Mixing punk and folk stylings, former Million Dead frontman Frank Turner delivered a rocker of a set opening for Flogging Molly on their 2010 Spring tour. Playing under dim lighting, Turner's set had had me feeling like I was having a minor epiphany about primes as I reached for the humble Nikon 50mm f/1.4.
Concert Photographer's Notes:
I feel like I had a small epiphany, which is one that I have multiple times a year. To get all photo-geeky on you, namely that shooting at 1/100 at f/1.8 and ISO 3200 is probably better than shooting at 1/60 at f/2.8 and ISO 5000. To be more general, that primes can turn light that makes f/2.8 lenses cry into light that looks, for a lack of a better description, pretty decent.
While the Nikon D2x was extraordinarily harsh on the humble 50mm f/1.4, on the Nikon D3, this little piece of glass shines. I love the glowing, feathered quality of image this fast prime captures under stage lighting.
Light levels were low for Frank Turner, but what they lacked in power they made up for in atmospherics. The stage was flooded with a lovely haze that picked up the strong backlighting perfectly. What looked dull to the naked eye turned almost heavenly with the right lens and a tweaked exposure.
One fun aspect of this show was when Frank Turner crowdsourced a harmonica solo, picking a kid from the audience to give a little blues harping a try at the end of the third song. Here's a snap of the triumphant rock star after his performance:
To this young man's credit, he held this pose until I put my camera down, happy to oblige the photo op and make the most of his time on stage.
The take away from this gig, aside that Frank Turner puts on a fantastic set? Primes aren't dead, they're just sleeping in your camera bag until the light makes big “pro” zooms start to whimper.