Photos: Julian Casablancas
As a concert photographer, I really have to smile at the fact that Julian Casablancas covered Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark” at the Pageant, as that song’s title is a haiku-worthy description for the singer’s performance.
Photographing Julian Casablancas was rough. In doing research for this show, I saw that the sets seemed hit or miss, which generally indicates that house lights are used. And, as such, it’s all up to the venue and their setup.
At the Pageant, which has a fantastic lighting setup, the one huge challenge is that the lighting rig is super high up in the ceiling – probably a good 30-feet above the stage. Following the inverse square law and lightfall off, light levels drop off very fast this far out. Hence, Julian Casablancas dancing in the dark.
I shot this set exclusively with f/1.4 primes, relying heavily on the Nikon 85mm f/1.4 for many of the tighter shots. Meanwhile, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 was nice as a more midrange lens for full-length and waist-up shots (when in closer).
People often ask me which lens they should when starting out in concert photography, and I often say it’s hard to go with a fast prime like the Nikon 50mm f/1.4. For all the arena tours and national club tours with their own lights, primes are rarely needed. But for shows like this with a very bare and decidedly dim aesthetic, nothing beats a fast prime.
My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography
I use two of the Nikon D800 for the majority of my work. High resolution, excellent high ISO in a robust but still compact body.
Nikon 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 70-200mm 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 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.