Hayden @ the Pageant — 2008.04.12

Hayden @ the Pageant -- 2008.04.12

Opening for Feist in a sold-out performance, singer-songwriter and fellow Canadian Hayden crafted a quietly insistent set accompanied by a deep palette of reds, blues, and purples.

Taking turns between an upright piano and his worn Gibson, and playing the harmonica with both, the soft-spoken singer wove his music in the small, solitary movements of an old soul on stage.

In his 45-minute set, Hayden charmed the audience with songs of a burglaries, a security guard with disarming felicity with folding paper, and one tune he introduced as written with the intent of being irritatingly catchy.

Hayden @ the Pageant -- 2008.04.12

Hayden @ the Pageant -- 2008.04.12

Hayden @ the Pageant -- 2008.04.12

Hayden @ the Pageant -- 2008.04.12

Photographer's Notes:

Arriving at the venue, I was informed by staff that there was no photo pit. Luckily, I arrived early enough to beat the rush and secured a fairly prime spot along the front of the stage.

While I was positioned for Feist's mic center stage, my sight lines for Hayden, who set up stage-left, weren't that bad. Also, the crowd was thin enough that I could move around a little at this point, something that wasn't possible during Feist's set.


Foreshadowing the lighting to come, Hayden was lit very simply with dim white light from the front and a few color washes that lit up the screen at the back of the stage.

While he played at the piano, the frontlighting disappeared and the key light on the singer was a pair of yellow lamps set up on the top of the instrument.

Overall the lighting on Hayden was not very bright, but the simplicity and interesting color contrasts were great from this photographer's perspective.

Exposure & Metering:

While he played guitar, I shot Hayden at about 1/200 and f/2.8 at ISO 6400, and brought this up in post by about 1/2-EV. Seated at the piano, I toned down the ISO to 3200 for some shots, due to the close proximity of the yellow lamps and their relative intensity.

Lenses & Gear:

I shot this set exclusively with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR on the Nikon D3. The reach of the telephoto was entirely essential for this set, and actually proved to be the perfect range, given the singer's removed position.

My Camera DSLR and Lenses for Concert Photography

Nikon Z 7:
I use two Nikon Z 7 for my live music photography. A true do-it-all mirrorless camera with amazing AF, great speed and fantastic resolution.


Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8S:
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens. The range is ideal for stage front photography and the image quality is superb.


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.

See My Full Kit for Concert Photography

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