On Sunday June 17, 2018 three iconic bands from the 70’s & 80’s took the stage at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater in Tampa, Florida. Styx tours yearly and always has an incredible line up of stars with them. This year was the band Tesla and Joan Jett & the Black Hearts.
Tesla opened their eight song set with a rocking start as lead singer Jeff Keith belted out I Wanna Live then went right into Hang Tough. Vocally Jeff was strong as he worked his way across the stage, giving the audience a show of his still youthful moves and kicks. Mid set they performed the iconic Signs cover from Five Man Electrical Band. It was an incredible fifty minute set. Dave Rude (the only “new” member) is fun to watch on stage, he plays to the audience with flair. Overall they were tight and the audience was into the experience.
Next up was Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. I saw Joan Jett last year and wasn’t really impressed with her vocals, however this year she was on the money. Her Vocals were strong and remained so throughout her sixteen song set. She began her set with Bad Reputation and continued with several of her own songs and quite a few covers such as Cherry Bomb from her former band The Runaways, The Arrows I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll and Tommy & the Shondells Crimson and Clover. She also performed I Hate Myself For Loving You and Fake Friends. Overall her set was solid and she performed well. Unfortunately there are no photographs as no one was approved for Joan.
Last up was STYX, iconic and strong and one of this writer’s favorite 70’s & 80’s bands. This band does not disappoint. Lawerence Gowan (1999) is not just a great vocalist, but he’s an incredible showman and fits right in with James “J.Y.” Young (founding member 1970), Tommy Shaw (1975), Ricky Phillips (2003) and Todd Sucherman (1996). STYX opened their set with Overture which showcased each member as they entered the stage and opened with Gone, Gone, Gone followed by Blue Collar Man and The Grand Illusion. The set continued with them doing all of their best hits such as the rock ballad Lady and Too Much Time on My Hands. We were waiting on founding member Chuck Panozzo to make an appearance; as he normally does and I heard he did in Oklahoma. However, it did not happen in this show.
The only cover was Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody performed by Lawrence Gowan. STYX closed their set with Come Sail Away and encored with Mr Roboto; yes, you read that correctly. Renegade was their final number for the evening.
Over all this entire tour was fantastic and delivered all that was expected.
Recently I have been attending and photographing a local venue for concerts. Our local Harley Davidson has a beautiful facility complete with an area for large stage concerts and another more intimate area called The Pit for smaller concerts. The dealership along with Classic Rock radio station 94.5 The Arrow has brought in some great tribute bands. The first was a Journey Tribute band: Never Stop Believing
Then a Led Zeppelin Tribute: Led Hed
And tonight’s Tribute: Alter Eagle an Eagles Tribute band
The crowds have been increasing with each band and it’s incredible to see all the beautiful motorcycles roaring in.
With all the controversy going on within social media lately it’s wonderful to be able to remove myself from it, even if for a short while and get out and shoot for myself. I did this yesterday at the park; the flowers were incredible.
This week I was asked to assist on a model shoot, no camera in hand, but I learned so much about off camera lighting using Speedlites and modifiers. It was fun to see someone work in high fashion and to be an integral part of it. I want to go out now and play using my two Canon Speedlites off camera. It was a wonderful learning experience and the photographer I worked with was incredible. I am really blessed in this area; I have gotten to know some incredible photographers, who know how to use their camera to create the look they are wanting. Sometimes I feel like a sponge soaking in knowledge that is making me better and more creative.
I am pleased with where I am in life, there is nothing I can’t accomplish and I will continue to grow and move forward. I am working more on marketing myself and getting my name “out there”. I have had a few set-backs, but nothing that I could not handle. I have realized that what I have to offer is of value and not everyone will see it and I’m perfectly Okay with that because I understand my style and price may not be for everyone; I’m not the most expensive photographer out there, but I’m not the cheapest either, and I’m fine with someone telling me I am too expensive, because I know I am not the photographer for them and sometimes you get what you pay for (or don’t pay for). However, the hurdle I have to overcome is when a potential client spreads the rumor that I am too expensive; how would they know what my value is to someone else? I am confident in my skills and those of my second shooter. These are simply character builders and it allows me to provide services to the type of clients I am looking for; those who value the meaning of their photographs whether it’s portraits, commercial or even weddings. I will never compromise or devalue myself just to score the job, it’s not fair to myself or to my potential clients.
Life is definitely working in my favor and I am meeting great people every single day. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life. I get to do what I love and share it with others.
On another sad note, the music world lost an incredible bassist. Chris Squires from YES passed away yesterday from cancer. My thoughts go out to this band and the members. I was fortunate enough to photograph Chris and YES last year in St. Petersburg, FL. RIP Chris Squires you will surely be missed.
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.