Seeing the world through the lens and beyond – Deborah Owen, Photographer

Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Rock Concert with a Light Show

Mahaffey Theatre

Mahaffey Theatre

On August 2, 2014 I was fortunate enough to photograph the iconic Progressive Rock band YES.  I arrived early to check out the venue as it was new for me to photograph there and upon arriving I phoned my contact.  As I was waiting for him to arrive, the staff invited me to enter and enjoy the beautiful lobby area of the Mahaffey Theatre.  The employees were so incredibly nice to me it made the beginning of this beautiful evening so wonderful.  I was escorted in and was thrilled to find out I was shooting toward the front of the stage; sometimes in venues such as this I am relegated to the back of the hall, but tonight I was up front!  Again an awesome start to what was going to be one of the best concert evenings I’ve had in a really long time.  Every concert I attend is incredible, in very different ways, because I love photographing rock bands.  This night was magical because YES is one of my bucket list bands to photograph and I was honored to be the only photographer there (not including their house photographer).  As I finished up with the last song I was able to shoot, my escort led me to the back and asked if I wanted to get a “long” shot of the stage, well of course I did and I thanked him for the opportunity to do so.

YES

YES

As I packed up my gear to depart the venue I walked outside and the evening was so beautiful and balmy.  I then realized they were piping the concert out on the patio area so I found a bench sat and listened as I watched one of the most magnificent light shows being displayed over Tampa Bay.  Did I mention the Mahaffey Theatre overlooks the bay?  Well it does and the balmy breeze mixed with the lightning and the twinkling of the lighted palms along with the incredible music that was being emitted I was simply too relaxed to move.  This had to be heaven, because I was sitting there remembering concerts that had a bit of drama involved and realized this was well worth being there alone.  Great photos, great venue, equals a great evening.

God's Light Show

God’s Light Show

Loss of a Legend

This past week we lost a Blues legend; Johnny Winter he was 70 years old. I had the opportunity to see him twice in a years time and both times he was amazing. His body unfortunately was beginning to give out and his eyesight had completely failed, but his guitar playing was something to behold.
Born John Dawson Winter III on February 23, 1944 in Beaumont Texas and born with Albinism along with his brother Edgar Winter the duo began their music careers early. By the age of 10 Johnny appeared on a local children’s show and played and sang with his brother Edgar. His first record was recorded at age 15. Winter also played with the great Muddy Waters, BB King and Bobby Bland. (Resource: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Winter)
I saw him first up in Clearwater where I had all access and was able to board his bus and garner an autograph, he seemed so frail after witnessing his greatness on stage. The second opportunity came in November 2013 as I was asked to photograph the South West Florida Blues Society, Blues Festival for radio station 94.5 The Arrow. It was incredible to see his fingers fly across the strings of his guitar up close and personal, snow white hair long and flowing as was his custom. I feel he left us too soon and I’m sure there was more music waiting to embark from those fingers. I feel blessed that I was able to witness such greatness in the blues world.

Rest in Peace John Dawson Winter III

Johnny Winter Feb. 23, 1944 - July 16, 2014

Johnny Winter Feb. 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014

Photography and Social Media

As a photographer with a small (non-existent)advertising budget, my advertising is solely on social media. I have more than a dozen different social media accounts and have them all tied into with each other including my blog here on WordPress. I’m not an expert on social media by any means, however I am learning and I am finding that the more I’m tied into it the more my name and services get out to the public (more about this later).
I am not all about the ‘LIKES’ on Facebook, but I know a few people who think the number of ‘LIKES’ on their Facebook page is the epitome of their existence on Facebook and having a lot of “friends” is important.  Some have felt the need to tell people to un-like Facebook pages belonging to others so theirs can become more popular. I find this quite sophomoric, but I personally don’t sweat it because I have more than made up for any un-likes I may have been the target of throughout my social media presence. The presence I am building will be constant and long-lived as will my business.
I understand the algorithm regarding ‘LIKES’ and quickly realized the ‘LIKES’ are not as important as the content of the posts that go onto the page. I have a personal Facebook account and I have two Facebook pages I use for my photography work; I may combine them someday, but for now they serve their individual purposes. My content is strong and my interaction with my followers is extremely important  and it needs to be constant and interactive. I understand what I need to do to keep my name in front of my followers. I also know the majority of my ‘LIKES’ are organic and not from my personal friends list, which is the key to social media. My goal is to get my business name and business name high up on Google search. I’m meeting that goal very quickly.  I constantly update my pages and reply to those who respond.  Facebook by design is a constantly changing media and if you don’t stay on it, you can lose the interest of those who are on your pages.  I try to update daily and use engagement with questions, photos and quotes that are relevant to my page.

Twitter: Using hashtags (#) on Twitter has become a key source of driving more interaction on not just my Twitter, but my Facebook, and Google accounts, and when I blog I strive to keep the content strong and keywords active.
Now all about getting my name out. I photograph regularly large concerts at large venues for a local radio station and I was asked at one point to make sure I took photos of their sponsors; this is the lifeblood of radio and it’s turning out to be the lifeblood of my photography business as well. One of my photos made it to a major sponsor’s Facebook page where my business name was put out there, and another of my photos recently got me a great job photographing a HUGE corporate sponsored event in Naples at the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort. Because of the photos I took for a local sponsor, when someone placed a shout out on Facebook for an event photographer my name was given. This more than made up for a few lost ‘LIKES’.

My next goal in social media is to be more present on YouTube. I have not done this much, but I will be working on some self advertising and hopefully this too will give me rise in the Google rankings. If anyone is interested in learning more about what social media sites I am on and how to go about setting up your online presence, please feel free to contact me on the form below. I will be happy to give you a few pointers.
Please check out my newest photos on Facebook, I had the honor of photographing three top Classic Rock bands, Foreigner, Don Felder (former Eagles and writer of Hotel California) and STYX! Please enjoy the photos.

Mick Jones

Mick Jones

Don Felder

Don Felder

Styx-20

Marty Stokes & Captiva Band @ Cadillac Jacks

2014 01 18_Marty Stokes Band_0093_edited-1

I received the invitation to hear a local band with the lead singer Marty Stokes.  I arrived at Cadillac Jacks and took my usual seat next to the pillar at a small round table of to the front side of the band.  My waitress Ashley was attentive as usual, even with the noticeably larger crowd in the establishment.  The band was a bit late in getting started (no fault of theirs as there was another event prior to their arrival).  I placed my order and prepared to enjoy my evening.  This band was well worth the wait.

Marty Stokes

Marty Stokes

Marty Stokes was on lead guitar and the only vocalist, his smooth authentic sound was a pleasure to listen to and his guitar was smoking hot.

Michael Dock

Michael Dock

Bassist  Michael Dock was hitting the bass with true blues precision.

Jennifer Mazziotti

Jennifer Mazziotti

Jennifer Mazziotti on keys and sax (more about her in a moment)

Scott Williams

Scott Williams

Scott Williams was slick on the percussion.

Their combination of covers and originals was entertaining and wonderful to listen to.  The authenticity of their originals made them seem extremely timeless.  They played one of my all time favorites Match Box and I personally enjoyed their version.  One of the originals really stood out to me; not because of the name or the tune, but because of the sax.  Jennifer is incredible, she’s not showy or a “look at me” player, but let me tell you, once she starts whaling on that sax you sit up and take notice!  She is incredible.  The song which stood out was their original Take a Little Time. Jennifer definitely made her presence known on this killer number.

If you ever get the chance to take in this Blues Band, please do you will not be disappointed.

Oh and try the potato skins at Cadillac Jacks, I think they were the best I have even eaten.  I was tempted to order a second batch to bring home!

A Step Back in Time

This weekend I was able to attend the Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire held annually at Lakes Park in Fort Myers, Florida.

What a wonderful fun event for the entire family.  Lots of fun shows to watch that will keep even your littlest trolls engaged.  From a live chess match to the traditional jousting and minstrel shows.

Knight after a joust

Knight after a joust

Chess Match

Chess Match

Magic & Mahem

Magic & Mahem

One of my all time favorites is the Barely Balanced troupe.  These three friends will make even the most cold hearted pirate laugh.  With Large (Jimmy) Medium (Cameron) and Small (Margret) performing feats of strength, agility and balance.  If you can stay late make sure you check out their fire show.

Barely Balanced

Barely Balanced

Next I must get my Craic fix.  This high energy Celtic ensemble drums, pipes and fiddles your cares away.  Another must see show.

The Craic

The Craic

Another fun show worthy of mention is the Washer Women, the best dirty, clean fun you can have.

The Faire will be happening once again this coming weekend January 18 & 19, 2014.  Get there early and plan to stay late, lots of great food, (including those smoked turkey legs), grog, including beer, wine & mead, vendors who sell every type of medieval garb and shiny objects possible and a lot more shows and games and Medieval rides for all ages.

Gregg Allman

Last night I was given the privilege to attend a Gregg Allman concert.  This was my first time hearing him live and what a treat to the ears it was.

First let me tell you about Sailor Circus Sarasota the venue in which the event was held.  It was a smaller venue, with stadium seating and floor seating.  Quaint and cozy; the seats were extremely close together and not a lot of leg room.  Not sure this could’ve been avoided, but it was still a great venue simply because I don’t feel there was a bad seat in the house.  We were fortunate enough to be in the stadium seating fifth row up and pretty close to the stage.  No complaints about that.

Unfortunately I was not granted a photo pass for this event, (I will apologize ahead of time for the bad cell phone photos) I know it’s a gamble on getting passes for out of town events, however we were close enough my iPhone was able to at least capture the feel of the stage.  Not great photos, but at least something to post with.

Now, let’s cut to the chase and get into the meat of the program.  There were two opening acts, and I felt it strange at first that Gregg’s son Devon Allman Band was the first act to open, in my mind I thought he was going to be prior to his dad.  He took the stage and it was like seeing his father (with shorter hair) up there, his sound was very much influenced by his dad, of that you can be certain. His tour is called the Turquois Tour and is based on his newest first ever solo album of the same name with a bluesy rock feel to it.  His songs were fresh and had hitting.  The song When I Left Home, was a biographical song of his life as the son of a rock star and his start in the music business.  His song Turn Off the World also was a ballad of needing to get away from life and the stresses of the road.  Overall Devon put on a great show and this listener will be purchasing his newest CD Turquois.

Devon Allman

Devon Allman

Next up was a local band (out of the Pinellas County area) called The Greg Billings Band at first I couldn’t figure out why a local band was the opening act to Gregg Allman, but one minute into this bands set and you knew exactly why!  High energy, fun to watch, and a dream to the ears.  Their first song Built for Love was hard hitting and full of great guitar.  The vocalist was on the money and never stood still (good thing I didn’t have to photograph him).  They too had released a new album and last night was the first time it had been offered, I may have to look them up on iTunes as well for the downloadable version.  They covered a song by Sister Roseta Tharpe Ain’t No Grave and received a standing ovation for this one.  Phenomenal sound, phenomenal energy and a great opening act for Gregg.

Greg Billings Band

Greg Billings Band from Pinellas County

Now let’s get to our headliner the one and only Gregg Allman and I must say (this is for the ladies) he is still as good looking as ever!  He took the stage behind  that Hammond Organ and the sound was incredible.  His line-up of musicians were as follows Scott Sharrard-guitar, Ben Stivers- Keyboard, Steve Potts-drums, Jay Collins-horns, and Ron Johnson-bass.  Unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of his percussionist and he brought his son back on stage with guitar on a couple of numbers.

Behind the Hammond

Behind the Hammond

Gregg Allman

On guitar

Gregg & Devon

With Son Devon Allman

Gregg performed a few numbers from several of his albums like his latest release like Floating Bridge from Low Country Blues, Whipping Post from Searching for Simplicity.  And of course he performed the Allman Brother’s classic Sweet Melissa.   His rocking style has not faded, however he has delved more into a Jazzy Blues feels with allowing his band mates to perform a jazz number during his intermission.  Overall the show was excellent and I have Sailor Circus Sarasota to thank and Matt Mangas at 94.5  “The Arrow” for the awesome tickets;  a couple of my friends who were able to attend because of his generosity.

Another Night of Great Blues

2013 12 21_Joey Gilmore Band_0384_edited-1

2013 12 21_Joey Gilmore Band_0388_edited-1

Last night I  had the privilege of not only listening to, but photographing a blues legend; Mr. Joey Gilmore. Music was provided by the Joey Gilmore Band and was hosted by Cadillac Jacks which is quickly becoming the premier spot for incredible blues music.  A special thanks to Willie Miller of Mill-Jenn Entertainment for providing this incredible experience. 

I was fortunate enough prior to the show to meet a couple of the band members including getting to shake the hand of the legend that handles a guitar as if it were a fine glass of wine.  Such a wonderful thrill to meet Joey Gilmore.  Joey’s band consists of R Hi-Hatt Carter who provides a silky bass undertone, the man Willie Miller on drums who also hits some incredible vocals and Sonny Boy Williams tickling the keys with a flair of a true bluesman.  This four-piece ensemble was such a treat to listen to, each instrument was highlighted as well as each member lending their leads on vocals as well as back up.  So much talent in one room should almost be illegal! 

Joey Gilmore Band captivated the audience and provided a great evening of entertainment.

Cadillac Jacks is quickly becoming South West Florida’s premier spot for blues. If you live in South West Florida and not been out on Saturday to have dinner and catch a show you are missing a wonderful experience. Last night included members from the South West Florida Blues Society who truly enjoyed the experience.
If you find you want to enjoy a great evening out, head on over to Cadillac Jacks Blues night every Saturday put on my Mill-Jenn Entertainment. And on a side note, the onion rings are to die for!

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