Perfectionism at it’s Best (Worst)

Ever make a mistake? Yes, me too and when I do they are normally doozies! I consider myself a perfectionist.  I was the kid who would not erase, but start over on a paper, it always took me longer because of this.  I still carry that bit of perfectionism into my life today and in doing so it imparts undue stress which is something I try to avoid.

When it comes to photography, I rarely have to edit, not that my photos are perfect, far from it many times, but I try to get my settings right in camera to avoid having to spend time in front of a computer to edit.  Last week that completely changed and I had an extremely humbling experience.

The story begins when I was asked by the lead singer of a headlining band to take their final bow shot at the end of the evening.  I knew it would be difficult because the lighting at these shows are less than stellar.  I accepted the challenge convinced I’d be able to give them something great.  Throughout the show I really fought with my settings and the non existent or highly saturated stage lighting, but I still thought “I can do this” because there is one thing I rarely do is question my skills.  Finally the moment came I climbed the steps up to the stage to position myself behind the drum kit and on my way I kept thinking, “I should have grabbed my flash”,  I really didn’t want to use flash because the idea was to capture the crowd behind the band.  I shot off the first few frames and thought my settings were adequate, however I had nothing to focus on as the stage lights were completely off except for this glaring green light bouncing off the cymbals. Still no realizing what was happening I continued to shoot as both bands took a final bow and my job was done.

On the way home the lead singer sent me a text message telling me how he couldn’t wait to see the photos.  I felt the same way, until I downloaded them into Lightroom. My stomach dropped, every single photo was dark; except for the green lights reflecting from the cymbals on the drum kit.  What was I going to do?  I completely broke down; THESE were the MOST important shots of the night and I had completely failed.  I began to question myself, my abilities and my judgement.  For three days I tried to work on the photos and just could not get anything usable.  I was devastated, I had ruined the photos.

dark-photo
Before

 

On the fourth day once again I received a text message from the lead singer asking when I would be sending the photos over, I told him they would be done later that night; again I broke down, but something at that moment hit me.  I could and would salvage the photo!

I needed to believe in myself and my abilities and understand I could solve the problem (with a lot of prayer and pleading to God).  Finally it came to me what to do and three hours later, the band had their photo.

fright-nite-4
After

 

 

Here is what I didn’t realize at the time: The green lights were reflecting from the cymbals back to the sensor on my camera, so when I thought I was exposing for the faces, I exposing for the cymbals. I should have stepped forward instead of staying behind the drums and finally I should have used my flash and deal with the crowd in post processing.

Here is what I learned about myself: Always go with your gut! No matter what, do what your instincts tell you to do.  I should have used my flash.  Next I learned that I need to not stress over this, just breathe and work until a solution is evident.  And finally I learned I am human, and I make mistakes and I need to learn from them.  However, the biggest take away from this is that God has given me the gift of creativity and I need to rely on him and not on myself no matter how impossible the situation seems.  Thanks for following me, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Summer Slump

The summer months in South West Florida are extremely hot and humid and not ideal for outdoor large venue concerts, and since I don’t often photograph local bands except for an occasional radio station event it’s been extremely quiet

However, just as the weather will be changing; concerts will be picking up and photographic activity is about to come alive.  A plethora of great arena concerts, along with some local shows with big name acts will be arriving in the next few months. I look forward to this bustle after a nice break.

Recently I’ve traveled up to the Tampa /St. Petersburg area and caught several large name acts; I’ve photographed  Alice Cooper, The REO, Def Leppard & Tesla Tour,  and the Heart, Joan Jett & Cheap Trick Tour.  These photos can be found on my Facebook page

Last night I was privileged to photograph The Cirque du Soleil show OVO at our local arena.  WOW! what an incredible show.  The colors were magnificent as the “bugs” danced, pranced, and flew across the stage.  The acrobatics for this show are world class and if you ever have the opportunity to catch such a show, make sure you go.  It’s well worth the money.

More photos can be found by following the links and going to my Facebook page

Eye Contact

You hear all the time that the eyes are the window to the soul, one of my goals when I’m shooting concerts is to get the eye contact; now mind you I don’t ask for it, I don’t do anything distracting to get it, but generally it happens, even when I don’t think they can even see me as with Alice Cooper.  I was way over off to the side and a couple of rows up, yet this happened;Alice Cooper-6

There wasn’t anyone that I could see in his direct eye contact, I even asked the photographer behind me if she got him looking our way…….she didn’t.

On Monday I got kind of the same thing, but it was almost as if I was recognized, don’t see how that’s possible, but REO’s bassist comes out on stage and this happened;REO

and it continues with the other two bands Tesla………Tesla-14Tesla-3

and…….Def Leppard;Def Leppard-15

 

Concerts, Concerts and More Concerts

I have been a busy lady these past few days, lots of things going on and I have been extremely fortunate to be involved with some wonderful events.  Locally we have an annual event called the Cape Coral Coconut Festival and each year they bring in some of the best bands around.  This year proved to be no different with the 80’s style hair band Lazy Bonez opening for headliner Loverboy!  What a great evening of rock music.  Typical of Florida weather (you never know what you will get) we had a November rain (yes you may sing at this point) and it was quite chilly.  However the bands played on and the crowds showed up despite the rain, proving you can’t keep the hard core rockers down!

Last night I traveled up to Clearwater to once again photograph the great girl band in the history of Rock and Roll; HEART.  Let me tell you these ladies can still rock the stage with all the classics.  What a wonderful show they put on .  This is my third time photographing them and they never disappoint my camera lens.

I have one more concert this week and it will be blues inspired with Tab Benoit and Will add photos once they have been taken.  Enjoy my journey back to the 80’s.

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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

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

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.