Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kid Rock and Foreigner - Photographing a Concert

Last night I photographed the Foreigner and Kid Rock concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater. It has been quite a long time since I have photographed a rock concert, and the first time shooting from the pit in front of the stage at Shoreline.

I asked for credentials to shoot this concert for the wire service since I really like Kid Rock's music and was a big Foreigner fan in the old days.

Knowing that I would be close to the stage, I chose to bring a Canon 1Dx with a 24-70mm II lens and a Canon 5D Mark III with a 70-200mm II 2.8 IS lens. I figured that those two combinations would suffice, and for once, I was right.

So..without further ado, let me show you the photos and tell you how I shot the photos (camera settings and thoughts).

Foreigner opened the concert. I saw Bruce Watson jamming on his lead guitar and shot this photo from center position. He was to the right side of the stage, so I was able to get a good angle on this shot using the 70-200mm lens zoomed all the way out.

I always knew Foreigner as the band with Lou Gramm as lead singer, but his replacement, Kelly Hansen, did an amazing job. He had tons of energy and really entertained the crowd. He was singing right in front of me, so I quickly switched to the camera with the shorter zoom lens and grabbed this shot.

Here were my keys to getting good photos at the concert:

* Keep the focus on my subject's eyes (which is not easy when they are jumping around)
* Watch the metering to make sure that I am getting the best exposure. Normally I shoot in spot metering, but found that the evaluative metering worked great last night
* Be very cognizant of the background to either avoid distractions or use it to my advantage
* Look for the peak of action when the artists were giving it their all
* Shoot a lot since I only had 3 songs to photograph for each band (tour company restrictions)
* Keep the ISO high enough to freeze the action with a shutter speed of 1/800 or better

I was working the zoom hard, coming in tight at some times and quickly zooming out to include their hands in other shots.

 Another shot of Bruce jamming.

It was really fun photographing these guys since they were very in tune with the two of us shooting in the pit. They would give us poses and have fun in front of the camera. They key for this was to be ready for it and get the shot!

When I shoot any events, I always try to get photos of all the participants. I decided to key in on Chris Frazier working the drums. I shot about 5 frames of him, and in this one he broke into a smile.

I mentioned my goal of photographing the artists at their peak of action. This is one of those shots of Kelly belting out "Head Games".

For the third song, Kelly went out into the audience to sing "Cold As Ice". I turned around and shot this with the 24-70mm lens, to include as much of the crowd as possible.

Towards the end of the third song, he finished the with this pose. I quickly moved the camera from portrait to landscape and shot this.

And then...after an hour or so, it was time for Kid Rock to hit the stage.

Kid Rocks starts the performance from behind this curtain. I saw the silhouette above me, waited for him to make a good pose, and grabbed this frame. And then the curtain dropped and it was show time.

This was one of my first photos of Kid Rock and is one of my favorites. I saw the cool lighting behind him and quickly twisted the camera at an angle to add drama to the photo. (Note: I originally had the 70-200mm on the Canon 1Dx and the 24-70mm on the 5D Mark III but decided to switch those combinations and rely more heavily on the faster 1Dx with the wider lens, since I was so close to the stage.)

Then I switched to the longer zoom lens to shoot this tighter photo. At this point my ISO was set to 2000 giving me a shutter speed 1/320 sec. This is fast enough for a moment like this, but not fast enough for him jumping around.

With the wider lens (letting in more light) I could stay at a lower ISO (800) and still get photos at 1/500th of a sec or faster.

I froze Kid Rock with a shutter speed of 1/800 of a sec in this shot.

I moved to a position right at the center of the stage. This allowed me to get photos of KR in front of the screen.  He had a ____ eating grin in this photo and I had to get the shot.

Here is another shot where I used the background monitor to my advantage.

I then switched back to the Canon 5D Mark III with the 70-200mm zoom to get some more close-up shots. These made me laugh.

And he laughed too...

His third song is one he said "you will never here on the radio". It is a song called "You Never Met a Mother_____ Quite Like Me" and he sing it with gusto.

Before the concert started, I asked one of the Kid Rock video guys (who does all his concerts) about the show. He informed me that the real fast action and heavy jumping would be during the third song. So I cranked up the ISO to 2500, even with the camera using a wide lens, to make sure I had a very fast shutter speed to grab the action. That worked to my advantage here! This was also one of the rare times when I was filling the buffer of both cameras. Having the Lexar 1066x Professional CF cards helped me clear the buffers fast and keep shooting.

As the third song was ending...I had another couple of seconds to grab my last shots before being escorted out of the pit.

At the end of the song, Kid Rock flashed this final pose. It was a perfect final shot for me.


If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. I would really appreciate that.

And also, remember that you and your friends can enter your email address at the top right of this blog to get an email any time I write a new blog post or send my monthly newsletter.



RJMGroup said...

Great stuff, Jeff!

I shot almost the exact same settings and equipment last weekend at my friend's U2 tribute band concert in Seaside Heights, NJ. I even shot with Lexar 1066X CF cards as well. I used DxO Optics Pro 10's new PRIME noise reduction feature and it worked very well.

I'm a professional obstacle course race photographer who has taken over half a million photos on my Canon 5D Mark III but rarely get to shoot concerts either.

Here are my photos:


melbournebeantaster said...

I love your pics, they made me smile.