Canon 7D, 32mm, f/4, 1/5s, ISO 2000
Today’s shot requires a little more explanation than I normally give, but bear with me a moment and all will be made clear. About 18 months ago, I had a conversation with the good people at Pelgrane Press about a role-playing game supplement they were working on based in Surrealist Paris. I did a series of shoots with models costumed as the period dictated, but they weren’t surreal enough, so I started experimenting with collages and double exposures. The book, entitled Dreamhounds of Paris is being released next month, and some of my pictures are featured. I thought I would share some of my favourite, both those that weren’t used and some of those that were. This is one of the ones that didn’t make it.
Ben in the Light
Fuji x100s, 50mm, f/2,8, 1/125s, ISO 1600
I haven’t posted a concert photo in ages. Truth be told, I haven’t been to a concert in ages. This is the last gig I attended in Europe, Monophonics at the Nouveau Casino in Paris. Since the Monophonics band backed Ben L’Oncle Soul (a French soul singer with a pretty decent voice) during his French tour, he paid them a visit during their gig. To be fair, the photos I got with the x100s and the 50mm extension weren’t great overall. 50mm isn’t close enough for most shots, and the AF performance was seriously hampered by the extension, but there are a few good shots, including this one of Ben. Not the kind of shot I normally capture, but I really like the light display here.
The Softer Side of Eric
Canon A2, 50mm, f/2.8, 1/100s, Agfa Scala 200 film
Eric is not only a good friend and a super-talented writer, he’s also a fantastic model. Every time I go to Dublin, his beard has grown longer and bushier and I cannot help but do a few shots. Last time I was there I shot Eric (The Viking) with my x100s, but I also had my film camera with me, and my favourite B&W film, the Agfa Scala. I’ve only managed to scan the results recently, and I absolutely love this portrait of his, a much softer one than the digital version.
The Three Towers
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/16, 30s, ISO 200
A few years ago I went to Shanghai on a business trip and took a photo that I entitled The Two Towers (in a not so subtle reference to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings) featuring the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Jin Mao Tower. Going back to a similar location last week, I realised that even if I’d wanted to, I couldn’t do the same shot again: there’s a third tower now, the nearly finished Shanghai Tower. Still, I stabilized my gorillapod, screwed on my ND 400 filter, activated the internal ND 8 filter (for a combined ND 3200) and fired for 30s in plain daylight. I quite like the results.
Lady in White
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/11, 1/200s
A few weeks back I was invited to shoot another costumed party, this time with a 1001 Nights theme. The diversity of costumes was great, and I experimented with high-key or approaching. This is one of the interesting white on white shots of the evening.
Canon 7D, 80mm, f/10, 1/250s, ISO 100
One of the fun shots I did at the costumed party I was hired to shoot back in January.
Sunrise Under the Bay Bridge
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/11, 14s, ISO 200 w. ND 64 external filter and ND 8 internal filter
It’s surprisingly difficult to do sunrise shots of San Francisco. The city is nearly always lost in fog until close to mid-day, and on my first day there last week I didn’t realise how lucky I was to catch this much of a sunrise, which is admittedly not much. Still, I quite liked the composition, with the wooden piles at the forefront and what little of the morning sunlight is visible directly under the bridge. I remain amazed at my x100s’ capabilities and am seriously thinking about ditching the Canon system altogether…
Eric (The Viking)
Fuji x100s, 35mm, f/5, 1/4000s, ISO 3200
My friend Eric has a new, scruffier look. When I met him in Dublin last week I took a few shots, and bizarrely the one that came out the best was the one I took having inadvertently knocked the shutter speed dial from A to 4000 on the x100s. I did have to massage it in post quite a bit, but I like the result!
Canon 1000D, 80mm, f/1.4, 1/80s, ISO 800
Revisiting my archives of concert shots for this book project I have, I rediscover some old gems. This shot of Vinyl‘s Billy Frates taken at the Blue Nile in New Orleans during Jazzfest 2010 stands out. The green cast is the lighting, not a post-production addition, and I think it conveys a great feel. It also goes to show that I was once capable of doing sharp shots at f/1.4, and that my Canon 1000D wasn’t such a bad camera after all!
Canon 7D + Lensbaby Composer, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 500
I’ve started working on a book project showing my favourite B&W concert shots and talking about the musicians and why I love their music. I was sorting through the photos of an Avishai Cohen gig from 2010 when this shot came up. It was in color, but I tweaked a nice B&W and I think it works a treat. Edited in Lightroom with x-equals’ XeL 2.0.