I now appreciate how easy the Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers concert was to photograph. They stood in a straight line on stage, evenly lit. The only problem was that Steve Martin’s white suit was naturally brighter than the SCR guys’ darker suits.
The Brian Wilson concert, though, had the full display of fireworks lighting. Reds, yellows, pinks, blues, white. And they changed a lot. And sometimes they were super bright. Sometimes they were more subdued. Sometimes they’d blend together. I have shots of Brian Wilson where his face is yellow and his hair is pink as the lighting shifted.
Getting a good exposure was hard. Every time I nailed it, the lights changed and I was chasing the light again. I went from f/1.8 at 1/125th to F/5 at 1/500th in the blink of an eye. I limited my controls by switching ISO to 3200 and forgetting about it. In retrospect, I should have gone down to 2500 or a third stop lower and just thrown out the low light shots. The well-lit shots were plentiful enough that I could have still been happy. I had to throw out a lot of overexposed shots.
Suddenly, I have newfound respect for Todd Owyoung and the other concert photographers who make it look so easy. It isn’t. The variable lighting is so extreme that chimping became a consistent part of shooting.
In the end, you can’t fix a weird mix of colors, other than by converting to black and white. I think I might be doing a lot of that with this show. Take the picture you see at the top of this post. I pulled the red slider all the way down in Lightroom and then converted it to black and white. That eliminate the red distracting guy on the right side of the image, and gave a nice grainy look to a serious black and white images, seen below:
Tomorrow: Two Things I Wish I Did Differently