Sunday, September 29, 2013

Live Music - My Report on The Infamous Stringdusters is Up!

I've been writing periodically for the live music blog, Cosmic Vibes Live. Last week, they got me into a great show - The Infamous Stringdusters at The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia. My report is now up.
 
(Click Here) to read my show report on Cosmic Vibes Live.
 
The link above will let you read the musical aspects of the experience. I'll hit a few of the photographic aspects here.
Infamous Stringdusters, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2.8, 1/125 sec.
 
First, I usually rely on my Nikon DSLRs (D700 and D300) for indoor live music events. The high iso performance is unmatched by my other cameras.
 
Many concert photographers shoot with two or three zoom lenses. In the Nikon system, that's usually the 24-70mm, 70-200mm, and 12-24mm lenses, all fixed f2.8. I prefer to shoot Nikkor prime lenses. On this evening, I took a 20mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8 and 180mm f2.8. I understand the tradeoff between primes and zooms. Yes, I have to change lenses more frequently in a crowd than I'd like. However, the generally faster f-stops are worth it. They're also a lot lighter to carry. On the long end, my 180mm f2.8 Nikkor is one half the weight of a 70-200mm f2.8 zoom.
 
I used the 20mm f2.8 on my D700 a lot at this show. My strategy was to move right up to front row center at the set break. While I didn't get all the way to the barrier, I was only one row of people back. I did have to lift my camera above everyone's heads, but that worked. With the 20mm field of view, it was relatively easy to compose overhead, even without an articulating LCD screen. I rarely use LiveView on my D700, but it came in handy for this.
 
 
Infamous Stringdusters, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2.8, 1/125 sec.
 
The 20mm also worked well for shooting people in the audience close up, though there was a lot less light:
First Set List, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF-D Lens
iso 3200, f2.8, 1/30 sec.

I also shot a lot with the 85mm f1.8 on my D300. The APS-C sensor makes this roughly the equivalent of a very fast 135mm f1.8 lens. Occasionally, I used the other lenses, or even swapped the 20 and 85 between the two bodies to take advantage of the different field of view due to sensor size differences. The D700 is better at high iso than the D300, but both perform very well at iso 1600 or even 3200.
 
Jeremy Garrett of the Infamous Stringdusters, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 85mm f1.8 AF-D Lens
iso 1600, f2, 1/250 sec.
 
I have been having a lot of fun writing and shooting for Cosmic Vibes Live. I hope to keep this collaboration up for a very long time.
 
DMC-365.blogspot.com