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Old May 18, 2007, 6:51 AM   #1
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7 weeks today I'll be going to the Cavern Club to see the original Quarrymen; and I want to take some photos. Normally I would try and practice but I'm not sure that I can replicate the conditions. So ...


... do any of you have experience of taking photos of bands in clubs?

I'll be using my GX-10 plus SEF-36PZF flash (Pentax equivalent K10D + AF360 FGZ). The lenses are the 18-55mm kit lens and my old Sigma 28-200mm.

I am assuming that setting the ISO at 400 will be a reasonable compromise between speed and noise. But after that I have no idea. It doesn't help that I only got the flash last week so haven't had a chance to play with it much.

So as I said, any advice? Suggestions as to which might be the better lens to use (I need to see what happens if I use flash at 200mm). Leave the exposure at Spot or go for multi-segment? Do I leave the flash on automatic or try to do it manually? Etc. etc.

In the past I'd have just left my compact point and shoot on auto but now I have a "real" camera I'd like to get the best pics I can.

Thanks in advance for any advice based on such an unknown situation!

Keith

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Old May 18, 2007, 8:11 AM   #2
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wow, where to begin???
is this a concert?? an open air event??
need more info about the location and lighting.

roy
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Old May 18, 2007, 8:11 AM   #3
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Following a band on tour (small clubs) was actually how I got in to photography after the travelling snapshot phase.

First advice would be to get a 50 mm 1.4 lens! Using the flash will ruin the stage lighting, which is normally elaborated to look as nice as possible. Even if the use of flash is not explicitly forbidden, it will probably annoy some of the audience and possibly the band as well.

Secondly, look for the action rather than technically perfect shots. A somewhat blurry shot might well convey the atmosphere a lot better than a super sharp boring depicting of the artists.

Thirdly, shoot RAW to get best possibility to tweak exposure, white balance etc afterwards in post processing. In the club all of this is very difficult to get spot on.

Fourth: don't forget to enjoy the gig!

Sample, would have been ruined by flash.

Kjell


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Old May 18, 2007, 8:13 AM   #4
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robar wrote:
Quote:
is this a concert?? an open air event??
need more info about the location and lighting.
C'mon Roy! Quarrymen, The Cavern!Hint: Four lads from Liverpool

Kjell
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Old May 18, 2007, 9:40 AM   #5
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bilybianca wrote:
Quote:
robar wrote:
Quote:
is this a concert?? an open air event??
need more info about the location and lighting.
C'mon Roy! Quarrymen, The Cavern!Hint: Four lads from Liverpool

Kjell
No idea about lighting but the location looks like this:


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Old May 18, 2007, 6:59 PM   #6
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I second the vote for as fast a lens as you can lay hands on. If you are going to be seated close enough to the stage, a 50mm 1.4 or 1.7 as Kjell suggested would be the thing. If you are going to be far back and need some telephoto, 135mm f/2.8s can be had fairly cheaply (but maximum aperture is two full stops less than the 1.4).

This shot was with a 180mm f/2.5 wide open and I still needed ISO 1600 to hit 1/200. You should get some perfectly usable shots even at high ISO but faster lenses will certainly serve you better.

Tim
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Old May 19, 2007, 7:09 PM   #7
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Kjell - you got it in one! These are the now 60+yr olds that played with Mr Lennon before Lord McCartney (can only be a matter of time) joined. And the Cavern is a recreation of the original. Great photo, a fast prime lens by any chance? I think I'll definitely follow your third piece of advice and shoot RAW (+ jpg). I'll also remember your 4th bit of advice. I did once sit through a gig taking photos and everyone around me assumed that I hadn't enjoyed it. But I have a feeling I'll enjoy this one.

Tim - really like your photo too. Slightly depressing when I see that it needed 1600 ISO and f/2.5 to get a 1/200 shutter speed. Having just bought the camera (plus a number of extras) I'm not sure I can justify spending yet more cash; even if it is only about £150. Especially when I know I'm going to have to replace my 28-200mm at some point. Oh well, I'll just have to win the lottery!


Thanks again guys, I guess I'll just play it by ear and hope for the best.
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Old May 19, 2007, 7:41 PM   #8
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Keithw wrote:
Quote:
Great photo, a fast prime lens by any chance?
Yes, a fast prime. The A*85 f1.4 I bought together with my second Program A/Program Plus body in 1986 for the purpose of following my mates rock group on tour for some indefinite time. My idea was a photo project either to write/shoot a documentary on just another rock band touring the rural areas for a hot dog, or to tell the story of "how it all started" about one of the super star groups touring the world. After a year and a "newcomers of the year" award from the major newspaper my buddy was kicked out of the band for "lack of committment" and the charm of it went out the drain. I still have the lens and enjoy it! (And I've still got a few thousands of negatives from the tours, one of the best periods of my life.)

Kjell
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Old May 20, 2007, 7:40 AM   #9
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Hey Keith.

Looking at the shot of the venue you posted I can tell you my brother's band played at a very similar venue recently, and it was a right pain in the arse!
I had a 50mm 1.4 and even wide open and at 1600 I struggled to get a decent sharp image.
In the end I gave up and started using my Zenitar 16mm with long exposures and intentionally twisting the camera to get some weird effects.
I also experimented a bit with long exposure+flash and incorrect white balance.

You can see some of the shots here:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=vaul...=7911776%40N07

To be honest I was only happy with a few of them, but the band seemed to like them, and being art students they actually liked the ****ed up ones, haha

However, it looks like your venue has better lighting so hopefully you'll have better luck than me!

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