January 18, 2009 – Country Hall of Famer Vince Gill took the stage of the Chaifetz arena as part of an all-star line-up for the 2009 Animal Rescue Fund benefit concert.
Just like the other performances of the night, this shoot went down primarily from the edges of the stage and the center aisle, as to minimize my presence to the seated front row. There was no dedicated photo pit, so I kept a low of a profile as I could at the front of the 5-foot stage, and kept a wide, low stance whenever I ventured near the center. For more specifics, you can check the notes for Huey Lewis & The News and REO Speedwagon.
The lighting for this gig was pretty straight forward, with spotlights from the front and color spots from the back. Thanks to the spotlights, the light levels were great, and allowed me to comfortably shoot around f/3.2, and 1/320, and ISO 1600 for the entirety of this short set.
Dear ISO 1600
On the note of exposure, if I had to pick one ISO setting on the D3 that was my favorite for concert photography, I would have to say that I unabashedly love ISO 1600.
In general, the utility of ISO 1600 is very high for my usage, in that it's fast enough to be used for most tours that have dedicated lighting when shooting f/2.8 lenses. Also, with the D3, ISO 1600 is incredibly clean, delivering a great level of detail, contrast, and color fidelity.
Noise levels are so low that it's a complete non-issue for me at this sensitivity. For push processing, the files can tolerate a stop or two of positive exposure compensation without being any worse for wear than shooting natively at the effective end sensitivity.
I could wax poetic on the D3's ISO 1600 – and I will – but that's for another post. In the meantime, here's a 100% crop of the last image of the above set.
Full image in Photoshop, with the crop area indicated:
500 x 500 px crop (100%):
Nikon D3 and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 at 86mm. f/3.5, 1/320, ISO 1600.
Of course, part of why I love the D3 is because the same crop from my old D2x would have looked like a Seurat painting, but that's a comparison for another day (in all seriousness, the above crop is probably how an ISO 320 or 400 shot would look on the D2x).