Sunday, August 14, 2011

Swashbuckle: High Fives on the High Seas

I've mentioned my friends in the band Swashbuckle on this blog in the past. They are a fun bunch of guys that dress up like pirates and play pirate-themed Thrash Metal. They just left to go overseas to play a bunch of European Metal festivals and before they left they did a hometown warm-up show.

I wanted to go check them out but I knew there wouldn't be a photo pit set up at a bar show and I'd probably risk being knocked around a bit by kids moshing. Considering the circumstances, I knew if I wanted to take any photos I'd have to pack super light gear, so I used the situation to my advantage. I've got a 50mm f/1.8 lens that I rarely use. It was something that I thought would come in handy but I can count the number of times I've had it mounted to my camera on one hand. A wide open aperture like that would be really nice in dimly lit close quarters. I decided to put the lens on and hit the road. No camera bag, no flash, no back-up lenses, nothing, just my camera body and a single lens. It's a prime lens, so there's no zoom, I'd have to zoom with my feet instead.

I got up nice and close, right within a decent range for three quarter portraits of the guitarist and bass player, opened it wide to 1.8, and started shooting. The depth of field at 1.8 is kind of a dangerous thing to play with, so it was definitely a night of experimenting, and I treated it as such. I wasn't expecting to come up with much, but I did have 30-something decent photos when all was said and done.

Enough technical talk, let's get down to the actual shots:

Notice the way the focus falls off rapidly from the headstock of the guitar. That's what happens with a wide aperture. Pretty epic looking, if I do say so myself.

Same here, notice how Eric's head is in sharp focus and little of anything else. Makes for great separation from the background.

Another great thing about a wide aperture is how much light it lets in. I can guarantee you this room was not as well lit as it appears here.

I shot this glass that says "Victory" because one of my favorite Swashbuckle songs is "Where Victory Is Penned." I just included it here because I thought it was kinda quirky. Then again, I'm probably wrong.

So there ya have it. You can click on the photos, or on this link to see the full gallery. They aren't really the same as most of my concert shots, but like like I mentioned, I was just testing this lens to see how useful it is for concerts. I think in a setting with more space and more powerful stage lighting, it could make some great exposures, but I do worry about how much depth of field I lose opening it wide. Plus, in most true concert venues you don't have the leisure of being as close to the band as I was, so having no zoom really limits your composition options. I think it would make a great lens to have on a second body, but I rarely ever shoot a show with 2 cameras.

More soon,

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