photography passions

Busy Weeks

It has been an incredibly busy couple of weeks with loads of shows to shoot.  Each one was different and great in it's own way so let's recap a few.

Hed PE was the first up and I just have to say wow. Not only was I amazingly lucky to be given full access to shoot, which allowed for some very unique shots, but they are always a blast live. A strange mix of rock and gangsta rap and reggae all rolled into one bundle.  It was a great night and there were some amazing bands that opened for them.

From there I went to two tribute bands, tribute bands you say? Yes, Mechanical Manson and Zombiewood. I had seen a few different tribute bands lately and I wasn't impressed they weren't trying to become the band in any way. It was completely different for these two. Zombiewood looked the part and sounded great they even had the robot etc. Mechanical Manson transported me right back to Marilyn Manson in the Antichrist superstar days. I wished I was able to shoot more than the three songs for both these bands. All I can say is WOW. These guys really have it down.

Last night was The Raskins opening for Ted Nugent, sure I got to photograph Ted too, but The Raskins really impressed me.  We did an interview prior to the show and the brothers were so nice and the interview went well.  I look forward to reading it when it comes out. Their live performance was energy filled and their New York sound was on full display. A mix of originals and classic punk covers and I was hooked.

There have been a few other concerts that I have worked in between and I also managed to jam in some travel and nature photography as well.  Stay tuned for a post about that but right now, enjoy some of the photos from these shows.  Remember more photos are on my social media pages and my Snapchat is the behind the scenes.

Be Fearless

Hellyeah and Carmine Appice Signings

Local record stores are amazing in more ways than one. Not only are you supporting a local business, but you're supporting the local music scene. While our Zia records is a bit of a small business chain they are everything a local record store needs to be. They support the music scene in a variety of ways including in-store appearances and signings. Last weekend they had two; Carmine Appice was signing his new book Stick It and two days later Hellyeah did a signing before their show.

I was lucky to be able to go to both.

Carmine is a legendary drummer with a long and storied history having played with over 20 groups and influencing many of the newer breed of drummers including Dave Lombardo, Richard Christy and Tommy Lee to name only a few. He was in town for a King Kobra the following night. He was a very genuine person that was a pleasure to talk to.  While I cannot claim to be a huge lover of his bands, I know his work within the music industry and I respect him. This signing only increased that respect.  That was Friday night.

Sunday brought Hellyeah into the store. The turn out was huge.  Sure Vinnie Paul and Chris Brady live in town, but this was a larger than expected turn out for me. Prior to the signing beginning fans were told the band would only be signing their new album.  This didn't end up being the case. They signed posters, guitars, drums and all sorts of items which pleased the crowd.

Hellyeah is described as a supergroup with members including the above mentioned Paul (Pantera and others) Chad Gray (Mudvayne) Tom Maxwell (Nothingface) and Chris Brady and Kyle Sanders. But still they took time to interact with the fans and even made one small girls day. She was so excited about the whole experience. This so often is not the case with these groups. I have been to too many of these events where these big bands just rush through and sign. This was not the case with either event and the fans weren't disappointed.

So where's the photo of me with these people? I don't have one. I don't take them. This is strange to many people but that is not what it is about for me. For me being able to shoot and talk to these people is what I want. I have those memories I don't need an autograph.

So get out there and support your local scene on all levels, not just your favorite venue, support all the music venues, but also do not forget your local music stores because they bring you these events that you wouldn't get otherwise.

Be Fearless

Prong Play Las Vegas

Sometimes you just need to listen to some loud angry music. After navigating parking and Fremont street Saturday night that was me and Prong was just what I needed. Prong came to the Las Vegas Country Saloon and true to form at this venue there were a variety of local bands opening. On this night it was local bands Meade Ave, Thrill Killers, Protest and Nebula X joining the bill.  I only caught the last two but I am sure I will see the others in the near future. While I love this format giving local bands a chance to open for national acts four acts makes for a long night.

Prong is a three-piece metal/thrash metal band that originated in New York City in 1986 currently they are in their third rebirth. Everyone is familiar with their song Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck so I wasn’t sure if the crowd was going to be a bunch of people just waiting for that song. It wasn’t.

Tommy Victor, Jason Christopher and Art Cruz hit the stage with a burst of energy shortly after 11:30 and did not slow down throughout the night. They have just released their 12th album X (No Absolutes) and featured a few songs from this album including Ultimate Authority and Sense of Ease. These tracks and this album exhibit traditional Prong thrash riffs and melodic grooves. With twelve albums to draw from the set was eclectic and high powered with songs like Revenge….Best Served Cold, Beg to Differ, The Power of the Damager, Rude Awakening and of course Snap Your Fingers Snap Your Neck.

The heavy riffs pounded through the venue and it was a straight forward high energy set without a lot of time spent on conversation. I hadn’t seen Prong in quite a while and they did not disappoint, they were consistent as ever and delivered a set that left the crowd wanting more but at the same time feeling like all their favorites were represented. The crowd knew all the songs including the new material. 

Prong rocked this venue and the people who were there to see it got to see a pounding set of loud aggressive music that delivered classic Prong along with the new tracks. If you have a chance to see this tour do not pass it up, just bring earplugs.

The Hardest Thing for Me

I just did the hardest thing. For me it is the hardest thing I ever do. What is this? A difficult shoot? A marathon? No. Removing images from my website. Why is this so hard? Well each image means something to me in one way or another and some of them are friends. So why do it? There was getting to be too many images on my site and I need to focus on the best work and to be honest some of these shots, while fine were just not comparing to my more recent work.  This is to be expected. People progress with their skills, but my website is not the place to show that progression. You can see more of that progress on a social media feed.

So I did it. I removed images and added some more, so it is probably the same amount of images, but the ones now more closely represent my current abilities.  It is still difficult. Especially if they are images of friends, but friends understand this is my business, just like it is for many of them.

I am never fully satisfied with my website and I will continue to tweak it. In fact I am thinking of possibly freshening up the layout. Keep growing and evolving right? Evolve or die. Stay tuned for more to come.

Be Fearless

Social Media Versus Website

People ask me a lot why I put so many more images on my social media, especially Facebook and Instagram then I do on my website.  Well to me that is simple.  Only 1-3 shots from any given show might make my website but social media I am free to share a lot more.  

Recently I shot Queensryche.  I sent 30 final photos to my magazine for them to select, this is way more then I usually pull but I was so drawn in by the colors of the show I pulled a lot of extras.  Of these I think two went to my website.  The remaining are still good, they just weren't the ones I selected as the best but I knew people would want to see them so the go up on social media for people to experience.  Hence my social accounts are always going to have a lot more images then the website.  They also get updated more often.

There are links to all my social accounts from this page so please go check them out and give them a follow.

Be Fearless!

Still Life or Die Trying

Today I set out to do some still life photography.  This is not an area that I normally do so it is a bit of a challenge.  Why do I do this?  One I like to keep challenging myself and two I joined a local camera group and this is a goal through this group.  Let me explain.

In this local group there are monthly contests.  I began entering because the feedback is good and it helps you improve not just by receiving feedback on your images but by listening to the feedback on the others.  There are fourteen categories to enter each month and you win ribbons based on your score and ranking, the judging process is rather complicated in the beginning but once you get the hang of it there is no confusion.  Again I enter for the feedback, but there is a large prize if you win 10 blue ribbons in individual categories.  Now I currently have 8 categories covered, but I normally enter in the same 7 categories.  So now that I am so close I want the big prize.  I need two blue ribbons in any two of the following categories, Creative, Still Life, Nature and Wildlife, Commercial or Portraiture.  

So I do not do portraiture as this category is set up so that is out.  I tried a bunch of infrared because I think that is what I will do for creative and now I am just working on Still Live, Nature or Commercial.  Today was Still Life.  I had a couple of different setups and for my first attempt they are not bad, but they are certainly not ready for the contest.  I will work on these more and see what happens.

I will continue to challenge myself and keep trying different things.  I will eventually get those remaining two blue ribbons.  I will push myself out of my comfort zone and it will help me be a better photographer.  My two best still life images are here for you to see and let me know what you think.

Be Fearless

Why Can't I Get Access

Lately I have been around a lot of aspiring and current concert photographers.  I am hearing one complaint over and over, "Why Can't I get Access." Access isn't easy to get you do need to be in with someone and even then you aren't guaranteed access.  Concert photography is something we do simply for the love of it.  The pay is low, a lot of times it is last minute notice, you carry tons of heavy gear around and stand waiting to be ushered in and out of the photo pit and that doesn't even cover the various items that get thrown on you up there.  Is it worth it?  Absolutely if you have the passion for it.

Me I will shoot anything I can including bands I have never heard of or bands I am not a fan of. Sometimes this allows me to be introduced to a great band and others I don't have this experience, but I was able to shoot and that is what matters.

I shoot small venues and big and each have their own challenges.  The small places without the photo pits you need to fight through the crowd to try to get a shot.  The big places the stages can be very high up which you have to watch your angles so you don't end up with all up nose shots.  I prefer having access to the photo pit for the space at least but aside from the height there are other issues.  Every pit I am in lately has one person with an iPhone.  That is frustrating, not that you can't get photos, but they really aren't going to be the same.  Another show a friend of the band with an all access pass wanted to stand in the pit.  They have the right, it would just be easier if they waited until the photographers three songs were up.

To me all the benefits outweigh any challenges.  I find it a privilege to be able to shoot these shows and therefore I will jump through any hoops that are put in front of me.  I won't complain about a venue or the access.  Until my next shoot.

Be Fearless

Types of Photography

When people find out you are a photographer they presume you can, or want to shoot everything. While as a photographer you have your passions there is nothing wrong with shooting other things as well to support your passions. You just need to pick things you enjoy. I for one don't photograph children or newborns. It is just not my thing and it is not something I enjoy. So choose carefully because people will approach you with requests.

Recently an acquaintance was brought to me because they needed a wedding photographer. They said they were looking for someone who wouldn't gouge them and charge $800 for four hours. Needless to say I saw this and immediately said I wasn't interested. People don't understand that it is not the four hours of the wedding it's also the travel and then the time to review and edit the photos. Whoever quoted them $800 they should have jumped at because that's an amazing deal.

People also don't understand print costs. They don't realize that one large print costs me around $25, my cost. This is just. Because they don't know or understand.

So when you are deciding what work to take you need to consider these things. Take jobs where you can do quality work to support your passions but remember it is a business. You cannot back down from your beliefs or pricing. You will get all sorts of comments, many negative and you will ha e friends that just don't understand but you need to hold true to yourself and not let this shake you.

Be Fearless