Chris Brown w/ Tory Lanez, Ty Dolla $ign, Joyner Lucas and Yella Beezy at PNC in Raleigh, NC
I had just started throwing gear into the car when I got an email saying the rules had changed and the photographers had to shoot from the soundboard.
I’d spent the morning studying the show, making game plans, selecting lenses and divining settings, all in hopes of getting the perfect shot for each performer. This all took a few hours, as I reviewed the show a couple of times to get the feel of what choreography was implemented for each artist, and now there was an equipment change for soundboard.
Fortunately I had the soundboard set up ready to go. Earlier in the month I had prepped a two foot extender for a monopod so I could shoot from, with my ladder, at a height of about seven and a half feet.
I grabbed the stuff, screwed the monopod into my antique Canon 400 2.8, twisted on one of my 5D Mark IV bodies, selected yet another set of settings, hopped in the buggy and was off.
I still got to PNC early. Best to get there early as PNC does provide four really nice cushy red leather chairs that we photographers can sit and wait in, but there are usually way more than four photographers, so you gotta scramble to get one. I collapsed into a chair and waited, scoping out the fans, working out the logistics of the demographic, socializing with the other incorrigibles.
The opening sets flew by. About 20 minutes each with something like 10 minutes between, stretching out a bit longer as the artists proceeded. It was great photographing from way up above. Perched at the soundboard, we were about fifty yards back, and with the fans all standing up in front of us, being up as high as you can get is the only way to go.
Ty Dolla $ign
But it was scary. The extender for the mono-pod was bending under the weight of the 25 lb. 400mm 2.8 lens. I was teetering up there trying not to lose balance or my grip on the lens. So much so, my feet were going numb. That was a first. Up on the ladder, I couldn’t move much to bring more circulation to my feet, and the hand steadying the lens was numbing too. So there I was. My body half numb, trying not to fall off a ladder balancing a twenty six pound (with camera body), weight on a bendy eight foot stick, squarely in the middle of thousands of inebriated fans, focusing solely on what was happening in the view finder, fine tuning shutter speed, aperture and ISO.
The new camera body is making things easier. I’m getting a feel now of how to change settings without taking my eye from the eyecup while I shoot, although I still take a glance at the LCD to check the highlights. I feel I did push the ISO too much with this one as I went up to 6400 in some segments of Chris Brown’s performance, which bought me a lot of noise. The action was so fast..I was too reluctant so slow shutter speed and sacrifice the depth of field. Every show is a sacrifice. Every gallery of images is a baring of the soul. Macro circumstance is unpredictable, success rate based on preparation and skill. Still a long road ahead.
I didn’t get away with it. Too noisy. Next time I’ll sacrifice the other settings to keep the ISO from getting this high.
Yella Beezy 1/500 sec; f/5.0; ISO 2500
Joyner Lucas1/500 sec; f/4.5; ISO 3200
Ty Dolla $ign1/320 sec; f/4.0; ISO 2500
Tory Lanez 1/500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 2500
Chris Brown 1/500 sec; f/5.6; ISO 6400and 1/500 sec; f/3.5; ISO 6400