Photos: Nicki Minaj, I Am Still Music Tour

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj is arguably the most visually exciting act on Lil Wayne's I Am Still Music Tour. With an outrageous wig, a screaming constume, and fantastically bright lights, I have to say that it may be well worth photographing this show just for Minaj's stage antics. Which, I should say, are considerable.

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Nicki Minaj performing in support of Lil Wayne on the I Am Still Music Tour at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO, on April 10, 2011. (Todd Owyoung)

Photographer's Notes:

Cameras Used:

  • Nikon D3

Lenses Used:

  • Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR II from BorrowLenses.com
  • Nikon TC-17E II 1.7x teleconverter from BorrowLenses.com

Camera & Lens Support:

  • Bogen 3021 Tripod
  • Wimberley Gimbal Head from BorrowLenses.com

Just going to put it out there up front – Nicki Minaj is probably one of the better reasons to photograph the I Am Still Music Tour with Lil Wayne. No disrespect to Weezy himself, but Nick Minaj has the better lights, moves and costume. In short, she's a great photography subject, even at 40 or 50-meters.

Just as with all the performers on the I Am Still Music Tour, I photographed Nicki Minaj with the Nikon 400mm f/2.8 and NIkno TC-17E II 1.7x teleconverter that I rented from BorrowLenses.com. On the full-frame Nikon D3, this combo resulted in a 680mm effective focal range at a maximum aperture of f/4.8.

Overall, this setup performed very well for Minaj. While I wouldn't have minded more reach at times, what this lens and teleconverter provided was a great balance between getting me “ballpark” close and while still leaving room to crop to a desired frame. The one big challenge with a super telephoto is going too tight, which would have meant more trouble tracking and sacrificing wider frames that captured Nicki Minaj's great gestures.

 

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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