I shot these with the following lenses:
- 35mm 1.4
- 50mm 1.2
- 85mm 1.4
- 8-15 Fisheye
All shots were without flash.
I find my favorite lenses for small venue concert photography to be primes of 1.8 or faster. I usually bring a 35, 50, and an 85, if it’s a larger venue then a 135 as well. I like to shoot with no flash, especially if the lighting at the venue is interesting. Keeping the shutter speed around 1/30 to 1/200 leaves room for some nice motion blur while keeping what’s important sharp. If I’m having trouble focusing in the dark, I’ll use the af assist grid on my external flash while having the actual flash itself disabled. The only issue with using the af assist grid, is that you can’t shoot with continuous auto focus, so this will only work for artists that aren’t moving around a lot. The shots below are all without any flash.
These first three shots are from Frankie McQueen shows in Calgary.
Shot with a 35mm at F2 with a shutter speed of 1/125s
Shot with an 85mm at F1.6 with a shutter speed of 1/160s
Shot with a 35mm at F1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/30s
These next two shots are from an Acid Jac show in Calgary
Shot with an 85mm at F1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/125s
Shot with a 35mm at F1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/40s
Shambhala is a music festival with a population of 10,000 nestled in a valley in southern BC, near the town of Salmo. It’s one my favourite places to keep coming back to and this year I had the honour of shooting on their media staff. There are far too many photos to post all of them on here so I have also included a link to the full FB album.
There was often a fog that blanketed the valley in the early morning hours. This was one my favourite times to shoot.
I had arrived a few days before the festival had officially opened its gates and the normally car-packed fields were eerily quiet.
As the morning sun crept over the distant mountains, everybody is getting their vehicles ready to move from the parking lot line and into the festival.
It’s never a far walk to get away from the craziness of the festival and see some of the amazing beauty of the valley itself.
While Shambhala is primarily a music festival, what makes it so special is the incredible amount of hardwork by some amazingly talented people that goes into the art installations and stages.
If you need a break from the music, there is no shortage of things to do during the day. From morning yoga sessions held near the river to…
…hanging acrobatic classes to…
…writing a wish and placing it in the ‘Wish Tree’
While the nights can sometimes get close to freezing, the days are usually 30 degrees plus. There are always ways to keep cool even if you’re not down by the glacial fed river.
Friday marks the day that the opening ceremonies happen at the ‘Labyrinth’ stage.
Shambhala wouldn’t be Shambhala without the incredibly warm and diverse people that call it home for that one weekend a year.
Not to mention the crazy costumes you see as you make your way through the festival.
What has always made the festival so special to me, are the memories made with new and old friends.
This year even included a wedding; this is the bride and her father.
The father of the bride as he looks up the staircase that led to the alter.
The bride and groom rode off in a vintage red ford fire truck.
While the festival may seem at its peak during the day, it’s at night where it really comes alive. There are 5 different stages to choose from and everything in between to experience.
I’ll start by saying that there are no Photoshop tricks in this image, the only adjustments done are for the black and white conversion and the regular exposure/contrast stuff. I have a picture and a small write up on how I did this just below the photo.
The setup consists of a ziplock bag filled with water that has a small hole poked in on corner; this allows for a somewhat consistent stream of drops. I suspend this over a glass that is nearly 100% full and then place the pattern or image I want behind this. You want to make sure your flash is on the lowest power output possible, as this will make the shortest flash burst duration. This helps in freezing the droplet with as little blur as possible. I used some cardboard wrapped in foil to reflect as much light back as possible. The rest is all trial and error. I believe it took almost 100 shots until I got the one I wanted.