Sunday, February 3, 2013

Knowing the Location

Last night I had the opportunity to see Hilda Kazasyan at Studio 5 in Sofia.  The show kicked off a month long parade of jazz coming through the city that will be topped off at the end of the month by a weekend long concert at Mixtape 5.

Playing to a more mature, yet overall diverse crowd, the Big Band Brass Association opened with one or two songs before Hilda arrived.  Her personality and stage presence provided a glow that lit up the room.  The intimate venue of Studio 5 was the perfect location for her personal and welcoming show.  The audience stood feet from her microphone and took in all the show had to offer.  

My slow ... very slow ... development of the understanding of how to light venues has led me to the following conclusion.  You have to know your venue ... duh.  I arrived at Studio 5 last night a touch late and realized that I had no idea what the venue looked like, where I could position lights or what the house lights were like.  After flashing a few poor customers directly in the face with some side stage lighting tests I realized that I would be forced to use the stage lights.

It turned out that the high ISO capabilities of the 5D Mark III were up to the task.  The photos below are from the Hilda Kazasyan concert at Studio 5 last night.  I managed to adapt to the conditions on the fly but next time I will definitely be scouting the location beforehand and considering all the lighting options.

The second realization that I have come to recently is that photographers have a detrimental effect at concerts.  During my three most recent shoots the number of photographers/videographers has been ... intrusive.  Flashes going off, photographers pushing for "the shot" and polite concert goers not wanting to interfere with the "professionals" has, in my opinion, taken away from the event.  Part of the art of event photography is blending into the background and not interfering with the actual event or the event-goers.  During the Ruth Koleva show at Mixtape 5, I was so disappointed with amount of media there and how they were interfering with the show I took down my equipment and left.  I did not want to contribute to an already awkward situation.  While recording images of events is an important and worthwhile, the event photographer must realize that he/she is there to record it, not affect it.

That being said ... here are some images from the Hilda Kazasyan concert last night ... hypocritical or not?  You be the judge.