Because of school and other obligations, I haven’t been able to shoot concerts for sometime now. So obviously I had to hit one up as soon as my exams are over! There was this one night when Anberlin’s A Day Late was randomly stuck in my head — I’m not a big Anberlin fan — then I found out they were playing in Toronto the day I finish my exams, soI had to cover the show for my music blog that I have also been neglecting. It turned out to be a great night because I remember that I’m talented and I’m good at this concert photography thing. I really needed the reminder after the semester. I needed to remember that I’m more than my grades.
It has been some time since I had shot a show and it had been two years (according to Foursquare) since I have been to the venue — whoa! I have always enjoyed The Opera House, not their moody lighting but the balcony is great to hang out at. It was a fantastic night! Besides the fact that Anberlin put on a great show and were awesome subjects, it was a show without a photo pit, though I was hesitant at first because shooting from the crowd is pretty inconvenient for a lazy ass like me. Although I do enjoy the luxury of shooting from various angles, I always have a feeling that I’m interrupting the audience as I make my way around the area to look for a good spot. And then there is the “now-that-I-found-a-good-angle-I-don’t-want-to-let-it-go-but-I-want-to-shoot-somewhere-else-too-aaah-what-to-do” problem. But it worked out perfectly that night!
Make Do And Mend
For the first band Make Do And Mend, I walked around the crowd to get different angles but I stuck to the stage left mostly because it’s less crowded. Then I moved around quickly and snapped some shots while trying not to disrupt the people standing behind me if I’m holding my camera up. It was easier to walk around because the place wasn’t packed yet. But one thing I dislike about shooting from the crowd is how people’s heads get in the way and make a very distracting photo sometimes.
More people showed up after the first band, so I had to rethink my strategy. For the first two songs, I moved around the left of stage for some photos to look for a good angle, then I went to the back of the crowd and found a spot by the wall behind the bar. Another great feature of The Opera House is that the merch/bar area is a few steps elevated from the general pit area. So I had some height over the crowd which is perfect for crowd shots! Because I love that spot so much and I didn’t want to move, I stayed there for the remaining of the show.
One of the main goals I had shooting Paper Route was to capture the whole band and their cool drum set up and that angle was perfect for these shots. The lighting for Paper Route was not that great — lots of dark washes, red lights and not enough front lighting. Here are the few that turned out.
I’m so glad I got this one! It’s originally washed by red light so I turned it to black and white. I am so happy that it’s in focus and the light is on the drum set and you could still see the silhouettes of others.
Anberlin had lots of backlights and strobes, which made me really unhappy at first but then it was a great challenge! It gave me a chance to make some photos I normally would have avoided. I’m glad I stuck at my spot in the corner because it got crowded when Anberlin came on, so it would have been tougher for tiny me to squeeze between the audience. Also, the band also moved a lot, especially lead singer Stephen Christian who was pacing across the stage. If I had stayed in the crowd and shot there, I would have been blocked by people’s heads and I couldn’t track him as easily as I did from an elevated spot with my 85mm f/1.8. Another thing why I like shooting from the crowd is because I love photos of band members interacting with concert goers. To me, it’s really what concerts are all about, so I like to include the audience in my photos whenever I could.
HOLY STAGE RUSH! After their set and before they come out to do one last song, Stephen Christian said to the crowd, “We are in one of the biggest cities in Canada I don’t understand why there isn’t a barricade here but what I don’t understand even more is WHY AREN’T YOU GUYS UP HERE WITH ME???” And that was pretty much the best thing any concert goer could imagine hearing. I mean personally I was also wondering why there was no photo pit, but I didn’t realize that there hasn’t been any crowd surfers either. Anyway, the crowd rushed on as the band played the last song, and the lighting person began to turn up the light on stage though it was still pretty minimal and tough for me to take photos on my Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. I’m never really good at crowd shots and it’s tougher without flash but I managed!!! I swear I made some of my best photos that night.
P.S. As I was shooting, I kept thinking how Stephen Christian reminds me of Austin Carlile of Of Mice & Men… I know, they know nothing alike and I have a rep for thinking people look alike when they really don’t. I’m not the biggest fans of these two bands/two of them but from a photographer’s point of view, their tall frame and stage presence do remind me of each other… Is it really just me?????!!!!! I’m not weird, am I?
Thank you for reading! And don’t forget to check out my music blog.