Pitchfork Music Festival 2006, Day Two

Day two of the Pitchfork Music Festival proved a little easier than the first, with cool weather early on and familiar faces in the pit. The latter was one of the things about the festival that made covering it so much fun. Despite the heat, everyone was friendly and excited about the music, even when the press crowd was rolling 30+ deep and slammed into the pit.

Tapes ‘n Tapes


Overcast skies and Tapes ‘n Tapes started off the second day of the festival. Early on in the day, not all the photographers had showed up to cover the opening bands, so jockeying for position wasn't too much of an issue for shots like this of frontman Josh Grier.


With telephoto shots like this one of Daniel Smith, I often found myself trying to include as much greenery in the frame as possible. While there were many people with point and shoot cameras in the pit, there were also a fair number of photogs with DSLRs, a few of whom were also sporting 70-200mm lenses. Lenses in the 17-55mm and 24-70mm range were also popular.

Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman was greeted warmly by the swelling crowd and wasted no time in endearing himself to all present. As the attendance increased, so did the temperature, and the relief provided by the early afternoon cloud cover soon evaporated.

The National

Even as a larger crowd gathered at the Aluminum Stage for Liars, The National's frontman Matt Berninger put on a strong performance. For both stages, I found myself gravitating toward the telephoto zoom for many shots like this one, playing off the subject isolation and foliage in the background.


Karen O.'s main squeeze and Liars frontman Angus Andrew put on an entertaining and eccentric performance, featuring a mid-set wardrobe change and a near-costume malfunction. I found the 17-55mm best captured most of Andrew's lanky antics.

Aesop Rock

The 17-55 was the best tool for tracking Aesop Rock across the stage for the majority of his set, though at the expense of tighter shots.

Yo La Tengo

Devendra Banhart

Devendra Banhart's set fell during the golden hour and the freak folk singer was lit warmly by the setting sun. The second day, I found myself switching lenses more comfortably and getting used to the pace of each short set. By the end of the festival I was freely using both the 17-55mm and 70-200mm.


Like that of the Futureheads' set the night before, the lighting for the second to last band was mediocre at best. Throughout Spoon's preformance, the lighting was persistently a warm reddish-orange wash. This shot was taken from backstage after the first three songs, toward the end of the set, using the 70-200mm at the end of its range.

Os Mutantes

The set by Os Mutantes was shot exclusively with the 17-55, the range of which best suited the cramped shooting conditions and energetic performance of the Brazilian rockers. With not only other photographers to compete with, but also a crew of videographers with tripods entrenched in the pit, the final performance of the festival was also among the most chaotic.

Check out the full sets from both days the 2006 Pitchfork Music Festival here.

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon D850:
I use two Nikon D850 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all DSLR with amazing AF, fast response, and no shortage of resolution.
nikon-24-70mm-f28-lens-squareNikon 24-70mm f/2.8:
For most gigs, the 24-70mm is my go-to lens. Exceptional image quality at wide apertures and super-functional range.
Nikon-70-200-squareNikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR:
A perfect pair to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, I can basically shoot any job with the midrange and this lens. Superb image quality.
nikon-14-24mm-f28-lens-squareNikon 14-24mm f/2.8:
Ultra-wide perspective, ridiculously sharp even wide open at f/2.8. I love using this lens up-close and personal, where it excels.
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