Earth, Wind & Fire at Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC
This was a sold out show at Red Hat. Driving in, the traffic was bottling up about four blocksaway, and as I got closer, I noticed everyone downtown walking in the same direction…towards Red Hat. When I was two blocks away, I saw the line, about 4 people thick…holy smokes, they really packed them in!
I found out why. What a great show. A stream of hits laced with great choreography, staging, musicianship, lighting, costuming. What I leave out? They didn’t leave anything out. The whole performance was perfectly executed. What a blast!
When I received my confirmation to photograph the show, I was told that I’d have to shoot from the soundboard which would be something like 30 yards away…so I packed my telephoto 400mm lens, and I also brought a 70-200 to get full stage shots to capture the feel of the show, leaving behind my third camera body and assortment of lenses.
But when I got there I was told things had changed and we would be shooting from the pit. I had to hall that monster 400mm back to the car, but thank goodness I had the 70-200. Shooting from the pit requires a range of lenses as artists move from front to back, and you need wide angles to capture the range of staging from the close perspective of the pit. But all I had was the 70-200, so I focused more on the close portraits so this shoot will have a much different feel than most of my concert work.
I was very frustrated with using just the one lens, and can see that if I had the nerve, I should just bring one lens to a live show to train myself in the use of it, and doing this with each lens in my kit. I have found through the years, that each lens has a soul of its own and speaks to you, tells you when it wants to be held and used. Sounds funny don’t it? But when you’re shooting as fast as possible, because you have just three songs to cover a band, you don’t have time to think and choose. Your just there moving as fast as possible and the lenses call your hands. I’ll be shooting with one camera/lens while I feel my other hand bringing up another camera/lens to be used. Occasionally I become suddenly aware this is happening and I don’t know how it is happening…
Thats why I spend so much effort prepping. It’s all about disappearing and letting the action take over. It’s the only way to get this stuff.