Diaspora Reggae Live

I was very pleased to be invited by Diaspora Reggae to shoot their live gig at Howl at the Moon at Universal Citywalk, on May 17. It was my first live gig shoot in a while, and I enjoyed getting back in the swing of it.

Howl at the Moon is a very nice club, with a really good, clean-sounding sound system. I thought they were only a dueling piano bar, but they have a lot of live bands, too. Because of the high-intensity color of the LED lighting system, I found it hard to get shots of the band where they didn’t look like Blue Man Group (or Red Man Group, etc.), so I wound up converting a lot of the shots to black and white, which really saved a lot of otherwise unusable shots.

The band consists of: Tyler Reinhart (Vocals, Keys), Cedar Compher (Lead Guitar, Keys, Melodica), Brandon (Drums), Joe Hall (Rhythm Guitar), Jason Dickie (Bass)

Diaspora Reggae Shoot

Diaspora is a great, L.A.-based reggae band that I met through Craigslist, and arranged a shoot while they were in the rehearsal studio. They are a great bunch of guys, and very talented. The band consists of: Tyler Reinhart (Vocals, Keys), Cedar Compher (Lead Guitar, Keys, Melodica), Brandon (Drums), Joe Hall (Rhythm Guitar), Jason Dickie (Bass)

During a break from rehearsing, we went outside and shot the typical, cliche “five guys against a brick wall” band shot. It’s hard to shoot something that is so common and make it different! You have to rely on the band giving you something to work with, in terms of attitude, look, and swagger… which the guys from Diaspora did very well at.
From the wall, we went out to the streets, literally, and we all stood in the middle of a busy street during a break in traffic. Don’t try this at home, kids!
Then we found a darker wall, with a low wall in front of it, and the band decided to try out their powers of levitation for a fun group shot.
Because the studio was dark, and I had traveled light, bringing just a couple of Speedlites, I was shooting at ISO1600, which brought a certain amount of digital noise to the images. Instead of correcting it  in post, I worked with it, and allowed the processing to bring out the graininess and contrast of the RAW file.
This was a fun shoot, and I look forward to working with Diaspora again.

Hard Six: Through the Lens

I was happy and fortunate to be selected as part of the exhibit Hard Six: Thru the Lens, at Megasound Studios in Ventura, CA. The exhibit, which includes photos about the local band, Hard Six, opened Saturday, January 28, and continues through March 28, 2017. There was a great opening night party, featuring Hard Six and many friends from other bands. I was very pleased with how great the Xpozer image mounting system from Bay Photo Lab’s  worked. The images really popped, and stood out (literally!) from the others.


The Other Side of the Lens

While attending a lecture by internationally reknowned photograper Joe McNally, I was struck by some images he shared, that he had taken of some friends and fellow photographers. So often, we photographers are behind the lens, and not in front of it! In fact, many of my photographer friends have tons of vacation photos in which their families appear, yet they are absent… always on the wrong side of the lens.

I decided to embark upon this project of taking portraits of photographers.

As the project was ramping up, I thought about the relationship that photographers have with their cameras. Phototographers talk about their “gear” all the time. With some, the talk is about learning, with others it is a point of pride, and with some, it is an obsession.

Photography may be the one art form in which a lifetime journey begins with the gift of the tools to create. You never hear, “I decided I wanted to become a writer when my dad gave me a typewriter (or computer, for you kids).” Music, painting, sculpture: all arts in which the appreciation typically precedes the desire. Yet, you often hear photographers speak about getting a camera, then becoming hooked.

For some photographers, the camera is just a tool, no different from a paintbrush. For others, the relationship is more like a guitarist with a prized Les Paul: Something to lust after, acquire, and bond with over years of creativity.

I asked the photographers in this exhibit to bring their favorite cameras. Other than that, they were free to suggest any other “adjustments” or props.

It was interesting to note how many of the photographers expressed discomfort with being on the other side of the lens. Some even admitted to disliking it a lot!

The concept for this exhibit presentation came to me in a flash. My own journey with photography began taking pictures on film as a child. As a teenager, I worked in a traditional film darkroom (in my bedroom closet). The idea of presenting these digital images as if they had been shot on film and printed with “old school” darkroom techniques appealed to me.

The first exhibit for this project was presented as part of the City of Santa Clarita’s ArtSLAM on May 1, 2014.

All of the images were taken with a Canon 5D MkIII, and an 80mm f1.8 lens. Each image was processed in Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop, and printed at 4×5 “negatives” were printed on an HP Laserjet using transparency film.