Tuesday, April 28, 2009

(Not Just) Another Concert - BC Scene

If you find yourself heading to see a show with Vancouver-based Black Mountain, my advice is this: Be prepared. They're going to knock your socks off.

I didn't know what to expect when I got invited by CBC Radio 3 to photograph a BC Scene show here in Ottawa on Friday night which featured three bands: The Pack A.D., Ladyhawk and Black Mountain. I had heard Ladyhawk before, but only had time to check the Myspace pages for the other two bands briefly before heading to the gig. I wasn't prepared. They were fantastic.

They were, however, tough to shoot. As anyone who photographs concerts knows, you've got a few things working against you. You're in the midst of a crowd(hopefully, for the band's sake), you're shooting band members who are moving all over the place (at rock shows anyway) and most importantly... IT'S DARK. It's a bad combo for good pics, and that means you need a little luck and you need to shoot a lot. I like to go into a concert with my metering set to "spot" and exposure compensation set around -2/3 to -1. That does a good job most times, and with auto-ISO keeping a minimum shutter speed of 1/60th or so, I get a decent number of sharp pictures. Of course faster shutter speeds are better, but if the venue is dark that might not be possible. This show was dark, and I also had to make adjustments because of the following: These bands are hairy. There are a lot of beards and a lot of long hair. With only small areas of skin showing, my spot meter method wouldn't cut it. Centre-weighted metering, and -2/3 to -1 2/3 stops compensation works a lot better in this situation. You still have to take a lot of pictures, but it ups the odds substantially.

You can see more pics and listen to the concert online at the Radio3 website.

The full gallery is on Flickr.

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