A Day in the life...

I'm a photographer, I specialise in music. Live music, Studio, Garage, Stadium - Whatever! That's what I love. To me, capturing moments during music is challenging and rewarding. I've been musical all my life, I'm not very good, but I'm very passionate about music - singing, playing, listening to, watching, all of those aspect combine into an experience rather than just a song laying on your radio. I've always had a love for capturing images - either in my head, on film or now using digital cameras, and with those two things combined, I have the perfect job!

Nic Cester | Jet

When I say "job" what I actually mean is hobby - I'm not a "real" music photographer, I'm a pretend one - Well, when I say that, I mean I don't have a million contacts and I don't get called by magazines wanting me to shoot Pink for them! (Yet!) What I do get, through my own ways and means is photo passes to gigs of people that I love, I get to submit them to press and, occasionally, I get to see them in some newspaper somewhere.

Last night was no exception to this rule, I was allowed a pass for Jet and duly wandered along with my camera and a few memory cards to capture what I could of the evening. I packed my bag before work in the morning, when it was full I guess it would weigh about twelve kg's - not light! And that was with one camera! (Sometimes I take two, but more on that later)

What did I pack?

Canon 5D Mark II Canon 50mm f1.4 Canon 24-70mm f2.8 Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.7 Canon 430EX Canon 580EXII Alien Bee remote triggers (Like these) Ansmann 2850mAh Rechargeable Batteries Cleaning Cloth (ever had a beer cover your camera?) Cleaning Fluid

All this fits in my thinkTANK Street Walker HD along with my MacBook Pro, My (Not really my) MiFi from 3MobileBuzz that I'm currently testing out and my two new CF cards from DigitalRev that are part of an upcoming post for dPS.

I arrive out there at about 19:30 - I'm usually always early to pick up my photographers pass, just in case something goes wrong. (As did last night with my friend Helen) however, for me last night - I picked up my wrist band and slapped it on. We headed down into the pit - flashing the wrist band at the security guards and in we go. Helen and I are in there and then Tina turns up, A few others follow...

The support band come on, Support are almost always plagued by bad lighting and you get used to that, nothing you can do - even with the 5DMk2  - the light for the support was average at best, but then it was average the whole night (Thanks HMV Forum) Support come out, roll off three songs (The regular amount, who decided three songs?) and we're out of there.. So, I stand at the end of the pit, against the wall and listen to Detroit Social Club, the support band, while the rock it for another four tracks I look through my photos and am very pleased that I've a load of space still on the 16gb CF card that I'm running, it's a SanDisk Extreme IV 16GB job and has LOADS of space for your average night in front of a band. Much better than the 4GB cards I use in that if you're pressing it often, you can make it part way through song two and have to change a card - not ideal! breaks the flow, loses the rhythm..etc etc! So, with D.S.C leaving the stage, the roadies swapping out the amps for a set of bigger ones and we're allowed back in. With 10 to 15 photographers in a regular sized pit, things can get heavy - so make sure you are always nice to each other - it's always a good idea to make yourself known, say hello, talk to each other! Don't sit there with a glum look on your face saying nothing! (Like you do at ever gig I've seen you at.. you know who you are!) So - we wait, ten minutes or so and the lights go down and the band comes up.. well, out... And you're away! But, this is the thing - and it's what I was guilty of for a long time... You don't set your camera to the fastest fire rate and press and hold! - Well, you can, I guess.. But I find, these days that it's SO much better to hold off a little, take a shot or two - check your settings, check your exposure... Concert lighting is always changing! To some extent, there's not a lot you can do about it - the lighting guy may well be on something that makes him backlight every gig with a strong red and side washes of magenta - nice! not!

I usually start off around iso800 and work my way up (or down!) depending on the lighting, and slowly am learning how things go at a regular concert...