Days Of Loss urgently needed some new band pics as they are about to launch a CD and I was happy to oblige as always! We arranged a 6pm meeting on Thursday at the Schemerlbrücke - a really cool bridge close to home I use quite often to evade traffic. Of course it turned quite cold a few days before and the wind on and around the bridge made it a freezing endeavour... In any case, I set up Speedlites on the walkway to the left and had one on my Gorillapod attached to one of the girders on the right. It was a hit and miss sort of thing because we had to jump out onto the road part between cars and I didn't really have too much time to explain exactly the poses I wanted because it was so cold!
In addition, having seen some of their other media material, I added a green tint to the backlighting to give a gloomier / more industrial look to it - the pictures are for their CD booklet and media around their CD. Using Color Efex Pro I added only the tint and reduced it on their faces and clothing.
We then moved about 50 metres away from the bridge, facing the train station at Nussdorf. I got the guys to sit in their van to warm up while I set up the next shot - I thought I'd like to try floodlighting it with my car's headlights. That gave me two flashes to use as backlights and one to light up their faces from the front. It was just starting to snow lightly but it was the wind that was really my worry because we had three guys with long hair who were going to fight with keeping it out of their faces. Anyway, messed about with the settings to let in enough ambient but wanted to overpower and really have bright subjects. Here's what I came up with:
I'm quite happy with this shot and I like that there are some snowflakes visible in the flash at the right edge of the picture. I got plenty of backlight in which is what I was going for and you can still see the train station and the rails so it gives you a good sense of where this was. I really love how the ground is all lit up by the car's headlights.
Ursula runs Bodyreflections - Body and Mind, a Pilates studio/program which can be found at bodyreflections.at. Some new pictures were needed and the idea of possibly making a calendar for 2014 was thrown around, so we set up some shots in the gym studio:
A quick look behind the scenes reveals the lighting:
I edited in a few different versions, the bleach bypass / cool background / warm skin tones look at the top as well as a black and white version:
Finally we also did a few portraits of Ursula on a black background. For this I changed the lighting around obviously. I used a reflector umbrella as a key light camera right and then shot a rim light from behind camera right as well as focusing a hair light camera left.
I love Iced Earth. I really do. So I was quite a happy chappy when I saw they would be in Vienna again and supporting Volbeat on a huge tour which meant they would be getting to use the big stage they deserve. In addition, my friend Jon Dette is playing drums for them now, so I got to see him too! I met up with him a bit earlier as he is wearing a load of Archetype Apparel gear at the moment - so we got a few shots of him in one of his new shirts just before soundcheck.
Before the show I did a bit of promo with Iced Earth while the first band of the night was playing. It was done behind the stage and unfortunately it was completely dark down there so I had to use my phone to shine some light into Stu's face in order to get a focus point. I messed it up on the first couple of shots where I tried to focus one and then set to manual focus and keep shooting - that wasn't a good idea as it turned out since I must have moved a bit and the first shots were out of focus. The next set of pics worked though as I just kept my phone up with one hand and shot with the other - it also gave the band something to look at in the dark. Here's one that didn't make the final cut - the final pics will be used in press and marketing material.
Lighting info: one 600EX Speedlite as backlight, 1/2 power, two more camera left and right at 1/8 and 1/16 respectively. 35mm, f/4.0 at 1/125. Ambient light: zero.
The show itself was awesome. Iced Earth was really appreciated by the Vienna crowd and played a wonderful set which also included some new stuff from the upcoming album. Of course I didn't actually get to see too much of it because I was running around the venue! I have posted only 10 pictures as the rest may be used in material as preparation for their headlining tour in 2014.
Of course, Volbeat also produced a great show! They started off with a banjo player right at the front of the stage and I was just getting really close with a wide angle lens when the first set of explosives went off right in front of me. I had seen "fire" written on the setlist but I didn't realize where it was going to be! The other photographers in the pit, the security guys and the first five rows of the audience all had a "whoa" look on their face which must have mirrored mine! Full set of the gig here.
Michael from Volbeat is a huge Iced Earth fan (and personally asked Jon Schaffer to do this tour with them) and so it is particularly cool that he plays the song Iced Earth with them every night and then Jon comes on to do Pool of Booze during the Volbeat set. They have great chemistry on stage. All in all a fantastic evening which I thoroughly enjoyed!
SOIA played ((szene)) on the 27th of June (pics here) and I had the chance to do some promo work with them before the show. They're working hard on a new album and with a bit of luck one of my pics will make it into the booklet. Here are just two pics from the shoot, might post the rest sometime later on when we know whether any of them made the cut!
Just a simple setup with a flash shot through an umbrella camera left and a second one behind Pete as backlight. Very light bleach bypass and a fog filter to lighten and soften the image a bit.
Same lighting as before (there really wasn't much time to mess about with changing modifiers or the such) but shot from above with a wider angle. Used a bleach bypass again, this time added a silver reflector effect and fog/blur.
Last night finally brought Tracer to Austria - I have seen them a couple of times now but have always had to travel to see them. They have developed incredibly since I first saw them in 2011 and now have such a tight and energetic performance that they really gained a bunch of new fans here in Vienna. Rarely does a support band get as much attention as Tracer did last night. The Answer is an incredibly good live band but I will admit to having seen only the first couple of songs as I went to have a chat with the guys from Tracer afterwards. Full sets here: Tracer / The Answer
So, I finally have my travel kit together. The requirements were:
Here it is:
I haven't listed any pricing (go check on da Internetz) but I am super happy with value for money from all of these items. I have already sung the praises of the EOS M which I absolutely love, so let me say now that these two Yongnuo flashes are great. They feel sturdy and ready for action, have a bunch of nifty functions and built-in radio receivers which make them extremely cool for a very small price. Of course they don't compare to my Canon 600EXs, but since I really don't want to take my expensive flashes with me all over the World, the Yongnuos are a great investment (and a small fraction of the cost of the Canons).
So: on trips where photography is not the primary goal, this is what I'll have with me. And I'm thinking of carrying it around in my laptop bag pretty much all the time as well so if you run into me and want your picture taken... just ask nicely!
Running order: Earthrotten, Time For Pride, In The Cage, Endiryah, Cadaveres
Burnside Records brought in 5 bands to play at ((szene)) to celebrate the 15 year anniversary of supporting Austrian music. The show was very entertaining - I know Time For Pride and Endiryah well, but hadn't seen the other bands before. In The Cage have been around for a while so it really has just been bad luck that I haven't seen them before. They play a cool hardcore style and had a couple of followers with them who unfortunately didn't stay for the rest of the show.
Earthrotten had a difficult slot starting up the night but did really well to warm up the crowd. They play a great mix of technical / death metal and were quite good on stage - definitely a surprise for me and well worth a listen!
Cadaveres were the highlight of the night for me. They drove up from Hungary to play and gave it all on stage. Their brand of metal really appeals to me and I was surprised at the quality of the vocalist, he certainly didn't look like he was going to be able to push out the actual singing that he did in addition to the screams and growls of heavier music. All in all a great night!
Discure. Wow. Like being hit over the head. With a truck. That is loaded with freight trains. That are full of steel weights. You get the picture. The Rhiz is a small place which probably takes about 60 people in the gig area and the stage is just big enough to house a drum kit so the band needs to perform on the floor and the audience just has to give the band a few centimetres to move in. The set itself was powerful - loads of energy and aggression and heaps and heaps of fun! This is the way music should be performed. Full picture set here.
I was asked to take a few behind the scenes shots and then to create dirty and different shots of the show. For the stuff before the gig I used the little EOS M again, no editing, providing them just a few hours later. It's a pre-defined picture style and I love the 16:9 format and the 35mm focal length.
For the show itself I used my 5DIII and the Sigma 15mm fisheye. I am also using an external battery pack now for the flash since I really really really want to reduce my consumption of AA batteries significantly. I have found rechargeable AAs to be very weak overall and the 600EX flashes eat through their power so quickly that they are effectively unusable. Anyway, dragged the shutter to get plenty of ambient light in (not that there was much!!!) and then processed in Nik Color Efex Pro.
Just a place to log my photographic activities and share some thoughts.