July 4th Fireworks for 2013

Caught a fireworks show over the weekend. Big fireworks, close shooting location. I was very proud of the shots I took at the end where I pulled the camera back and brought the crowd into the picture. Look carefully and you’ll see where on the lawn the fireworks were landing. That’s pretty cool.

Fourth of July fireworks, with crowd in foreground

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You Lookin’ At Me?

Duck. Duck. GOOSE!

You Lookin At Me

85mm, f/3.5, ISO 320, 1/1250s

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Mountain Lion/Lightroom Update

Time to update the previous post:

I fixed the problem? How? Oldest trick in the book: I rebooted the computer.

Whatever was stuck in the system got cleared out by the reboot and now everything works fine.

Had I been a Windows user, I probably would have thought of that first. ::sigh::

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Lightroom 3 and Mountain Lion

I’m having a bit of a problem with Lightroom 3 tonight, and I wonder if it’s not due to my recent switch from Lion to Mountain Lion.

I can plug a memory card into the SD slot on my iMac. Lightroom recognizes it and shows me all the pictures on it. When I go to copy the files over and import them, though, I get this error message:

Lightroom 3 error message

Anyone else have this problem? The solution might be to upgrade to LR4, but I’d rather not spend that nearly $100 right now…


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Tomorrow Night’s Winner of The Voice, Cassadee Pope

I don’t see how she doesn’t win this whole thing tomorrow at this point. And I don’t see how she isn’t the second coming of Carrie Underwood, arguably the most successful singing competition winner of the last 12 years. Here’s a final batch of images from Cassadee Pope’s solo tour back in February at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ.

Cassadee Pope at Mexicali Live in Teaneck NJ February 2012

Those two and more in the gallery:

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Blue Kid, Part 1

I have too many pictures from this set, so I’m betting it’ll go two parts.

Blue Kid is a group formed in Brooklyn by their lead singer, Lydia Benecke. I had never heard of them before this show. I looked up their website and videos on YouTube before the show so I would have some idea of what I was getting into. I wasn’t sold by those videos, though. But their live show had me hook, line, and sinker from the start. Blue Kid is a great and entertaining live band, led by an energetic and quirky Bernecke, who’s comfortable on the stage and delivers the set with emotion and conviction.

Blue Kid at Mexicali Live in Teaneck. NJ December 1 2012

85mm, f/2.5, ISO 2500, 1/250s

The set started with an a capella bit, with Bernecke standing alone in front providing her own percussion by smacking her chest and legs/hips to keep the beat. It worked. (You can see the opening number on YouTube from a different venue. I haven’t seen any iPhone videos from the Mexicali Live show on YouTube yet…)

85mm, f/2.5, ISO 2000, 1/160s

And as a photographer, you’re immediately drawn the animated one in front of the band who isn’t hiding in a shell. This is the fun stuff.

More pics of the rest of the band after the break!

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Lorette Schroth

Lorette Schroth (warning: music auto-plays) is a talented singer/songwriter with a unique sound. Click on the link to see if you can figure out all the influences. (It feels a little Russian or Middle Eastern, maybe? Might just be the violin playing.) She has an album out now, but she’s still new to this. There is no Wikipedia page, and I’m guessing this blog post will be a top result if you’re searching on her name anytime soon. She was a little nervous-looking on stage, but sang clearly and powerfully.

From a photographer’s point of view, she didn’t move around much. There was a nice bright spotlight on her for her set to help with lighting, but she wasn’t giving many different looks. That’s not her job, that’s mine. Her job is to sing, and she did it well. I tried some different angles, but most of the best shots were from one of two angles, and that’s what you’ll see here.

The band backing her up has a couple of guitarists (one acoustic, one electric), a violin, a drummer, and pianist who was completely in the dark. How much in the dark was he? At ISO 6400, I couldn’t get any picture of him. I’m not even sure my camera ever locked focus on his silhouette. In fact, the lighting difference between Schroth and her band was so great that it was difficult to get anyone else’s picture. The pianist was in the dark, but the acoustic guitar on the far other side of the stage was just as hidden. The electric guitar had some light, but the violinist had to play behind the lead singer, and so existed half in shadow the whole time. It’s a small stage at a small venue. It is what it is.

Now, let’s go to the Mexicali Live of Teaneck, NJ for some pictures:

Lorette Schroth's band at Mexicali Live, 01 Dec 2012

28mm, f/2.2, ISO 2500, 1/160s

See if you can find the band in this picture. The piano is just off to the left of this picture. The drummer was in somewhat of a good light sometimes, but there wasn’t much of a clear angle into where he was, so it didn’t matter. Mexicali Live is a dinner/concert venue. For this night’s show, the place had a full set-up of tables with people eating dinner. I’m not pushy enough to go standing in front of people and blocking the show for them. I tend to stand on the outside edges, up against the walls, and crouched in front of the stage.

Lorette Schroth's band at Mexicali Live, 01 Dec 2012

85mm, f/3.2, ISO 3200, 1/160s

I often use black and white as a way to cover up problems with the color output in a picture due to noise from high ISO shooting. I’m not doing that with this show; these pictures work better for me in black and white. It almost fits the mood of this show better. It’s a pretty good looking pic, even at ISO 3200. It’s hard now to believe that my first DSLR only went up to ISO 1600, and was pretty much unusable at ISO 800, anyway.

Lorette Schroth's band at Mexicali Live, 01 Dec 2012

85mm, f/2.5, ISO 6400, 1/160s

This picture is at ISO 6400 and has the most minimal noise reduction on it. It’s the picture from the whole night that convinces me that it’s OK to move beyond ISO 2500/3200. Hell, I might shoot my next show entirely at ISO 6400.

After the break: More fun with high ISO photography!

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Blue Kid Preview

The concert I shot over the weekend had three sets in total. Here’s a quick preview of the middle act, a band named Blue Kid, as fronted by Lydia Benecke:

Blue Kid at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ

85mm, f/2.0, ISO 2500, 1/320s

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Lorette Schroth Preview

Also appearing at Mexicali Live over the weekend was Lorette Schroth:

85mm, f/3.2, ISO 3200, 1/160s

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Nellie McKay Preview

Coming soon, from Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ…

Nellie McKay at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ

50mm, f/2.5, ISO 2500, 1/125s

UPDATE: After proper White Balancing, this is what the pic looks like:

Big difference. McKay looks less pink now, to my eye.


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