Finally, inquiring about shooting Empire 35 at Macmillan Fest got me a press pass to that event, and my first chance to shoot in Rescue Rooms and Rock City Basement.
So, a brace of great gigs this summer, meeting some fantastic people, and the opportunity to get some shots that I'm really proud of can all be traced back to that rather sparsely attended gig back in June!
My best wishes to James, Jeff, Rich, and Sean in whatever they're off to do next. One thing I won't miss for the time being though - waiting for the rare moments when Sean's hair isn't in front of his face so that the camera's auto-focus stands any chance of locking on to him! :P
135mm f/2 @ ISO640, f4.5, 320s
Next up was an unnamed band (apparently now named 'The Band With No Name'), made up of members of other acts on the bill, playing rockabilly. After reviewing some of the shots of the Bophins, I switched to the 85mm lens to get some tighter shots. However, with movement restricted by the audience, and a double bass taking centre stage, I probably would have been better off sticking with the 50mm. That said, the 50mm lens wouldn't have got me the shot of the drummer that I like...
The original plan had been to stay a bit later and shoot more of the bands. But, with friends having to leave earlier than expected, and things running well behind schedule, I decided to call it a day. Overall, I'm reasonably happy with the results, but plenty more practice is still needed.
I decided to cut my losses before the headline act and just enjoy their set, not least because the crowd were crammed right up to the stage. In better conditions, they would have been great to shoot - very tight, and huge energy.
Still, it wasn't a complete loss - for starters, all the bands were great. I managed to salvage a few images via Lightroom, and learned a lot about how far I can push my EOS 70D in challenging conditions like this. I'm looking forward to shooting The Hip Priests again in a venue that has, oh I don't know, maybe at least one spotlight pointing at them!
First up on the bill were Ivory Yardsale, a two-piece band from Kettering. I got a few shots of them whilst getting a feel for the lighting conditions. I was shooting in manual mode, leaving the ISO on auto - I wanted to be able to play with the depth of field a bit whilst still making sure that I got the shot (even if it risked being a bit noisy).
The Bophins were an altogether different proposition. An energetic four-piece - it was non-stop concentration to keep track of what was going on. In particular, the lead guitarist, Tim O'Neill, moves around a lot. I used the 85mm lens for most of the shots, but switched to the 50mm to get some (slightly) wider angles when I couldn't get far enough back (the bar was in the way!). I kept the shutter speed at 1/125s most of the time, which was just fast enough to avoid blurring of the guitarist hands. There was some blurring on the drumsticks, but I think that works quite well, giving a sense of movement. Pushing the speed any faster just saw the ISO jump up to 6400, and some very noisy images.
I finally got away from Wellingborough at midnight, and thanks to a stretch of the M1 being closed for roadworks, the journey home was almost 2 hours... Still, for a first attempt, I'm quite pleased with the results - well worth the trip.