February 19, 2009 – Headlining the Swagger Like Us Tour, Atlanta's T.I. capped off the night with his own brand of braggadocio, the kind of do-or-die strutting that had the rapper offering to take haters off the hands of his fans one song while ripping off his shirt and throwing it to the fans during another.
The lighting for this set was really quite simple: one spotlight on T.I., light and infrequent backgroung from rafter-mounted lights, and occasional blasts from some programmable spots mounted near the DJ deck at the back of the stage. The most interesting lighting came when the house backlighting came on, which was comprised mostly of red and yellow lights that produced some nice accents to the harder white spot light from the front.
As is often the case with rappers, getting clean shots of T.I. was a persistent challenge during this set. Between his mouth-blocking grip on the mic and the high contrast lighting, T.I. was a tough subject – and a quickly moving one at that. Timing was of critical importance during this shoot to capture not only the big gestures, but doing so in such a manner that the subject was rendered as identifiable as possible.
Like all the performances of this event, the general issues for shooting were a high angle to the performers and little to no room to move around.
Still, a full-set shooting allotment went a long way toward making up for any difficulty in shooting. If anything, this extensive shooting time made for one exhausting event, with eight individual performances in the night; by the time T.I. came on shortly after 11pm, I was definitely feeling the burn. The unlimited shooting time was really a nice contrast to Lil Wayne's recent tour, which required a three-song limit from the soundboard.
I shot this set almost entirely with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 on the Nikon D3. The Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 on the D700 was used for supplementary shots, while the 14-24mm f/2.8 came on for just a few one-off wide shots. I shot between ISO 2500 and ISO 3200 during T.I.'s performance, wide open, with shutter speeds falling around 1/320 to 1/500.