Posts Tagged ‘Jucifer’

Four recent challenges

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013


I shot four concerts in four different venues recently, and encountered four challenges which can briefly be summed up as: crappy light, crappy light, crappy light, and crappy light. Case in point: the above photo of local metal band LTW at the Black Cat backstage, the EXIF data of which reads: ISO 12800, f/1.4, 1/30s shutter.

OK, to some extent this is an exaggeration for effect. In fact, for a minute or two I got to shoot at Empire (formerly Jaxx) at ISO 400, which is utterly unheard-of. But aside from a few isolated moments, each of these four concerts had some severe challenges on the lighting side. I’m not complaining – this is pretty standard fare for concert photography – I was mostly just looking for a way to post about four completely different shows all in one post, and this is the best my feeble mind could do. In reverse chronological order, here’s a super quick recap of those four shows – one photo per band.

Last night (in descending order below): Coheed and Cambria, Between the Buried and Me and Russian Circles at the 9:30 Club. I was excited about this mostly because the last time I shot Coheed I got an unforgettable photo. But I’d forgotten how tough a shoot it was – all dim light with lots of strobes. Same deal last night, except for Russian Circles, who literally played with zero frontlight. Here’s the full set.

Coheed & Cambria

Between the Buried and Me

Russian Circles

Last Sunday: Doro, Sister Sin and A Sound of Thunder at Empire. Doro had a spotlight on her for much of the show, which was a huge surprise to me, not having shot at this venue since it was Jaxx. But the rest of her band was in the dark recesses, which made wide shots hard. The light for local openers A Sound of Thunder was pretty tremendous, though. Here’s the full set.


Sister Sin

A Sound of Thunder

Last Saturday: Duos Buke and Gase and Ahleuchatistas at DC9. The light here was actually better than I remember it, but again, super uneven light across the stage made it hard to get both performers in one nicely exposed photo. Here’s the full set.

Buke and Gase


Finally, last month was Jucifer and LTW (who are pictured at the top of this post) at the Black Cat backstage. Jucifer always plays in the dark, and LTW made things complicated by only having their drummer onstage, with the other two band members on the floor with the crowd – where, of course, there’s no light. That was a fun show, nevertheless. The below shot of Jucifer isn’t very good, but I like how it shows that Jucifer’s monstrous rig takes up literally half of the stage real estate. Here’s the full set.


Onstage with Jucifer

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Jucifer 16

I shot Jucifer at the Ottobar this week, and had the opportunity to get up close and personal onstage. I had stage access at Maryland Deathfest, but this was different. At MDF, stage access was granted for all photographers by the festival organizers, not the individual bands. None of us really knew how the bands felt about this, so we stayed back, mostly using the access to get crowd and drummer shots. This time around, I spoke with Jucifer’s guitarist/vocalist/amp queen Amber Valentine before the show and got the OK directly from her.

So I suppressed nightmares about stepping on a cable and pulling a mountain of amps down on my head, slapped a 12-24 ultrawide zoom onto my D300, charged up the flash (as I’ve discussed before, Jucifer uses a custom lighting scheme which looks awesome but is almost impossible to shoot well without flash), and took up residence in one corner of the stage for about half the show. Unfortunately the other side of the stage wasn’t really accessible, but I’m not complaining.

Jucifer 14

I like the shots I got – can’t decide between my favorite of the above two – but I do wish I’d tried a wider variety of angles, including some to get the crowd in the shots, and some standing up. Almost all the shots I took were crouched low both to not be totally conspicuous (a lost cause anyway, really, since I was using flash) and to be able to get dramatic angles of Amber as she was thrashing away on her knees. Thing is, those low-angle shots are precisely the kind of shots you can get from the crowd or the photo pit, so I wish I’d tried a few different things. Jucifer always play a pretty short set, so I had less time than I’d ideally like. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch them the next time they come around!

Oh, and also: whenever I use an ultrawide lens, I almost always wish I’d gotten closer. So yeah, that too: I wish I’d gotten closer. I was probably a foot and a half away from Amber at some points, but even closer would have been even better, especially for a shot like this:.

Jucifer 11

So that’s three shots that all kind of look alike. There’s another member of the band, of course. Edgar Livengood, the drummer, is as much a joy to shoot as Amber is, as he plays as emphatically as any drummer I’ve ever seen, eyes closed, with boundless energy that often brings him up onto his feet, arms raised high in the air. Sadly, I wasn’t really able to get onto his side of the stage, but I still managed a couple usable shots of him. Nothing as good as what I got last time though.

Jucifer 04

Finally, I also had my D700 with me, 50/1.4 mounted, and I got a few no-flash shots which, due to the nature of the lighting, are more “artsy” than they are documentary. Here’s my favorite of the bunch:

Jucifer 08

Many thanks to Amber & Edgar for being good sports and for being incredibly nice in general. Full photoset is here.