Artistry Vs. Controversy

I recently photographed Ted Nugent.  I know, I know his name rings controversy with many who don’t like his politics or his passion for hunting and guns and those who think he leans too far to the right for their taste.   This is not for me to decide, we each have our own beliefs which might be just as biased in the opposite direction, he’s entitled to his beliefs just like every other American.  Regardless, he’s a self-taught artist who has has a successful career in music and continues to literally rock the stage and has done so for many years.  I’m not interested in anyone’s opinion on his politics or beliefs, my job is to capture the artist and his artistry, it’s what I do.

Not many artists begin their set with the Star Spangled Banner….Ted did and the room stood in respect, it was a great Patriotic entrance.

You can see in his face, he truly loves his craft.  Please enjoy the photos

 

 

Rod Stewart & Cyndi Lauper

A few years ago I had the opportunity to see Sir Rod Stewart in concert, I purchased a really good ticket and was excited to drive to the east coast to see him.  A couple of days prior to the concert I had gotten the flu and was terribly ill, however I was hoping to feel better and attend the concert in Sunrise.  Day of the concert get’s here and I am still not feeling 100%, but I kept thinking by the time I need to leave I will feel better.  NOPE, the time came to leave and I tried to go, but it wasn’t going to happen.  I was really bummed and I kept the ticket to remind myself how close I got.

Rod Stewart was returning in concert again, and I decided this time to put in for credentials to photograph him along with Cyndi Lauper.  As the time approached I had not received word so I had given up and made other plans for the day.  An email came at 10:59pm on Friday night, but I didn’t open my email until mid morning Saturday, I was ecstatic  to learn that I had been approved to photograph he and Cyndi Lauper at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida and quickly printed out the parking pass and the release form, got my gear together and headed out the door.

Cyndi Lauper came out strong and was incredible.  Rod came on stage with the flair he’s known for, he was a bucket list artist for me and what an honor to photograph him, he was fabulous!  The extra treat was a last minute change in number of songs I could shoot, as they added a song with he and Cyndi singing together!

What a great experience in a place I had never photographed before.   And even though I have been doing this sort of photography for quite some time, I did learn a few things; bring your ID, they need it for you to get through security, I didn’t have it on me, but they let me in anyway,  and bring a small step stool,  I actually have one, but it’s heavy and I have already looked at some online which I will be purchasing soon, it will come in handy.

I think this concert was what I needed to relieve me of the funk and writer’s block I have been having.  Please enjoy….until next time from the pit.

 

Finding My Way Back

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted something substantial.  My last post was 23 days ago and that was to explain how unmotivated I’ve been.

It’s been a rough and stressful couple of months, I had to pack and prepare for a complete move to a new place by mid May.  Not only was I stressed, but my poor cat Harpo had totally stressed out and hid for about three full days before I saw him again. He’s now at his usual place,sleeping at me feet as I write this.                                                   I finally finished unpacking last week and simply wore myself out.  I rarely left the house during the Memorial Day weekend, but this week I feel like I’m back to normal with a busy shooting schedule and my normal work week.

I’m going to try and catch you up on what’s been happening in my world.

April was an incredibly busy month with packing, portraits, events and a two-day festival, Fort Rock.

It began with me being hired to shoot Stars on Ice at Germain Arena, and I was thrilled to meet a few of the Olympic Champions.  My day began at 10am and ended around 11pm; but what an opportunity! It started with me up on a twelve foot ladder on the ice to take the promotional tour shots……this is one of my images from that adventure. I have a fear of heights and being on a ladder just totally freaks me out, let alone being on one where there is slippery ice involved.  However, I did it and I really didn’t even think much about it as I was working my camera. Amazing what you can do when you are concentrating on your craft.

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I also photographed the dress rehearsal, warmups, the merchandise area and the entire show later in the evening.  What a wonderful day spent with incredible people.

Next, I had two mini-sessions with two beautiful ladies.  These ladies are such a pleasure to work with and they both enjoyed their “modeling” session.

Lastly at the end of April I was once again at the annual Fort Rock Festival with radio station 93xfm where I was fortunate enough to once again photograph their meet & greets and work with one of my favorite photographers Ron Dukeshire. Ron is my right and left hand partner at Fort Rock he handles the bands as I am busy in the tent with the station crew and the fans for the meet & greets.  When time allowed, I also photographed a few of the bands including  Sunday night’s headliner Soundgarden with the late Chris Cornell; RIPSound Garden-16

May is Prom season and this year was no different for me.  I worked with a cute couple I had met at Fort Rock and truly enjoyed the time I spent with them.

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I also photographed Disney on Ice for Germain, but due to copyright restrictions I am unable to post any of them.

The last day of the month found me at Germain Arena for Brit Floyd, an incredible Pink Floyd Tribute band with an amazing light/laser show.Brit Floyd-21

All of this was accomplished while, packing my home up, moving to a new place, unpacking and editing the work to meet my dead-lines, however I have found my way back.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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!

Season Is Upon Us

Where I live in Florida we don’t have four distinct seasons, we have two; Snowbird season beginning in mid October and the season when they go back north which is normally after Easter.  During this time in South West Florida the events and concerts pick up and my camera sees a lot of action.  The weather is a lot more pleasant for outdoor events and weddings.  My season started on October 15 with a wedding held at one of the most historic country clubs in Fort Myers; The Edison.  I am fortunate enough to be able to work with my youngest son.  He is an incredible photographer and one I trust explicitly. The long view of the couple facing The Edison was taken by him.  Please visit his website at phloridaphoto

Between the special events I also schedule portrait sessions and was able to photograph an interesting fellow whom I believe is one of the many spirits which lurk in Historic Downtown Fort Myers, complete with orb and gargoyle (look closely).

I was also at Fright Nite where The Sick Puppies and Devour the Day headlined, there were also a few interesting characters out that night as well. You can see more of the photos from this frightful night by clicking on the photo below.

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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

Opportunities Abound

As each day passes I wake up to new opportunities as a photographer.  Who would have thought a few months ago that I would be this busy and have more work than I know what to do with.  I truly love being a photographer and I am enjoying every opportunity that is crossing my path. 
This past weekend I was honored to be the official photographer for a very large fund raising event in the Port Charlotte area.  I was able to participate in helping to raise money for the Homeless Coalition of Charlotte County.  I not only offered a couple of my photographs for a silent auction, but I helped up the ante with the five bands who performed and raised money by offering my services as a photographer to the band who raised the largest amount of money for the event.  Copperhead was the hands down winner by raising $1800 and I am in the process of securing their contract for my photographic services.
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It really felt good to be involved knowing the money raised would buy an entire years’ worth of food for the Homeless Shelter.  I love giving back to those who need a hand up.  God has been good to me and my goal is to give back as much as I can and share my blessings with others.
I will be photographing some really large concerts for 94.5 “The Arrow” this month so stay tuned!