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Thread: Shooting an informal gig in open air

  1. #1
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Example Fingers in the Jam (FITJ) shot at Langley Park on 6th April 2012.

    Last time I shot a 'band', although it was outdoors, they were in the end of a marquee (very large tent) facing out, but not subject to sunlight. Back then I shot using my Nikon 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6.

    This time I knew I wanted to blur the background more, so I used my two fastest primes; 50mm f/1.4 and 105mm f/2.8 (Macro) instead of the 18-200mm f/3.5 - f/5.6, I shot at f/2.8 mainly with either lens, to get a sensible DoF.

    With my D5000 in Av at 100 iso (one stop under base iso) f/2.8 at -1.5 EC in UK April sunshine I regularly hit 1/4000s (my fastest shutter speed), with "no where further to go" in terms of exposure
    Even at this, (over exposed) speculars on Microphones were still blooming nastily - this has now been identified as Axial CA, an uncorrectable form Chromatic Aberration. However, in PP (post processing), if you zoom in and give it a wipe with a 100% desaturation brush, it can at least be made far less obvious and doesn't take too long with practice.

    Next time I may try a CPL (circular polariser) to dim the light a little more, but this could be at the risk of speculars bouncing between AA filter and lens elements or CPL filter and producing coloured flare spots. It may be that no CPL and desaturating the Axial CA is the best way, or get a new lens

    Using fixed 50 and 105mm focal lengths and getting in front, between or behind tables sometimes resulted in too tight a framing; e.g. chopping the guitar headstock

    What I learnt this time:
    Watch out for background clutter, try to frame to exclude or hide it, if you cannot completely, think ahead to make the cloning job easier.
    Don't overlook more distant things either, a contrasty tree growing out of the head still doesn't look good, even if it is very soft!

    Focusing on glasses may make the eyes less sharp at wide apertures, but focusing on the neck/hair failed.

    If a trio, don't just shoot all three and singles, I felt a deficit of two shots, especially with interaction this time.

    Timing is important, try to capture;
    Obvious singing
    Mic not obstructing mouth
    Both eyes visible is preferable
    Looks of concentration on their instrument where appropriate (e.g. violin)
    Looks at other band members smiling
    If the subject looks directly at you, react in a positive way, it may get you a smile instead of a quizzical look. I was too shy

    If you can get to them while setting up, it might even be worth asking whether they could "space things out" a little more than usual and keep the area behind them as clear as possible, I had a lot of shots cramped by speakers stands and unused instruments, which in turn required tighter cropping than ideal and/or additional cloning.

    Anyway, onto the pictures, I present, without further ado;
    Fingers in the Jam

    Shooting an informal gig in open air
    Nikon D5000 + Nikon 50mm f/2.8 VR2: 50mm, 1/3333s, f/2.8, iso100 EC -1
    (231-50344)
    Hit Kbd F11 and click image to see at 1,558px 1,000px (recommended)

    Shooting an informal gig in open air
    Nikon D5000 + Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR2: 105mm, 1/3333s, f/2.8, iso100 EC -1
    (James_FITJ_231_50481.jpg)
    Hit Kbd F11 and click image to see at 627px 1,000px (recommended)

    Shooting an informal gig in open air
    Nikon D5000 + Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR2: 105mm, 1/2000s, f/2.8, iso100 EC -1
    (Michael_FITJ_231_50495.jpg)
    Hit Kbd F11 and click image to see at 697px 1,000px (recommended)

    Shooting an informal gig in open air
    Nikon D5000 + Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR2: 105mm, 1/500s, f/2.8, iso100 EC -0.5
    (Sally_FITJ_231_50527.jpg)
    Hit Kbd F11 and click image to see at 811px 1,000px (recommended)

    C&C always welcome, as are any questions.

    Thanks for viewing,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 13th February 2013 at 08:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Very nice, I think you captured enough of the trio in the first image. The solo shots are pretty good also.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Thanks John,

    I don't post pics very often, looks like I scared folks away by writing too much (again)

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    I like the images. Especially the images of the individual performers because the 105mm lens at f/2.8 allowed a more narrow DOF and blurred the background trees...

    However, I wish that today's DSLR cameras would be capable of an ISO 25 which would bail us out of poblems of approaching maximum shutter speed while using our apertures wide open. IMO, that will never happen because low ISO (even if it would be a very useful capability) would not sell cameras like a gazillion-billion-trillion ISO will.

    The low ISO capability would also allow a slow enough shutter speed to blur water with simply the addition of a CPL filter instead of needing to use a ND filter...

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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    You had very nice diffused light and you took good advantage of it. The singers look like they're having a great time here, which isn't the case if you catch their mouths in the wrong position. You also positioned yourself well to avoid excessive glare in their glasses. Though you mentioned issues with stuff on the stage, I would never know it with these photos. Well done all around!

    You mentioned possibly using a polarizer. In harsher light than what you had, that would help reduce glare on the skin (and their glasses in any light).

    What is "Av?" I ask because you're using Nikon equipment and I perhaps incorrectly gathered that that's a Canon term.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    However, I wish that today's DSLR cameras would be capable of an ISO 25 which would bail us out of poblems of approaching maximum shutter speed while using our apertures wide open. IMO, that will never happen because low ISO (even if it would be a very useful capability) would not sell cameras like a gazillion-billion-trillion ISO will.

    The low ISO capability would also allow a slow enough shutter speed to blur water with simply the addition of a CPL filter instead of needing to use a ND filter...
    Thanks Richard,

    Yes I agree, but I think the problem is 'fundamental' and my little Canon S100 solves it with a built in ND filter for bright weather.

    The other thing I'd like is a faster top end shutter speed, 1/8000s would be handy, both for bright conditions and motion capture/freezing, but those only on the top end (and usually FF) models.

    Cheers,

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    You had very nice diffused light and you took good advantage of it. The singers look like they're having a great time here, which isn't the case if you catch their mouths in the wrong position.
    Yes, it was an enjoyable time for all, they had an audience of say 40-50 people, mostly sat at the cafe/picnic tables and it was a nice sunny day. They are all very versatile musicians; with each number they changed instruments and I could post (less good examples) with others in use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    You also positioned yourself well to avoid excessive glare in their glasses. Though you mentioned issues with stuff on the stage, I would never know it with these photos. Well done all around!
    The glasses was largely fortuitous due to the sun being over their left shoulders, so it wasn't 'frontal' to them and about 50 - 70 degrees to me on my right.

    I couldn't move round further left to shoot from the other side because there was a car park/parking lot behind them - plus I'd have been shooting right into the sun then.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    What is "Av?" I ask because you're using Nikon equipment and I perhaps incorrectly gathered that that's a Canon term.
    Perhaps because "A" means Amps (or Amperes) to me from an electrical background, I find the Canon "Av" and "Tv" less ambiguous, even though that's not what's printed on my camera

    Besides, it means the people in the majority (Canon shooters) understand me.

    Cheers,

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    TI don't post pics very often, looks like I scared folks away by writing too much (again)
    Not at all (I hope) - just a case of catching up and finding out that I missed this thread.

    As well as showing us what I think is a very fine set of images, the accompanying text provides an excellent tutorial for anyone shooting a) a similar type event and/or b) a music performance such as this in any location.

    Every so often there are posts put up along the lines of 'I'm going to be shooting a a music gig - Any advice?'. I'd be pointing people to this thread, hence my having earmarked it fot future reference.
    Last edited by Donald; 15th February 2013 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Typo ..... again!

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Every so often there are posts put up along the lines of 'I'm going to be shooting a a music gig - Any advice?'. I'd be pointing people to this thread, hence my having earmarked it for future reference.
    Thanks Donald,

    Yes, I keep meaning to do this for my own posts, I often recall writing something about "x" or "y" but can't find it when I need to!

    I must make contact with them and offer them the shots, they're a very local band to me.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 15th February 2013 at 07:27 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Oooh, tea has arrived, bit more later
    You're lucky. Mine is still cooking. But we've just opened a second bottle of wine, so that's okay!

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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    But we've just opened a second bottle of wine, so that's okay!
    It's not nice to brag, especially before I have opened the first bottle.

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    Re: Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    The other thing I'd like is a faster top end shutter speed, 1/8000s would be handy, both for bright conditions and motion capture/freezing, but those only on the top end (and usually FF) models.

    Cheers,
    The Canon xxD crop cameras have had a 1/8,000 shutter speed since the 20D. When many photographers think about highest shutter speeds; they often only think about freezing action. There probably isn't a lot of difference between 1/4,000 and 1/8,000 second for stopping action(especially when shooting people). They don't think about the shutter speed needed when shooting at the widest aperture on a bright day.

    My 70-200mm f/4L IS lens does a pretty decent job of selective focus even though the maximum aperture is only f/4...

    Shooting an informal gig in open air

    Piggy backing on this, many photographers don't realize the value of High Speed Sync (HSS in Canon talk) for shooting wide open foe selective DOF with flash fill. You need the extra shutter speed because 1/200 or 1/250 second will not allow a wide open aperture in most bright conditions. And... you most often need fill flash in bright and contrasty conditions...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 16th February 2013 at 12:11 AM.

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