As I said in my first post about this festival, I love Foals. I've already seen them three times before, and I already knew that they rock like hell. Amazing live band, and they get better album after album. And while other band could lose some of their power on such big stages like the one at Longitude, it's not their case. 10 people or 10 thousands doesn't really matter to them, and to photograph them it's always a win win situation. But this time was different, in a good way. In fact after we entered the first song, one of the event manager escorted us out of the pit, I was, alongside the other photographers, a bit pissed off as I thought "only one song and they kick us out? WTF?!?!" but then he told us that the band wants the photographer to enter at the last three songs. Yes, you read well, the last three. Why? Well according to him they say they are better to photograph at the end of their performance, and I couldn't agree more, as the end is always the best moment, but at least to me, it never happened before.
It was even better because at that time, about 8.15pm, ambient light starts to be less bright, it has a warmer colour, and the stage lights become more prominents, and the mix of these factors it gives us the best combination to shoot (or at least IMHO), where you don't have to use very high ISO (I shoot at 800 ISO) thanks to the ambient light, but the stage lights, that were a bit weaker earlier, now have enough power to give a better sensation of depth.
Another cool thing of this band, is the fact that the singer always get off the stage and tries to jump in the crowd. He does all the times, I think it's his thing, and I like it.
So what else I can add? Nothing really, great band to see, great band to photograph in one of the best moments of the day to photograph in general. So it's pretty clear that unlike the previous gigs took in the Heineken tent, these are pretty good.
The set is pretty big, 35 photos, so here I've attached only some of the best, but you can see the full set on my flickr account.
Even if I generally don't like R&B music, I have to say that she did a very good album, and I was really looking forward to see how she performs on a stage, and I have to say that she did pretty well. Unfortunately she played in the same stage of AlunaGeorge, and if I thought that in the previous gig we reached the bottom of how bad lights can be in a such big stage, I was wrong. Unfortunately for this artist lights were even worst. But not because it was dark, but because the quality of light was terrible. I know, you are probably sick to ear from that I hate LED lights at this stage, but seriously, some times these lights can just ruin every single shots. Thank God B/W conversion saves my arse, but for fuck's sake, why I can't have decent colour shots? Anyway, that's the worst gig I shot at the festival, or at least from a photographic point of view, as I said above the artist's performance was really good, but at the end I deleted most of the photos I took and I picked only ten.
I have to admit it: that's the only act I shoot at the Longitude Festival that I didn't have a clue of who they were, I went there only because a fellow photographer suggested me to go to see them as they could be cool to photograph, but seriously, it was the first time I heard them. Actually, I thought that Aluna George was the name of the girl, and only once I got home I found out that Aluna is the singer, and George is the other guy. Anyway, they were pretty good, not my type of music, but good. Unfortunately the Heineken Live Project Stage was terribly illuminated. Loads of LED lights, music photographers' mortal enemy, which gave me only red and blue hard lights, at some stage it was like to shoot in a small venue, but bigger. I had only few moments where the lights were decent.
And while I kinda liked their music, I didn't like the photos I took of them, at all, but I think is not not fair to show you only when I succeed, but I have to show you when I fail as well (or at least until the photos are showable). Anyway, down here you can see some of the "best" shots, while the full set is here.
So, after two months with no gigs, I decided that it was about time to shoot something, otherwise it would be pretty pointless to have a website called Music Photographer and not shooting any gigs. Anyway, even if in the past I said "No more festival for me" as I think they are a big pain in the butt for a photographer, and I still think in this way, I decided to go to the Longitude Festival in Marlay Park here in Dublin. But only for one day, no more crazy shit like trying to photograph a billion of artists in 2/3 days and get wrecked, I took it easy. I decided to go for these simple reasons:
And as the promoter asked me to photograph the place as well, for the first two hours I went around taking pictures of the festival, and I didn't approach any pits before 6pm. I have to say that it has been a last minute decision, I was quite unprepared for this festival, I didn't have a map, I didn't have a timetable, I didn't plan anything, as I did in the past, I just wanted to shoot a few bands and that's it.
In an era were the common people, and the common photographers as well, think that you can fix everything with Photoshop, talk about filters it might sounds a bit out of time, retro' if you like it, vintage if you are a feckin hipster, but while some filter can be easily replicated with Photoshop, obtaining the same result or even better, there are some filter that are irreplaceable, like polarizers and ND filters.
You can cheat as much as you want, but those two types of filter cannot be faked.
As I mentioned before, I bought the Lee Big Stopper a few months ago, and I absolutely love it. Quality is brilliant, and 10 stops of light reduction can turn any boring waterways to something amazing. But the problem when it comes to landscape photography, is that you never have an even exposure, you expose for the sky or for the foreground, is one or the other, you cannot have both.
So which options do you have? Well, with two exposures, you can merge them later in photoshop and give the illusion that it's one shot, I did it a billion of times, and most of them it gives a good results, some others not that good. So yesterday I went to one of the local camera shops (after comparing prices online, and when I see that the price is similar, I prefer to buy from local shops), and as I already had the Lee system, I bought the Lee Graduated ND Filters Kit (the hard edge as they are perfect for landscape as I always have a clear line of horizon) which has three different filters:
And just after work I went straight away on one of my favourite places in Dublin, Seapoint, a nice place just above Dun Laoghaire, and a few stops with the Dart from where I live, and I did some quick tests.
A week ago, myself, my girlfriend and a few friends, probably confused by the irish heatwave like moths when they see any source of lights, we decided to do a nice, but quite long (or at least for me) walk, from Sutton train station to Howth, doing to south coastal walk.
Obviously after 100 meters we started to complain, especially because it was pretty warm, even for a bunch of italians well used to higher temperatures. But despite the length of this walk, as it took three hours to get to Howth, it has been a beautiful experience, that showed to us, once again, how beautiful is this city, especially when it's not covered by the clouds. Obviously I had my camera, and obviously I took some photos, and even if the light wasn't the best for me, as for me the best moment is during the golden hour, I brought home some decent shots.
So, dear tourists, if you come to Dublin, and you spend your days only in Temple Bar, and then you come back to your home your saying that there is nothing to see in Dublin, well, next time try to move your bleeding arses rather than seat on a bloody fake "traditional" pub downtown.
This is one of the gigs I left behind, and while I didn't go to any gigs in the past few weeks, I decided to resume this gig I took for the Camden Crawl Dublin back in May. And the band we are talking today is Echo & The Bunnymen.
To be fair, I wasn't exactly a fan of this band, I liked a few songs, but that's it. I was there only for a reson: win the competition and get a free phone, and guess what? I won. Yes, a phone that was blocked by the operator (Meteor was the sponsor) and obviously I have a Vodafone SIM. I tried to unblock it, and I fail. I asked to Meteor and they told me to go to any chinese shops to get it unblocked. I went to the chinese and he failed. So fuck it.
Anyway... Echo & The Bunnymen. The venue was the Button Factory, which most of the times is a decent venue, and this time it was just a little bit under the average, with a couple of unusual problems.
First problem, we (photographers) were allowed to stay only on the left and right side of the pit, which wasn't that deep (I would say 60cm?), but not in front of the singer, as apparently he doesn't like photographers (then why you allowed photographers? Just tell that you don't want anyone and "arrivederci" no?!), actually, he probably hate photographers as I've been told that he used to kick photographers in the face.
Second problem, the pit was packed. As 50% of the photographers allowed to shoot for the festival were in that pit, you can easily get the picture of 10/12 people trying to get the best spot as possible, and with the consequence that nobody could move, so all the pictures are made from the same angle, which is something that I hate. But on the other hand I had a free tripod (a fellow photographer's shoulder).
Light wise, as I said, lights were a bit shiter than the average, and most of them were pointed on the singer, so decent photos of the singer, "meh" photos of the other members, and no photos of the drummer, as I couldn't even see him, and he was in the complete darkness anyway.
Band to see? Not really, but then it's up to you, if you like them, then it could be a good gig, but they didn't catch my attention, at all. Band to photograph? Same as above.
Down here you can see some of the best pictures, and obviously you can find them on flickr as well.
Years ago I used to go out for what we can call "photo hunting", and come back with a billion of photos, while now often, obviously apart from gigs where my average is still pretty high regarding the amount of shots taken, I come back with one or two shots, well for sure 100 shots of the same scene, but at the end all those shots are just to get one shot right. I taught myself to go out with some already in mind, obviously not all the times, I still need to scout for new places, but when I know what I want, I just go for that. I started to apply to photography what I generally do for shopping, I want that thing, if they have it good, if not I'm out in less than 5 seconds (and as you can wonder I'm generally quick for shopping, apart when I go to kitchen accessories, when I see a pan or a good set of knives I go bananas).
Anyway, a long paragraph just to introduce this picture I took a few days ago in O'Connell Street. I have to say that I'm not 100% happy with it, the sky is not perfect and maybe I had to wait another 20 minutes, but I had some friends waiting for me so I had to run away.
(Buy it on RedBubble)
I just stole this video from Fstoppers, where Chris Knight shows one way to developer RAW files in Lightroom 5 and to get as much as possible of dynamic range, and that's one of the reason you should always shoot in RAW, as this format keeps alll the information the sensor of your camera can catch, information that would be lost if you shoot in JPEG.
Bear in mind that this is one method, not THE method.