The Writings

Mission South at the Black Cat

I'm not going to lie: I love my career choice. I get to make images for a living and meet some fantastic people. It's a lot of fun, but nothing makes the gig more enjoyable than when you work with folks who absolutely love what they do, too. Needless to say, when it comes to Mission South, they make shooting any show of theirs an absolute blast!

I've been fortunate to have shot Mission South before, and they always seem to know how to put on a great, energetic performance. I was upset when I had previous obligations and couldn't attend or shoot previous shows of theirs, but thankfully, with their show opening for Mucca Pazza at the Black Cat, I was out in full force. Along for the ride was my handy dandy Canon 7D, a 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM, and my Canon AE-1 film camera with a 28mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.4. You know, just in case.

Because the local camera shop seems to have broken their machine to process black and white film (I know, I know. There will come a point where I'll be developing my own film. Just... calm down... ok?), I'm still awaiting the results from what I shot with the AE-1. However, because technology is sweet, I still have shots from my 7D.

The Black Cat has an infamously low stage that puts you right on top of the musicians. This is both fantastic and infuriating, since you won't get the chance to move around freely unless you're in an empty room, but being that close allows you to get any and all shots you could want from one location with a beautiful lens like the 24-70. Yes, it even reaches the drummer. If it isn't apparent, my love for the 24-70 runs deep.

Cranked all the way to ISO 2500 and a shutter speed around 1/60 - 1/125, I've learned my lesson from previous shows when I would be nervous about using an ISO that high. I was so afraid of grain and noise that I'd still attempt to shoot with a 800-1000 and a slower shutter speed that left everything a blurred mess. Kids, just set the ISO to 3200, ok? The Black Cat does you no favors with their lighting; it's a dimly-lit, red mess. In an attempt to prevent every musician from looking like an Oompa Loompa, I've had to crank the Kelvins down all the way (thanks for that tip, Todd Owyoung!). Why no love for, say, blue or purple lights at the Black Cat, I have no idea.

Be sure to check them out at a venue near you. Oh, speaking of, lookie what I found! They've got an upcoming show at DC 9 on Thursday, February 7th! How convenient! All kidding aside, they're a great group of guys who put on a fantastic show, so check them out! For info and how you can buy tickets, click here: www.dcnine.com/event/mission-south

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the images below!

Until next time,

- Patrick