The Writings

Darwin Deez at the Black Cat

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I'm always learning new things when I go out shooting, and I suppose "if you're not growing, you're dying," right? However, in the case of Darwin Deez, I kind of wished that I would've gotten a free pass from the lessons bit. When I'm amidst shooting a band I like, the lesson I learned is that it is not an ideal time to experiment. Then again, I suppose there's no time better than the present, or whatever cliche I can use to defend my actions. So... there's always that.

What am I rambling about, you ask? I will explain, as I'm sure you ultimately expected. I attended the show, prepared for the Black Cat's adoration of red lighting, and had adjusted my settings accordingly. This involves widening the aperture, increasing the ISO to 2500-3200, and setting the Kelvins all the way down to 2500. This time, however, I did something a little different. And it would be my downfall.

You can see the resulting images for yourself, which I will go into depth about my thought process afterward.

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I noticed that in the past, upon getting my photos uploaded, there would still be a significant amount of noise due to the high ISO and darkness of the room. I've been hearing about the in-camera noise reduction of the Canon 7D and saw images of how good it can be without impacting image quality significantly. I took a look at the example photos and thought this might be helpful in my concert shots, since I hated trying to reduce the noise in Lightroom and making the musicians look like plastic toys. That was the thinking, at least.

I adjusted the noise reduction to "strong", figuring that the setting at the venue would require a ton of noise reduction assistance. What I discovered, however, was that doing this set me up for failure. It appeared that a lot of my photos were blurry and out of focus, even though I was certain that I had my subjects in focus majority of the time. Out of the 400+ photos I took, I would venture to guess that 80% were useless due to the soft images. Rude.

This was never an issue before - my subjects would always be in focus, and the only adjustment I would have to make was to the noise, which Lightroom handled fine. In an effort to reduce the amount of work I needed to do in post-production, I ended up creating more work for myself and ultimately less-than-desirable shots. C'est la vie.

I still managed to scrap together the shots above, using the usual suspects: my Canon 7D and the 24-70mm f/2.8. My familiarity with the Black Cat has typically been spot on, but there were two things that threw me off with this set:

1) Darwin seemed to love blue lighting. And given the Black Cat loves them some red lights, I was not going to complain.

2) There were a TON of objects in my way. The number of keyboards, mic stands, and other accouterments in the way made it extremely difficult to shoot. Normally, this is just something you suck up and work around, but with the number of dance sequences Darwin and company did in between songs, it was difficult to get a clear shot of the dance moves.

No matter what the circumstances, I had a phenomenal time at the show. Darwin and his bands were really having a good time, and you could visibly see as they performed, which is always a treat when you go to a show. It makes a difference, and I had such a fun experience at the show! Plus, after having followed his career for a few years now, being able to hear some of my favorites definitely made my night!

Until next time,

- Patrick