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

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Being Present

This past week and into this weekend life got a bit busy.  I work a full time job on top of being an almost full-time photographer. My photography work week began on Wednesday with an Elton John concert, followed by The Moody Blues on Thursday, Adelitas Way and Saving Abel on Friday and finished up Saturday with running a photo booth and photographing Trace Adkins. I did take time to join some of my fellow photographers to visit a most interesting ‘castle’  and today I met with an April bride.  The week was full of music and people, and lots of photographs.  To say that I’m tired is an understatement and my mind is also in need of refreshing.

Even with all the activity going on, I took a moment last night to make some observations.  As I was waiting for Trace Adkins to take the stage I took a good look around me and this is what I observed;  a large majority of the attendees were not really paying attention to the concert, they were on their electronic devices, either posting their activities or taking photos and videos.  While this isn’t necessarily bad, it did make me wonder if they were truly missing life by not being engaged and present.  Personally I try to put my phone down when I am out with friends, I don’t constantly check what is happening on Facebook or document what I am eating.  I do however post quite often when I am working events, but after my observation last night I am going to try to be more present in my activity.  Yes, I’m a photographer and I document life events and live music, it’s what I do, and I try to post on social media on the behalf of who I’m shooting for, but after I am done with my camera, I need to put my phone away and simply enjoy the music.  We get so busy taking selfies, recording the next YouTube video or simply capturing the moment, when in fact the moment is gone never to be returned.  Be present in your moment, enjoy the music, your family, your friends and loved ones.  Put down your phone and dance.  Music is cathartic and it take me to back to my younger days; especially with the bands I photograph, I want to take in every moment.

I am honored to have photographed some of the top names in every genre of music and to photograph in some of the largest stadiums & arenas and also incredible local events and happenings.  I also get to stand next to some of the best photographers in the business whom I get to call friends.

Please enjoy the photos from the week.  I truly love being a photographer.

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Giving up?

You know, I write so often about what I have done and where I’m going and sometimes I have to take a step back and breathe, because there are days or weeks that I feel as if I have no time as I am going from show to show or portrait to portrait.    This past week was one of those weeks.  I really try to balance out my life with work, photography, friends and family then add to that learning opportunities.  For the ordinary person I’m sure my schedule seems to be overwhelming, but for me it’s my life.  As a creative I also need to take time to renew myself and spend time alone with the natural world.  I also need to spend time with people I care about. I prefer that one on one time as it gives me opportunity to open up (something that only happens with a choice few) and it allows me to get some much needed feedback.  These are things I need because living alone I don’t have anyone to come home to where I can bounce off my day/evening so I have to rely on myself, and I am my own worst critic. The other night after a huge concert I came home totally upset with the way I felt the shots turned out and I wasn’t sure I would be able to use any of the images as the lighting was a complete nightmare, I wanted to cry. As I was reminded this weekend I am a painter of light, so surely there was something I could use.  Turns out I had a few shots that many would call the “money shot”.

I love concerts; I love the challenge of the lights and the thought process that goes into it, but it’s stressful especially when you know someone is relying on you to do you best work.  I really felt it this week and when I looked at the images, I wondered if this is really what I should be doing.  However, that thought was fleeting as I brought up the images and I know there is nothing I want more (ok there is, but I’m being patient).  I love this and I know I am doing exactly what I should be doing as opportunities are opening up for a future I only dreamt about.  Spending time with a few friends this weekend and time out in nature has refreshed me for another busy couple of weeks. So I take a breath and keep going because my passion is being a photographer.

Luke Bryan-31 (Medium)Luke Bryan-29 (Medium)

An Attitude of Gratitude

I’ve taken an attitude of gratitude in my life personally and professionally that surpasses anything I have ever experienced.  I have a lot of folks to thank for where I am today and extremely grateful they are in my realm of success, first and foremost I have a faith in God who I believe guides my every direction.  I know I am heading on a path of complete success and it’s going to be a fun ride and I plan on taking as many of those who have gotten me to where I am with me on this adventure.

As I have stated in my past posts, I’ve been a photographer for most of my life, my first camera was a Kodak Instamatic then I graduated to a “Pocket Camera” and the best was the Yaschica my father gave me; I had graduated, so thank you daddy for that incredible gift and for the gift of understanding what it means to be a photographer.

My first camera and my father
My first camera and my father

I am also grateful for those photographers I encounter daily and get to work with I thank you for your inspiration and friendship, you guys are amazing and each of us bring something unique to our world.  I am so grateful for my friends who I have practiced on and allowed me to practice on their children and have enjoyed the photos I’ve taken, you guys totally rock and I look forward to future shoots!

GevaTommy-192014 01 05_Lidia Headshots_0170_edited-1 (Medium)

I am also grateful for my future clients who see my work and want to be included in my portfolio, without you I know I would not be as busy as I am! Thank you.

I am really thankful for the clients I have and the venues I’ve been granted access to, thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you.  I have been blessed to shoot some incredible acts and bands, without you guys that would never have been possible.

Johnny Winter
Johnny Winter at Sunsplash Cape Coral Blues Festival
Don Felder @ Germain
Don Felder @ Germain
Nonpoint @ Dixie Road House for 93X
Nonpoint @ Dixie Road House for 93X

All of us have gotten to where we are by a lot of hard work, massive amounts of criticism, hours of editing and the love of the craft and pure creativity.  Take a moment and think who was your inspiration, and if you can, thank them.

Three Generations

In the past I have written about my father who was a wonderful film photographer and how I am so blessed to have inherited some of his genetic composition as a photographer, but not sure if I have mentioned that I also have a son who is carrying on the torch as a photographer.  Three generations of incredible creativity and love of the natural world.

My father back in the early 1960’s won first place in a photo contest and the prize was $100 for that award; a lot of money for 1964.  I have still have the framed photo, even though at this point in time the colors have faded and it’s in need of some work.  I also have the newspaper write-up regarding my dad and his fantastic prize.

My father Azle Marteney and my first real camera
My father Azle Marteney and my first real camera

I myself am extremely fortunate that I have been able to photograh some of the rock stars of my youth.  I love concert photography, and the challenge of capturing the perfect image.  I know it’s simply a matter of time before I too have something published.  I have a huge adventure coming up in early 2015 and I’m really excited for the opportunities I am getting.

Don Felder
Don Felder giving me the eyes

Now to brag on my youngest son.  He is 27 and his first camera was a Nickelodian 1.2 digital camera.  He would sit for hours and create flip book images, or he would take our family video camera and create wonderful stories with his friends and his older brother Jimmy.  He has also spent some time in front of a video camera from our family vacations (him falling in the Yellowstone River) to being on the PBS children’s program ZOOM!  His segment can still be found on the PBS Teacher’s site on the Everglades.  He also has a couple of viral videos on YouTube.  Over the years like his grandfather and mother he has upgraded his camera as his skills have increased and the only difference between the three of us is my dad was a Nikon shooter and Tom & I are Canon users.  Tommy just announced that he will be showing his work at the local museum where he is currently living in SW Florida in Everglades City area.  He also stated he will have an entire month dedicated to his work in 2015.  Tommy is incredibly creative and adventurous with his photography.  He is the one who took the portrait photos of me, I was honored to have been photographed by someone I love.

As a mom I’m extremely proud of my boy, but even more so, I know my dad, Tommy’s grandfather would be beaming that his grandson was getting the recognition he so deserves.  Please take a moment and click on the tab above that says PhloridaPhoto.us and click on the image to visit Tommy’s website, he also has a Facebook page with the same name, please take a moment to check it out and leave him a “LIKE” and tell him his mom told you to do it!

Tommy is also a legend in SW Florida for his amazing skills on the water as an adventure guide, you must see the video on his website.

Thank you for allowing this proud mom to brag a bit on her son.  Maybe someday soon I can get him to be a guest blogger for me.

My son Tommy Owen
My son Tommy Owen

 

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.

Concert Season

2013 02 18_Kid Rock_2397_edited-1

We are about to embark on the beginning of concert season here in South West Florida.  This is my favorite time of year as my partner and I are constantly checking all the venues within a 250 mile radius of our home.  We have been privileged to photograph such greats as Willie Nelson, STYX, REO, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryant, Heart and Jason Bonham, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, Dierks Bently, Darius Rucker and so many more.  Our upcoming season promises to be just as exciting as we live the life of concert photographers.  Please keep following this journey.