Vicksburg Blues !

October 17, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

On Sunday, October 12, we had the opportunity to enjoy the final night of competitions for "Bridging the Blues" in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  By luck and timing, we stumbled upon the final night of the competition to select a band to represent the area in Memphis, Tennessee.  We could not have planned a better evening amongst family and absolutely fantastic music !

The organization that planned this great event was Vicksburg Blues Society:  http://vicksburgblues.net

The images that I captured are under my Gallery titled "On The Stage", or, just click here:  http://www.coreysolo.photography/p305230036

What gear did I use?

Nikon D800 (without flash), Nikon 85mm f/1.8 lens, Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 lens, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8.  

(the vast majority of shots were with the 24-70)

How did I make these photographs?

For starters, I knew I wanted to capture the mood and character of the music and the musicians.   That meant I wanted to use only ambient light and no flash.  What else did I look for?

  • I wanted some movement, especially in hand gestures.  
  • I wanted the spot lights to spill out focused light paths over the stage
  • I wanted full control of my exposure values.
  • I wanted a very narrow depth of field
  • I wanted light to fall off very quickly to create stark contrast between the subject and anyone or anything in the background

Fortunately, there is a correlation point between all these wants.  The recipe I used most frequently was a fairly slow shutter speed of 1/60th to 1/80th.  Slow, at least in relation to the amount of motion and emotion on stage.  My ISO was 400 to ISO 640 and I sed and Aperture that mostly stayed around f/4, but sometimes went down as low as f/1.8 and as high as f/5.6 (when I was shooting two subjects).  

Since I knew my EV (exposure value) recipe, the next two parts of my method were simple:  shoot in black and white and continuously move and try new angles and perspectives for the shot.  

Why did I shoot in Black and White?   Simple, personally, I can see more contrast in the small, three inch screen on the camera.  I personally find that this provides me with a quick view of the successful exposure settings.   It frequently highlights too much movement, too.   I find this works quite well when balanced with a periodic histogram view.  Lastly - black and white really draws out the mood of the image, especially in music and artistry.  I find it gives me a better, faster view of the emotive response I can garner from the image captured.  Plus, the beauty of shooting in RAW is that full color is returned when you import into LightRoom or any other application!

As with any photography, the best zoom is your feet!   Move around.  The same camera, the same lens, the same settings from differing angles can produce entirely differently results.  The same for composition.  Don't just shoot "portrait" or "landscape".  Move, angle, try, have fun !   

 


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