Last night I went gigging and a lot of the feelings I experienced in Rifflandia came straight back, particularly my struggle with lighting issues. In fact, I should not be so quick to say "my struggle." Most of my camera-slinging, photogging friends who have shot bands agree that it is largely a struggle most of the time. Light seems to be the bane of the music scene, from a photographical perspective atleast.
Warning: If you want to dodge a lot of technical stuff, and quite possible a headache, skip to the last paragraph. **Editorial note: I just read over this, and my head hurts.
The quality of light is something most people will not notice, solely because of the power of the human eye. Your eye is so powerful that it is able to see the most intricate of details in the most atrocious lighting scenario. Another factor is that your eye has far larger dynamic range than what we photographers can capture with our super-fancy toys. Ok, so I've confused 99% percent of you. Simply put, your eye can see darker dark tones and lighter light tones than a camera can in one image. Hypothetically speaking, and in no way scientific - trust me, the science is confusing - lets call 1 the darkest tone our eye can see, and 12 the lightest. Where our eye looks at a band and sees a tonal range spanning 1 to 12, and everything from the darkest shadows to the brightest lights, us photographers choose a span of about 5 consecutive numbers on "Brian's Hypothetical Scale." That being said, we choose what section of the human eye's dynamic range we want to capture; say, 2 to 6 - capturing darker tones and losing lighter ones - or 5 to 9 - capturing brighter tones, but not the brightest. We can't capture as large a dynamic range as the eye can see.
Besides trying to find the best tonal range, we struggle with low lighting... period. The more sensitive we make our cameras, the worse the picture's quality and grain is - something your eye has absolutely no problem with.
So why am I telling you all this? I just really wish I had a camera as powerful as the human eye. These were shot at 1600 ISO on my 50D, which is pretty damn sensitive. I think I'll just have to settle for a 5D mark ii, being full-frame and capable of getting the same quality at 3200 ISO, giving me a little bit more freedom when shooting in low light places, like gigs and weddings.
Even though the lighting wasn't so great, the band was spectucular! I went to the gig without knowing a single thing about them, or their style (Perhaps if I was a true Victorian, I would know of them, but I'm still working on eh!-ifying myself). I quickly found perhaps the only spot where there was sufficient light for me to capture reasonable pictures with, and shot away, enjoying the vibes and energy these guys were encapsulating the crowd with. If you get a chance to see Mindil Beach Markets live, JUMP ON IT! You won't regret it.
Ok, finally, it's time for some images.