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Photos: Bloc Party @ The Pageant

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

The first and last time I photographed Bloc Party was in 2007, hot off their success of Silent Alarm. Fast forward six years three albums later, and it almost felt like a bit of a personal challenge to shoot these guys again—and to see what all those years of touring have done for the band’s performance chops.


British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

British indie rock band Bloc Party performing at the Pageant in St. Louis on January 19, 2013. (Todd Owyoung)

Photographer’s Notes:

Cameras Used:

Lenses Used:

When I first started researching Bloc Party’s 2013 tour for production value, the few images that I found looked this gig would be very rough. Lighting looked like it came from low on the stage with little washing across  Kele Okereke’s face. Overall, lighting looks extremely dark and moody.

Thankfully, this was one instance where research was misleading. While lighting was moody, it was overall much more dynamic in person and ended up translating into still images quite well. This difference just goes to show what a difference in exposure can make in the perception of an event.

For this show, I used just one Nikon D800. I’ve done this for a couple shows here and there, for personal greed as much as for experimentation. On the greed front, it’s simply because the 36mp files of the Nikon D800 are just fantastic. There’s way more resolution that any event-based photographer would arguably ever need in these RAW files. That said, just because I may not “need” that information doesn’t mean that I don’t want it. Because I definitely want it.

The one downside to shooting a full 36mp file with ever click is that there’s a slowdown to image processing. But even with my geriatric Mac Pro, this isn’t a huge problem, and certainly not with strict editing process.

The other hardware-based limitation of the Nikon D800 for gigs is that it’s a relatively slow camera. Just 4 frames per second, which feels sluggish compared to the Nikon D700’s 5 FPS in stock mode and then the increased 7 FPS with the batter grip. And yet, it’s still fast enough for a good rock show.

After using the D800 for live music photography over the last 6 months, I really have no hesitations about recommending it for gigs. It’s not a speed demon, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in the ability to crop or make ridiculously massive prints.

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

D800_24_70_front-squareNikon D800:
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-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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