Most of the time when I travel for work, I travel light. That means a small camera (usually my x100f these days), and even if I take the mirrorless, I only take one or two lenses. But occasionally, I’ll go crazy and take the big zoom lens with me, as I did this one time in Istanbul. And boy was I happy that I did. This shot was the best to come out of a morning of strolling around the sites, making the most of the compression of the zoom for (I think) great effect.
Canon 7D, 185mm, f/3.2, 1/500s, ISO 400
Vintage trouble in general has a nostalgia feel not only in their music but also in their looks. But while that might be true of the band in general, it’s striking about singer Ty Taylor, a living blend of James Brown and Junior Wells with the energy to live to that legacy. I shot this ages ago, but it went bizarrely unpublished until now.
Canon EOS 7D, 310mm, f/3,2, 1/500s, ISO 400
Nalle Colt is the guitarist of Vintage Trouble, a blues/soul revival band that packs a ton of energy. In my early days of shooting concerts I would use a lot of dutch angles, then I stopped doing it. But once in a while, it works quite nicely.
Ron in the Dark
Canon A2, 200mm, f/2.8, 1/160s, ISO 3200
Film: Kodak T-Max 3200
I have not had much success shooting concerts with film. It’s given me a healthy dose of respect for all those jazz and rock photographers of the pre-digital era. Occasionally though a few shots came through, and this one is one of those. There is something of that old jazz photography in there that really speaks to me even though most of the shot is completely in the dark.
Canon 7D, 150mm, f/4, 1/250s, ISO 1600
Michael League is the bassist, band leader and principal composer/arranger of the increasingly renowned band Snarky Puppy. Unlike most jazz bassists (although I don’t quite know why), he’s upbeat and nearly always smiling on stage, which is why I picked a slightly more sober picture of him. If you’re not too fond of jazz, pick their Family Dinner vol. 1 record, full of soulful singing guests. If you’re happy with (modern) instrumental jazz, check out We Like it Here.
Canon 7D, 320mm, f/3.2, 1/200s, ISO 1600
Tommy Emmanuel is a guitar player extraordinaire, dragging the art of picking to new heights, kicking and screaming. He’s quite the showman as well, and while I manage to take a few more spectacular shots of him, I picked this one because of its crisp quality. I’m actually quite amazed I pulled off a shot that crisp from that far away in the audience. I don’t own any albums of his yet, but I don’t think you can go wrong with a Greatest Hits.
Mosque on Stilts
Canon 7D, 185mm, f/11, 1/400s, ISO 800
Not very far from the so-called James Bond Island (featured in the Man with the Golden Gun) is a village on stilts called Panyee. The most impressive thing about the village is the Mosque standing tall above the rest. I doubt if it’s actually on stilts, but it made for a good photo title!
Long Tail Waiting
Canon 7D, 110mm, f/11, 1/250s, ISO 400
On the morning of our boat excursion, I got up at dawn (like most mornings when we were in Ko Yao Noï) with tripod and zoom lens in the hope of capturing gorgeous pictures of the sunrise. Alas the cloud cover was simply too thick, although we did have a bit of gold about half an hour after sunrise as you can see here. To think I lugged all of this heavy gear for nothing…
Canon 7D, 320mm, f/4, 1/320s, ISO 1600
Some types of musicians are just hard to shoot: pianists are a particular challenge, I find. No so drummers. By definition, there’s always something going on and the instrument itself is a natural frame. Having said that, while it’s easy to visualise the shot, it’s actually devilishly hard to execute sometimes: getting the eyes open, the drumsticks up and a good facial expression altogether at the same time (not to mention a sharp shot, since drummers are often at the back, so your zoom is all the way out…) Anyway, when it works, it’s rewarding, and I really like this shot of Snarky Puppy drummer Larnell Lewis. Especially the sweat dripping down his backlit temples, that was the unexpected bonus.
Snarky guitar drenched in light
Canon EOS 7D, 85mm, f/3.2 , 1/250s, ISO 1600
Last week-end I was lucky enough to attend the JZ Festival, an annual jazz event in the heart of Shanghai. It featured a ton of talented artists but the one that had me the most excited was Snarky Puppy, a band I discovered recently and fell completely in love with. I was standing very near the front with a good 70-200 zoom and took a ton of cool shots which I’ll be sharing this week (for those who cannot wait, the full album is on Flickr here). Guitarist Bob Lanzetti was standing a little bit to my right and at times he was literally bathed in light. I managed to capture the picture above in the middle of a cool solo.