With a fix shooting position, very low light, and an all-seated acoustic set by the Magnetic Fields, I had my work cut out for me in conditions that had even the Nikon D3 nearly maxed out.
Music Photographer's Notes:
The rules for this show were three songs, no flash. In addition, the band had requested no stage-front photography; all shooting had to be done from the sides of the stage. Thanks to a tip from reader Michael LaFleur, I had a heads up about some of these restrictions. For Michael's gig photographing the Magnetic Fields in Bloomington, Indiana, he had the further stipulation of shooting no closer than 10-feet from the stage.
Overall, this show was dark. In fact, the major source of light on Stephin Merritt came from the lamp on his music stand. With a baseball cap compounding this dimness by blocking what light came from the overhead cans, and even the Nikon D3 was up against the wall.
Exposure for this set was ISO 5000 and 1/50 at f/2.8. The “slow” f/2.8 aperture of the 70-200mm was a necessary evil, given the distance restrictions and limited shooting options.
Still, for all these difficult conditions, it was a pleasure photographing Merritt and friends. I've been a fan since the bands' 69 Love Songs; hearing “The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side” as the second song was a treat.