My Pre-Concert Mantra/Checklist

Things I keep repeating to myself before tonight’s (estimated) 10 minute shooting frenzy:

* Blur is bad. Noise is fixable. Push the ISO. 6400 is your friend and is perfectly fixable in Lightroom.

* You’re using a monopod, so it’ll be horizontal shots only, no verticals. Those will be created with a lot of cropping later on, at a much reduced size. Hey, it’s photography. We’re all about the compromises.

* You only have three memory cards. While the 8 GB card is the smallest, use it first since it’s the fastest. And, likely, you won’t fill it up with only three songs to shoot, even with an 18 megapixel camera.

* You have an 18 megapixel camera. Don’t worry about having to crop some stuff out later. It’ll still be a bigger and better image than your previous 10 megapixel camera.

* You’ll only get a half dozen good shots tonight, though you might take hundreds. Shutter speed will be slow, so it’ll be luck of the draw on which shots come out frozen. Maybe if you’re lucky, a little hand blur on a banjo will work in your favor.

* HIGH SPEED burst mode. Not regular burst. HIGH SPEED.

* Spot metering. Most of the image will be filled with inky blackness. You want to expose for the spotlit person in the middle.

* That doesn’t really matter if you’re shooting in manual mode, does it? Nevermind.

* You can always convert to black and white and make unfixable noise look like film grain.

* Relax. You’ll keep the camera steadier that way.

* But try not to look like a damned fool next to the other photographers at the soundboard with you.

* Next time, plan ahead and rent the 70-200 f/2.8 on-line. It will allow in four times as much light, meaning a shutter speed of 1/400th instead of 1/100th. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

* See the first rule again. Then cross your non-shooting fingers and hope for the best.

(And, yes, the batteries are freshly charged, the cards are clean, and the lenses are recently cleaned.)

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