January 13, 2009 – Playing to a packed house, hard rock heavy-weights AC/DC performed an electrifying set filled with anthems spanning the band's 35-year career.
The second to last shot in the above selection shows well the setup for the concert, with a wide catwalk extending from the middle of the stage through the floor. Photographers were split up into two groups and positioned roughly 20-feet from the front of the stage on either side of the catwalk.
With so many larger tours these days requiring photographers shoot from the soundboard, it was very nice to be relatively close to the action, though not at the very front of the stage. Due to the nearly 7-foot stage, the slightly removed position was actually an asset, and allowed good lines of sight to the five members of the band.
Overall, this shoot was essentially all about two people: Brian Johnson and Angus Young, the most visible and active members of the group. Johnson and Young performed at the front of the stage, while the other members of the band stayed locked at the back for the first three songs.
Johnson in particular was the most “friendly” member of the five-piece band, frequently stepping out to the beginning of the catwalk during the first few songs.
For this performance, I utilized three lenses: the Nikon 24-70mm, Nikon 70-200mm, and Nikon 200-400mm. Strictly speaking, I think I would have been quite well covered with just the 24-70mm and 70-200mm, as those two covered about 90% of the images I shot with impeccable ease.
The Nikon 200-400mm f/4 did come into play for several shots, notably for picking up Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, and Phil Rudd at the back of the stage. In addition the lens came in handy for a handful of shots of Brian Johnson and Angus Young while they performed farther back or at the sides of the stage.
I shot the concert using the Nikon D3 and D700. If I had only been shooting with one body, the 70-200mm would have served quite well as the primary lens, supplemented by the 24-70mm for Johnson's catwalk escapades as needed.
The lighting treatment was quite good and plenty bright for the duration of the three songs, particularly the first and third songs, which featured abundant white light from the tour's high lighting rig. The third song featured a deep yellow wash, and was the most difficult of the allotted songs.
While the quantity of light was more than enough for fast shutter speeds and modest ISO sensitivities, one big factor for the shoot and subsequent post processing was the immense amount of smoke used for the stage treatment, again, seen well in the second to last shot in the above series.
I shot this event around ISO 1600, f/4, and 1/500, give or take a stop here or there.