This weekend I took a few shots at a house concert where Peter Elkas performed with Andrea Simms-Karp opening. The show was hosted by Bob and Cathy of Bobcat house concerts, and once again they picked a winner. The show was amazing.
House concerts mean low light, and low light means blasting the musicians with flash, or using a nice wide aperture, throwing on Auto-ISO and hoping for the best. I'm not much for flash at concerts, and most times neither are the performers, so that was out. It wasn't loud enough to be able to just hold the shutter button down for the whole show, so I couldn't up the odds that way either. With some good equipment and good technique, it's usually possible to get a few winners. In this case I used the 50mm f1.8, a lens that I love and most everybody else does too. It's cheap and bright, sharp and small. What more could you ask? Well a silent-wave motor I suppose would be nice, as it can be a touch loud when focusing - especially if it's hunting. Whiiizz, Crack! Whiiizzz, Crack!
That's splitting hairs however. This lens is great on the D300, the D70, and probably any other SLR with a screw to drive it. As for technique, I've had my best luck at concerts with spot metering and a slight (-2/3 to -1 stop) underexposure reading off the performer's face. It works more often than not, and that's what I did this time.
(All photos: D300, colour-corrected, cropped and resized with bit of sharpening in Photoshop. Click for larger version)
Doug Friesen. (ISO 500, email@example.com)
Andrea Simms-Karp and Doug Friesen (ISO 800, 1/40@f2)
Peter Elkas (ISO 2000, 1/40@f2)