Cleveland rocks. With legendary performers on-stage and in the audience, five-thousand die-hard rock fans, and a fire under my butt to deliver for a national client, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for 2009 was easily one of the year's best and most challenging events. The list of performer inductees for 2009 included Jeff Beck, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Metallica, Run-D.M.C., and Bobby Womack. Additional inductees included Wanda Jackson, Bill Black, DJ Fontana, and Spooner Oldham. Throw in a list of presenters like Ron Wood, Joe Perry, Flea, Eminem, and it was a big party.
My charge for this event was to shoot anything and everything onstage. That sounded simple enough.
The real challenge for this event was actually the logistics of photography. Since the event was being filmed live for television, a camera crew occupying the prime, stage-front real estate meant that the opportunities for those epic, ultra-wide shots with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 were out of the question.
What was decidedly “in” for the night was three hours of crouching and basically trying to be a music photography ninja, shooting in between the tables of seated rock stars and their family. And Ross Halfin, who I was actually sitting/shooting next to for half the night. We were both shooting with the Nikon D3, 24-70mm f/2.8, and 70-200mm f/2.8.
Ultimately, I was probably about 8-10 feet back from the front of the stage and relied on the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 for the majority of my shooting, switching to the Nikon 24-70mm on the D700 for wider perspectives as necessary.
Stage Lighting & Exposure:
Lighting for the event included a nice, if not particularly bright, production, and I shot at ISO 3200 for most of the night. I can only cringe at the thought of shooting at ISO 3200 on my old D2x that was retired years ago, but the D3 delivered effortlessly at this exposure.
Let's do it again in 2010. Iggy Pop & the Stooges, anyone?