The Nick Stefanacci Band

(Previously at the Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ. We now continue with the night’s second act…)

A little while later — and one Diet Pepsi at the bar, because I’m that kind of guy — the Nick Stefanacci Band took the stage.  I was excited to see, as they were loading up the stage, that there’d be a horn section.  Then I started to panic.  Take a look at this pic, taken from the back of the venue, and tell me what you see:

The Nick Stefanacci Band plays The Mexicali Live in Teaneck NJ

28mm, f/2.2, ISO 2500 for 1/100"

The stage is roughly 15 – 20 feet across by eight or ten feet deep.  Across the front you can see the three piece horn section, a singer, and Nick Stefanacci himself.  In between the last two, you can see the bassist and the gentleman on the keyboards.  Maybe you can make out the drum set behind them.  And over on the left behind the horn section is the sole guitarist of the group.  That’s right, the stage was loaded with nine people on it, two of whom were just about completely blocked from every angle.

Uh oh.

See that head in the bottom right corner? That's the closest thing I had to a shot on the drummer all night.

There comes a time in life when you have to realize that you can’t do it all. It’s just not possible. Yes, you’d want to have a clean shot at every performer, with no microphones in front of their face, no mic stands splicing their body in half, and no other performers standing shoulder to shoulder with them.  There’s some options, though:

  • Skip ’em entirely.
  • Use the distracting elements in a positive way (framing elements)
  • Include them in shots with other band members

And then be thankful that there’s enough room to work in, so you can crouch down on your knees, wait for the guy with the trombone to step aside during the guitar solo, and shoot through the music stands, the mic stands, and the leftover equipment to get to the guy.   Then, accept that it won’t be a perfect shot, but it’ll get the job done.

The sole guitarist for the Nick Stefanacci Band at the Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ

85mm, f/1.8, ISO 2500, 1/160th"

The band sounded great. I have no complaints there.  Their version of “Summertime” was awesome, complete with at least a half dozen solos along the way.  It was impressive musicianship, along with the sense that they were having fun up there, even without a sold-out crowd.

It’s also the time that I really regretted not having a 50mm lens in my arsenal.  Mine broke last year just around the time I was buying a new camera, and I went with a wider 28mm f/1.8 to replace it.  That’s a great lens for a great many things, but for this concert, it only gave me a few accent shots.  The vast majority of the show was shot with the 85mm lens and my feet running around the place in place of a zoom.  I like that.  But there were times that the 28 was way to wide and the 85 was just a bit too close that the 50mm would have been perfect.  It will likely be the next lens I purchase, whenever that day comes.  For only $120, it’s the most affordable on the market.  I’d rather hold out for the f/1.4 and its superior build quality and sharpness, but that triples the price, which just isn’t do-able right now.

The Nick Stefanacci Band can be found on-line as  They have a new album, “26,” available now through iTunes.

And I’ll be back again this week with more pictures from this show.  But, for now, I think this concludes the write-up on it.

Nick Stefanacci Band at Mexicali Live, Teaneck, NJ

85mm, f/1.8, ISO 2500, 1/125"

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