*Notre Dame du Travail*
In July I had the unexpected and unbelievable luck of being able to visit a Parisian church at night. But not just any Parisian church: Notre Dame du Travail (Our Lady of Labour) is a 1902 building designed for working class labourers of the 14th arrondissement (I guess it wasn’t gentrified back then). The structure is Eiffel style, with metallic beams and columns, and it’s just visually stunning.
*Moody Lantern Portrait*
The beauty of really wide open lenses is that even at night you can do portraits with wonderful background bokeh. This guys was standing a few meters from me, and I waited a while for him to be looking in (roughly) my direction. This is the final shot I selected of a few and I really like it.
*Keep your Lantern Trimmed and Burning*
I took a lot of portraits of lantern bearers. I was looking for interesting subjects, but also interesting moments. Here, I liked how the lantern light was directly lighting the young man’s face. Of and yes, the title is a bit of a nod to an old, old song…
*The Dragon’s Head*
Getting a good shot of the Dragon’s head is devilishly hard. Since it’s made of rope with only the teeth and eyelamps to actually understand what it is, you need the right angle. Also, it’s nighttime, there’s incense smoke everywhere, and it’s constantly in movement. So I was quite pleased with this shot, and quite thankful I took my f/1.2 lens with me (this was shot at 1.4). The rest of the shot is blurred, but hey, you have to imagine that everything is in motion!
*A Dance with Dragons*
Last week-end was the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance (nothing to do with George RR Martin, despite my facetious title). I had attended last year, with only my trusted 35mm x100F in hand, and while I got a few good shots including this great portrait I felt the need to revisit the event (which is fun in its own right anyway) and try to capture more diverse shots. I carried both my 56mm 1.2 and my 50-140 2.8 and both were put to great use. This is a broad shot of the wonderfully lit lantern display at the top of Wun Sha Street where the Dragon is dressed with incense sticks.
Erik Della Penna is the lead guitarist in the latest line-up of Hazmat Modine (@hazmatmodine), and while (obviously) his guitar and banjo stylings were awesome when I saw them live last year, the other thing that struck me about him were his clear blue eyes. The kind of stare that pierces the soul, as the poets would say. I hopefully captured that, at least as much as you can from a half-length portrait.
I normally try to take neat or well detached concert photographies. Not that there aren’t fantastic live photos that are more grungy or cluttered, but I don’t have a knack for them. Once in a while though, I’ll shoot a photo that isn’t neat, where you can’t quite distinguish the details. Often, when I’m lucky, these convey something different, a bit more of the atmosphere of the venue maybe. Such is this photo of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s Kevin Harris, a quasi black and red.
There’s a lot of fun to be had when taking photos of trombone players. First of all, the shape of the instrument varies based on how extended it is. It can allow for amazing diagonals or, from up close, the bell can be the center of attention. I tried different things with TJ Norris at a DDBB gig in Paris, and I quite like this one. The trombone is all slid in but the 35mm lens (30mm equivalent) makes it look super long already.
*Thomas’ Blue Outline*
The double bass is one of the most graphic instruments to shoot, a delight for concert photographers (or at least for this one.) I’m always looking for interesting lighting, with such a large surface to play with. This was shot at a Cory Seznec gig in Paris and I think it works.
Wade Schuman is the energetic frontman of the band Hazmat Modine. Quite the Renaissance man, Wade is a painter, a college professor, a singer, harmonica and various string instruments player. On stage, he’s an absolute powerhouse and Hazmat Modine is a blast!