Brian Wilson 2: Lens Selection

Brian Wilson plays the keyboard at the Wellmont Theater, Montclair, NJ

Shooting position was from the left and right corner of the stage. There was an open area in both sections. We weren’t allowed in front of the stage where there was a row of seats, but that’s OK. There wasn’t much of a shot there — Brian Wilson sat behind the keyboard at the center of the stage, and the keyboard likely blocked most of the view of Wilson from the front row.

We had three songs. No flash. Standard stuff.

I wasn’t sure which lenses to bring with me to the concert. Would I be stuck near a soundboard and have to pull out the 70-300mm as I did at Bergen PAC? Would I be closer to the stage and using the 85mm for closeup shots? Would I be so close that I’d rather have the 28mm prime? Would the 28-75mm zoom lens cover all my bases, despite its stop slower speed?  Was I willing to gamble on it now that I’ve become to addicted and deliriously happy with my two primes?

So, yeah, I brought them all. And then wound up never taking my 85mm lens off the body. I could have carried the camera with the one lens on it and nothing else.  Didn’t even need a second memory card.

The stage rises about five or six feet off the floor. Center stage is about 15 or 20 feet away. So we were really close, pressed up against a stack of speakers and audio monitors. The 85mm gave me a decent angle on Brian Wilson, as well as a half-body shot of the band members to the left side of the stage. The stage was so crowded that there was no show of the saxophonist in the back, and I couldn’t even tell you if there was a drummer back there anywhere.  (There were two percussionists, and I’ll show you the picture to prove that at the end of the week, because it goes along with a different part of the story.)

Thankfully, this was a concert shoot for a blog and not a professional contract job where I’d be expected to get everyone’s picture. I’m still in training. So not getting all those pictures didn’t bother me so much. And knowing that I’d need to get them in a Real Life situation is a good sign.


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