Snoop Dogg “I Wanna Thank Me Tour” intersects The Ritz in Raleigh, NC
Snoop Dogg “I Wanna Thank Me Tour” with Petey Pabloe, OT Genasis, Trae The Truth, RJMrLA and Triggs play The Ritz in Raleigh, NC.
My last concert photo session for 2019.
This one was a trip in trying to get credentialed to cover the show. About a month out I started digging for the media contacts, but nothing solid was coming up. I sent about 15 emails trying to get a hit. When I’m not having any luck about five tries in, I tend to give up as I feel my karma is leading me in another direction. However, for some reason, the more I failed, the harder I tried and finally, two days before the show, I struck gold and got approval
The Ritz is about 38 minutes from my palace. But you never know with traffic, so instead of erring on the late side, I was 45 minutes early.
45 minutes early and when I walked in, the first act, Triggs was already into his set. security at the pit ushered me right in and I started shooting. There were no other photographers in the pit and Triggs seemed to be so happy to see me, he ripped his shirt off and did a jig just for me! (Well it seemed like it anyway, thanks Triggs!)
Back when I first started concert photography an old geezer explained to me to walk into a shooting situation ready with cameras swinging. To not carry my gear packed in luggage, where I would need to unpackand fart around with all the lenses and bodies. So before each show I guesstimate the exposure settings and lens choices at home along with reformatting the cards and a quick camera strap check before leaving the house. Everything in concert photography is about speed, and speed is acquired through preparation. Everything matters when increasing speed through efficiency. It’s economy of movement.
There were a few more opening acts than I expected, so I just registered where each artist was holding his mic and worked each set on the open side. With Snoop Dogg, I suspected he might have pole dancers to enhance the presentation so I chose a wide angle selection of lenses rather than going for a far reach. I ratcheted the shutter speed up a bit for the dancers too, and I see I could ofgone faster as the hair was really flying, but I did manage to catch the effects of centrifugal force on the dancers body which is something I’ve never seen before. I’ve shot many pole dance instructors posing for shots but never a dancer actually working it hard, so this was a joy to behold. I think she enjoyed the attention too!
I was using two Canon 5D Mk 4 bodies for artist performances, one with a Canon 16-35mm 2.8, the other with the Canon 24-70 2.8. For the audience and full stage shots I was using an old Canon 5D Mk 2 body with a 14mm 2.8 lens.
I’m really squirreling quite a bit in Lghtroom Classic to get rid of noise and the masking feature in the sharpen dialog box (after noise adjustments) is really helping put this right. Actually, I have my firmware settings in the camera bodies (mk 4s) set to accommodate the blacks but this blows out the highlights. After I get rid of noise in post the highlights may loose any detail they might have so I’m finding that adding a bit of grain over featureless highlights brings back a little of the aesthetics.
This reminds me of the trick of printing an image with blown highlights on a more textured paper. The shadows created by the highly textured paper with the ambient light skimming over the surface of the print will give the illusion of detail in the highlights. Of course only geeks like you and me care to walk up and stare at a print 3 inches away to judge the highlights. But then you know as well as I do, everything is important!
Canon 24-70mm 2.8: 1/250 sec; f/5.0; ISO 4000
Canon 16-35mm 2.8: 1/250 sec; f/5.0; ISO 4000
Canon 14mm 2.8: 1/160 sec; f/2.8; ISO 5000
Pole Dancing with 14mm: 1/320 sec; f/5.0; ISO 5000
I was freaking out cranking the ISO up to 5000 on the old Canon 5D Mk 2 body. But as you can see, working on post-processing skills in Adobe’s Lightroom classic has really helped.
Trae the Truth
I’ve since traded in the 5D Mk 2 for a third 5D Mk 4. Canon had knocked off another $700 in sale price for the holidays and with the trade-in, the price was too low to ignore. The third body I use is for 14mm or fisheye. With the added benefit of extremely high ISO’s this will really open up a lot of crazy shots I reserve for those lenses.
With that third body I’m also going to experiment with auto settings. Since I bought my first camera in the 1980s I’ve mainly shot manual. I still have my trusty Gossen spot meter I used when I shot outdoors. But now with the wide range of settings available in the Mk 4, I’m going to see what it can do in auto with the audience shots and especially when a musician leans way into you from the edge of the stage completely out of the light.