Now that the expected slump of the holiday season has passed, live music in Vancouver is kicking into high gear again. I shot my first show of 2011 tonight: Little Dragon + Billygoat @ Fortune Sound Club.
It was nice to return to Fortune. It’s where I shot my first professional show last year: Kid Sister, who was a wonderful surprise, a fantastic high energy performer. A blast to shoot; she really got me started off on the right foot!
The show tonight was quite a treat.
One of the things I love about shooting live music is that I see performances I may not have, if I wasn’t assigned to shoot them. Tonight, for example, I knew about Little Dragon, and was excited to see their brand of synthy-poppy-electo dance stuff.
But I hadn’t heard about Billygoat until tonight, when I researched them in preparation for the shoot. Their music is very minimal, more emotion than noise, but it all makes sense when you watch their intricately created animations, because it is the visuals that are the centre of attention, the band is merely providing the score.
The animations are marvelous: hand created stop motion people and shapes and things, flat objects with shadows, layered in a way that made me want to touch them. It was a very inspiring show from this group from Portland.
Except for the bright animations from the projector, the show (both acts) was quite dark, which always makes for a challenging shoot.
But I tried something a bit different tonight – I lowered my shutter speed instead of raising my ISO. I found that high ISO’s will take in too much light, and when a performer is bathed in the dreaded red light (or blue or yellow, but red is definitely the worst), s/he drowns in it. Huge swatches of skin lose detail, they become big patches of flat colour. So I experimented with keeping the ISO low for detail, and pushed my shutter as slow as I could go and still avoid blur.
I’m moving the pics from my camera to my computer right now. I’ll post pics sometime tomorrow (Wed Jan 12).