The October, Go Van Gogh @ Cicero’s — 2007.11.30

_DSC3395.jpg

As much as it's fun to shoot in beautifully lit venues like the Pageant, that's not always where the best bands play. Such was the case last week with the October and Go Van Gogh, who opened for Semi Precious Weapons in two solid sets on Cicero's intimate stage.

Go Van Gogh

_DSC3281.jpg

_DSC3263.jpg

The October @ Cicero's -- 2007.11.30

The October

_DSC3428.jpg

_DSC3432.jpg

_DSC3351.jpg

_DSC3403.jpg

Shooting Notes:

Cicero's is a small basement affair with black walls, black ceilings, and small strip of low stage on one end of the shotgun venue. Like most places its size, there's no pit, so I showed up early to grab some stage for this show.

One great thing about the venue is that its low stage is very photo-friendly in that one isn't shooting up a musicians nose for their set, which is a real possibility at venues with higher stages.

Clubs like Cicero's are also great places for beginning photographers to get a feel for shooting gigs, since they often have no camera restrictions and no shooting limits. In addition, while the lighting isn't great, they provide a low-pressure environment for concert photography that can still produce some great opportunities for making images.

Lighting:

In the dimly lit basement venue, light sources were limited to a colored array at the back of the stage and a string of cans at the front shining down a little white light. For openers Go Van Gogh, the lighting was kept to a dim minimum, while things brightened up a bit in the backlighting for the October. Overall, changes in the sets were restricted to different combinations from the backlighting and varying the intensity of the front light lights.

Lenses:

For openers Go Van Gogh, the lighting was particularly dim, so I relied exclusively on the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. The focal length was very nice for the intimate venue, especially given the low stage and short distance between the lens and the performers.

After using the Nikon 50mm for almost two years as my exclusive go-to low light lens, I though the Sigma 30mm performed very well for this type of gig. While I pulled the 50mm out for a few shots, the wider field of view of the 30mm was much more suited for the venue, and I was happy to have it in the bag.

For the October, the fast speed of the Sigma 30mm was entirely necessary, as was that of the Nikon 50mm f/1.4. Lighting wasn't much brighter from the front, but the wide angle of the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 was useful for a few more atmospheric shots of the stage.

After using the Nikon 50mm for almost two years as my exclusive go-to low light lens, I though the Sigma 30mm performed very well for this type of gig. While I pulled the 50mm out for a few shots, the wider field of view of the 30mm was much more suited for the venue, and I was happy to have it in the bag.

Exposure:

I lived at ISO 1600 for these two acts, though ISO 3200 and 6400 would have been more appropriate at times.

For Go Van Gogh, I shot at f/1.8, 1/160, and ISO 1600. I could have used the f/2.8 zoom, but that would have meant compromising on either shutter speed or my self-imposed cap of ISO 1600 with the D2x, beyond which image quality declines too steeply.

During the October's set, exposure with the two primes didn't change, as the front lighting remained fairly constant. When using the 17-55, I let shutter speeds drop as low as 1/40 wide open.

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.
More Gear Recommendations

Help Support www.ishootshows.com

If this article or any other content on www.ishootshows.com was helpful to you, please consider supporting this site and grabbing your next photo gear purchase through one of my affiliate links:

Simply clicking through any product links on this site helps me bring you free content like the photography tips and gear reviews regularly posted on www.ishootshows.com, and naturally it doesn't cost you a cent more.