocalist Simone Simons (Epica) ran through a lengthy setlist drawing mostly on the band’s last three albums. I have a pretty strong distaste for power metal, but Kamelot puts on a reliably good live show, and their music is somehow quite a bit less cheesy than most power metal fare. So I count myself as kind of a fan, much to my own surprise, and had a good time.

Every time I shoot at Station 4 I curse the lighting and the stage setup with the stupid pillar in the middle of the pit. Thankfully, Kamelot brought their own lighting; the pillar wasn’t going anywhere, unfortunately. Three songs, no flash, and while I would have liked to have been able to shoot the Simons/Lione duets (none of which took place in the first three songs) from the pit, I was able to snipe away with a telephoto lens later, and got some good shots that way. Below are a few of my favorites.

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Kamelot

Kamelot

Kamelot

Kamelot

Kamelot

Kamelot

Here’s an example of how the lights were tonight before Kamelot came on with their own lighting rig. This is Blackguard (with guest Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist, who also played but whom I did not get to shoot unfortunately); this is about as good as the lighting got during their set. I was pretty much at ISO 6400 and slow shutter speeds the whole time.

Blackguard with Alissa White-Gluz

Väsen kicks off a new season at the Cedar

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Väsen

Last night the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis kicked off its fall season with a free show by Swedish folk trio Väsen, one of those bands on the Northside label that blends a bit of modern rock influence into its folk music. These guys have released something like 14 albums; their touring lineup consists of viola, nyckelharpa and guitar, with a percussionist appearing on some of their recordings as well. They were all strings at the Cedar last night, and put on a solid show for a good-sized audience.

Lighting was pretty dark and the front row of seats was jammed right up against the stage, so I was only able to shoot from the center aisle or way off on the sides. I shot from the middle for three songs and then wandered off to the sides for a few more. Tough shooting conditions, so nothing amazing from this show, but below are a few of my better images.

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Väsen

Väsen

Väsen

Väsen

Väsen

Wandering around town

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Unloved Armchair

I was cruising around Minneapolis looking for things to take pictures of earlier this week, something I really don’t do often enough. I found pretty much the perfect subject, an armchair sitting in the middle of an open field between two enormous abandoned grain elevators. It was amazingly incongruous – I could hardly have asked for anything better. Unfortunately, the light on the grain elevator behind the armchair wasn’t working for me, and the elevator itself was too big to fit in the frame even with my 14mm lens. So I settled for using the sunset as a background – a little less edgy, but the armchair is still rather bizarre even in this slightly more typical context.

I lit this with two strobes. The main light is an SB-900 high camera right at 1/8th power, zoomed to 200mm, with a full CTO gel for warmth. I also used an accent light to give some definition to the left edge of the chair – an SB-600 camera left at 1/32nd power, zoomed to 85mm and unmodified.

Keeping it simple with Lisha

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Lisha

I had about an hour and half to shoot with Lisha earlier this week, a last-minute scheduling. I committed a cardinal sin: I didn’t check my gear bags before heading out to the shoot. As a result, once I got there I found that I had no umbrellas or any other way of diffusing my lights. But this might have been a blessing in disguise: with fewer tools to work with, I focused on getting some shots using natural light, and then, after the natural light went away, using hard light to get some dramatic, shadowy looks.

Above, a simple headshot done with pure natural sunlight. The background is completely dark because we were actually inside a large abandoned building, with an open door to the left letting the light in. But nothing else inside was lit – hence the studio look of the shot, with the black background and soft directional lighting.

Lisha

This was outside the building, taking advantage of some nice color in the flora. Again, nothing but natural light here, and shot wide open with a 85/1.4 to minimize depth of field.

Lisha

The one serious non-gear problem with this shoot was that mosquitoes were everywhere. Once the sun went down, they immediately got so bad that we really had to wrap things up quickly. Lisha changed and we shot a series of photos in which I used a single CTO’ed SB-800 to cast some hard light on her and match her blue dress with the blue sky. We worked kind of frantically as we were getting eaten alive, and came away with a couple decent shots.

Dusk is my favorite time of day to shoot, but it’ll certainly be a lot nicer to shoot at that time when the weather is a bit cooler and the bugs are just a memory.