A photographer, and friend of mine, kindly invited me along to a live music awards event in Salisbury. It was something entirely new for me and one that clearly showed me I had a lot to learn about shooting hand held in low light. Up until now most of my night photography had been done in urban locations capturing cityscapes and static subjects.
It soon became apparent that my limited knowledge of the techniques needed to capture fast movements in ever changing low light with the bass thumping through my body was going to result in a lot of wasted time and images if I did not think fast about how to handle the environment I found myself in.
I know now that I need to invest in some better equipment if I am to take up a challenge like this again but on the night I quickly swapped out the auto 18-200mm I always seem to have fitted on my camera and changed it over for a vintage Nikkor F 50mm 1.8f manual focus only lens. The Nikon D7000 gets a bit noisy when the ISO is cranked up so I capped it at an auto ISO3200 leaving me free to manually focus and set the aperture manually.
The results were fine for social media and the guys who took part shared them happily, after all it was their bands and the images were free to anyone who took part.
My advice to anyone thinking of giving this a go, get a fast lens, a camera capable of handling noise, buy some ear plugs and get out to as many local live music events as you can to practice. If you tell the organiser what you are trying to do and are happy to make a selection of your images available to the band and the organiser for free you’ll probably be rewarded with an amazing photography experience and once you’ve nailed the techniques involved you might even get a few beers out of it.
In the meantime I need to take on board my own advice.
Thanks to Spencer of Spencer Mulholland Photography, based in Salisbury, Wiltshire for inviting me along.