I got a message over the weekend from Sam Pace, a band leader that I had previously photographed as part of my Austin Live Music portfolio. He said they were shooting a music video and asked if I would come over and photograph them while they recorded it. I got my gear in order and headed down to the recording studio. It was one of my most challenging and rewarding photography learning experiences. The challenge? A very dark recording studio with fast-moving subjects. Another challenge was the fact that I was secondary to the video recording so my gear had to be completely silent (to limit distractions) and I could not emit any light, including my autofocus beam. In addition, they had a spot light that was randomly illuminating the artists. As a result, I could not count on a steady light source.
I was able to overcome most of the challenges. I figured out how to disable the autofocus beam and how to set my camera to silent mode. I set my ISO to 6400, my aperture to f/4 and my shutter speed to 1/250. That gave me the most latitude. I set my camera on continuous focus and used my back focus button to lock the focus on the subject. The preliminary results were acceptable so I went on to shoot about 1,000 frames.
The photo below is of Patrick, the bass player. I had a very hard time predicting when he was going to jump so I memorized his actions preceding his jumps so I could time the shots. I was lucky and caught quite a few of him in mid-air. This was one of my favorites. The black and white, gritty, contrasty look is what they asked for. So, it helps that I was shooting at 6400 ISO. I don’t have to worry too much about getting rid of the noise caused by high ISO.
This image was taken with my Sony Alpha A7R II using my Sony FE 24-70mm f/4 Lens set on 24 mm. The camera was set on Shutter priority mode with the aperture set at f/4, shutter speed at 1/250 and the ISO set at 6400. This was a single image processed in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex Pro.
You can access the portfolio for my Austin Live Music collection by clicking here. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions or suggestions.
PS: Please don’t respond to this message as it will not reach me. Either post a comment or forward your response to my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org)