Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Years to All

May the new year be bright and prosperous for all my friends, both past, present and future. To all my readers, thank you for visiting and have a grand time tonight!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

On The Plus Side

The drummer was well lit (well, lit compared to the rest of the band) so I was able to get some good pics of the drummer for a change, instead of writing them off as covered in darkness.
Shot with my 50mm, and a new noise reduction technique applied (dark field subtraction) which brings the blacks back to being black, rather than black engulfed with blue, so the impression of sharpness is regained.
Anyone who has to work with high ISO, I urge you to look into dark field subtraction, it's simple to do, and a brilliant concept.

It's All About The Lighting

Lights, or lack thereof. I know it's cool to dim the lights for a metal show, but it makes good concert pics darn near impossible. Lots of conversion to Black and White for these shots, it minimizes noise. I did convince the venue workers to turn on some of the lights for a while, but then they shut them off again, probably expensive to run them, but for a shot period of time, I could see things.

Been Slacking Off

Holidays, work, life, vacation planning, concert going, all these things have conspired to keep me from posting here. 
Well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Sometime in Feb of 2013, I'm heading to Belize for a much needed vacation. If I never post here again, it means I didn't come back. Unlikely that'll happen tho, so be on the lookout then for lots of landscape pics. In the meantime, I've been to two local concerts, one metal, one pop-punk (something different for a change)
Aside from the difference in music, the crowds were as different as night and day as well. With the metal show, it's hell's headbangers, and the venue was sparsely populated. With the pop-punk show it was all young girls and packed to standing. I couldn't get within 10 feet of the stage (something I did not expect) so my shots suffered somewhat. I've picked up a longer reach lens for just such occasions, so I'll go better armed next time.
In the meantime, here's a shot from the local metal show, the singer and guitarist for the awesome power metal band, Yesterdays Saints.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Album Names

Didn't Styx have an album named "The Grand Illumination"? Never was into Styx so feel free to correct me if I am wrong.
Taken with my 17-35mm on my Nikon d2x.

The Grand Illumination

Every year around this time, several buildings in the downtown area set up lighted animals and adorn the local trees with lights as well.
Being an Indian Summer style now (we have 75 degrees) it wasn't such a big deal to walk there after work and see if I could take some better pictures than the ones I took of the area last year.
Sunset was at 4.51pm so you will see different colours here, as the sun went down and the artificial lights came into play.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

One For The Fans

Somewhat pictured to the left, was the opening band Speedwolf. Super nice guys, and great Motorhead-influenced music. 
In my limited experience the opening act garners virtually no crowd interaction and thus I get the front row area all to myself for work. Not so this time, as you can see some frenetic moshing going on. Heck even some girls got into the stage diving, which was great to see.


Here is the guitarist for Napalm Death. Pages could be written about the band, and have been elsewhere, but what I loved most about them, is captured here. They weren't too big to involve the crowd in the show. Here they are letting a fan sing a song, which builds up tremendous goodwill, and I respect them immensely for that.

Back to Monochrome

All red lighting makes for surreal pics, and tends to wash out the details, so, back to conversion. This shot for example, looks so much better in Monochrome (Sepia) than it ever did in colour.
Municipal Waste on stage here.

Local Heros

The reason for the massive crowd was the party metal band "Municipal Waste", seen here. It seems that everyone was waiting for them to hit the stage, and they put on quite the killer show, and encouraged lots of stage diving and moshing, again, making it hard to get the proper shots, so most of them were show from a 3/4 angle. I really need a 200mm lens, anyone wanna chip in on one? ;-)

Something I Don't Normally Do

This was the "mascot" for the death metal band "Exhumed" and this shot is heavily cropped. Shot was way back in the back, he was madly waving around a real gas-powered chainsaw, as you can sort of see here. Later on he came out with a decapitated head and spewed blood into the crowd. I presume it was someone who was caught trying to sneak into the concert, but I didn't get a chance to ask.

A Day Late and Many Dollars Short

Ok, so I've been busy with Holidays and all that happy nonsense, and haven't posted in a bit. Well here you go, still doing the concert work, and I think this is going to be my favourite type of photography for the foreseeable future. The energy given off by a good metal band is hard to match.
Lighting was still dicey at the venue, so lots of conversion to Black and White. And the crowd was highly energetic and packed in like sardines, so that was a new situation I had to contend with. That's ok, you learn something new every day!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Taste of Chaos

Went last night to another metal fest for photography. Napalm Death had kindly given their permission to photograph them. Along with them was a local band, Municipal Waste, Exhumed and Speedwolf. 
The venue was packed to bursting and some serious moshing was going on, which made it difficult to photograph things cleanly, but I enjoyed the challenge. 
This is a taste of things to come, the crowd in full on chaos mode.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Wishes

No picture here today, I have a concert upcoming after Thanksgiving and I'll post some pics then.
Instead, I want to use this time to give thanks to the following people that I know, and have known.

To my Father: Although the distances separate us, I am always thankful for your advice and guidance. It has served me well over the years.

To Lloyd: Best friend. Kind, patient, understanding, loyal. Thanks for everything you and Elizabeth have done for me.

To my Gaming Group: You are a great stress reliever, and I enjoy every minute of it. Thanks for the great  memories.

To Linda: I forgive you, and know there was only love for you. I hope you can find happiness and peace. Thank you for the time we shared.

To Mike: We see eye to eye on so many things, thanks for being my friend and keeping me sane during my dark times.

To my Readers: You are the reason I post here, thank you for coming by with your comments and insights. All my best.

To Angela: Thank you for being my friend and re-connecting with me. I love the way you think.

To Katia: Thank you for giving me a great son. And thank you for all the interesting times we shared.

To Lia: The English language lacks enough words to tell you what you mean to me. Suffice to say, I am eternally thankful you are back in my life, it's as if a great weight has been lifted off of me now that we are in contact again.

To Phyllis: Thank you for putting up with me, for keeping me sane, and secure, and giving me peace in my soul.

To all those not mentioned: You know who you are, don't change. Thanks go out to you for everything you do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Sometimes band members would go shirtless while on stage, doubtless it's hot as heck under so many lights, and that red quickly blows out details. So Black and White conversion to the rescue! Details, such as the intricate ink on his chest, are retained, while still giving the sense of emotion that the red lights brought.

Using PhotoShop Here

When shooting a concert, some details are lost while caught up in the moment. The lead singer for Doom Syndicate (awesome name by the way) pictured here, for example, has a rather large hole in his pants in a rather revealing place. I didn't notice it until working with the pics in post. Couldn't show that without some adjustment, so parts of his pants are blurred out. Hopefully he won't mind.

Up Close and In Person

As the night went on, the place got more and more crowded, but everyone there was very kind to let me sneak in, get an up close shot, and then move on. 
There were a few mosh pits going on, but those involved kindly didn't include me which I was shooting the band members.

In Tightly

The main band, Six Feet Under, already had their gear set up, and the bands had to work around that, so some bands, like Dark Shores here, were squished in pretty tightly on an already small stage. Did give me the ability to get more full band shots than I normally would have been able to get, so that's a plus, for me anyway.

Expanding the View

In addition to the open floor plan, the lighting was good enough to bring my wide angle into the show. I lost a stop and a third of light, going from 1.8 to 2.8, but there was still enough for some full band shots. The lights over the musician on the left side of the picture were burnt out however, so some of the bands I shot didn't include all the band members. Hopefully the venue has fixed that for tonight.

Second Story

Unlike the last club, this one has an open floor plan, allowing me to shoot from a higher vantage point. Most of the shots from up there are not worth posting, but some, like this one of the singer and drummer for Cattle Decapitation, so something a little different.
The few non-red lights were aimed at the drummer, some weak blues and greens, so of all the people, the drummer has the most even skin tones (well, even for this show anyway)

Mars, Bringer of War

So another great concert swept through my town, and headlining the show was the famous Floridian Death Metal band, Six Feet Under.
New venue, that had a large number of concert light rigs, which unfortunately were all gel'd in reds and orange. Which meant the show, for all 8 bands, looked like Hell's concert hall.
It was impossible to get proper flesh tones, no matter what I did, pre- or post production, so I'm only going to attach a few here for your viewing pleasure, as the red quickly overwhelms me.
Thanks to all the bands who played that night and gave it their all. Cheers!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

With Halloween Just Around The Corner

And in keeping with the zombies I've posted below, here is a short story I wrote.
Feel free to spread it around if you like it, just give me credit (link back to here) and feel free to comment here on the story.
Like it, hate it, whatever, tell me what you thought.
And enjoy your Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Forsaken Fashion Doll

"Forsaken fashion dolls
will follow you forever
white eyes of sheer despite will dog you 'till you die
Forsaken fashion dolls
You're meant to be together
just cry your silent scream tonite" - Lordi

Some people it's obvious they dressed up for the zombie walk, others, like this girl, I'm pretty certain it's not a costume, but the way she looks normally, well possibly sans the blood makeup.

Wish I had gotten better shots of her, but she was on the wrong side of the crowd to catch anything but a fleeting glimpse.


"Deep under sea
Their watery grave's giving in
They seek relief
A lighthouse to haunt from within

Doesn't matter how long it'll take
'Cause they have found a new home
They will shatter, wreak havoc and break
The gray lady must go" - Yup, Lordi

One of the things I love about photographing the annual zombie walk, is the imaginative outfits people come up with. This, for example, is a Mermaid. One of the few shots where I wished I'd brought a wider angle lens so I could have gotten in her legs as well (done in Little Mermaid style) but it would have been difficult to isolate her from the surrounding masses.


"Flashlights from authorities
Lanterns brighten up the scene
Familiar faces of the long dead

The mad butcher goes bump in the night
And loneliness
It makes nights endless" - Lordi

Lordi are an endless source of great lyrics that fit in well with the zombie walk pictures. Super catchy Heavy Metal with a strong emphasis on all things supernatural.

Shopping Spree

"Girls go chopping in the town
Female madness all around
Beauties on a killing spree
Dames of death walk on high heels

Evil women, psycho chicks
Blood like lipstick on their lips
Mad, fericious, feminine
Such curvaceous mean machines" - Lordi

As usual for portrait photography, I was using my 50mm f/1.8, shot wide open (i.e. 1.8) to isolate the subject from the hordes of onlookers, other photographers, and of course the zombie mob.
As usual, none of these are photoshopped, or even colour corrected, as the even light from the cloudy day did a great job evening out the colours for me.


"Doctor, doctor, give me the news
I've got a bad case of lovin' you
No pill's gonna cure my ill
I've got a bad case of lovin' you

A pretty face don't make no pretty heart
I learned that, buddy, from the start
You think I'm cute, a little bit shy
Momma, I ain't that kind of guy" - Robert Palmer

There were a lot of female zombies this time around, or perhaps, being a guy, I just noticed them. One of the challenges this time around, was getting the walkers not to smile, as that tends to break the illusion.


"My monsters keep me company
And I'll never be lonely
They will keep me safe
Protected from harm
Monsters keep me company
Until I will set them free" - Lordi

This year's zombie walk, was somewhat hampered by the threat of an impending hurricane, bearing down on the coast. The weather was delightfully warm (well, for October) and overcast. A few years ago, I would have been dreading the overcast skies for photography, but I have since learned that the overcast creates the perfect lighting situation, allowing all the details to shine through, such as the subtle shading around this zombie's eyes.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Look

"Heavenly bound
Cause heaven's got a number
When she's spinning me around
Kissing is a color
Her loving is a wild dog
She's got the look" - Roxette

The next series of pics I post will obviously be from the zombie walk. I'll post more concert band pics after I work through them. 


An outstanding likeness from the best movie ever made. Since Halloween is upcoming, a local outdoor mall area sponsored a zombie walk, and what should show up, midst all the standard (though imaginative) zombie fair, but a spitting image of The Crow.
Very well done. Brandon Lee, you are sorely missed.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Iron Angel

Jade, a beautiful singer from a local band called "Atlast"
Little waif of a girl, shy, and quiet off-stage, but when on stage she was a Siren. Wonderful voice, great range of emotions, exciting stage presence. I just wish the lighting was better.

All the same, had great fun photographing her band and more will be forthcoming.


Note: The following post has has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with photography in any way, shape, or form. The following post is a rant. You have been warned.


What the heck is up with Campbell's soup these days?!

When I was a kid and my mother was off in Denmark visiting with her folks, my fondest memories was when my Dad and I would have "soup and sandwiches" for dinner. Not only because it was "us" time, but, and let's be brutally honest here, my Dad couldn't cook anything else.
We always had Campbell's soup and I loved it. Now perhaps I've looking back with rose coloured glasses, but I can clearly recall time in my 20s having good Campbell's soup. In point of fact, I wouldn't have any other soup, and my fav was their Chunky Clam Chowder.

So just the other day, I went on a soup kick, and had some Campbell's soups. Chunky Clam Chowder, Homestyle Chicken Noodle, Barley Vegetable (or words to that effect, I don't recall the exact title) and a few others from my youth and childhood.

And you know what? To a one, they all sucked. Either they were starchy, weirdly bland (screaming for some kind of spices, even just some salt) or just grossbuckets.

So I ask you, dear readers, when did the quality of Campbell's soup go straight into the garbage can?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Caption Contest

So I have a new snake, a Solomons Island Tree Boa, whom I have named Linus (on account of the fact she had a death grip on the wood branch when I bought her, and she wouldn't let go.)
Well Linus has been picky about food, so I bought an Anole for her to eat. At first, the Anole was scared and wouldn't go near Linus, and vice versa (dumb snake.)
One morning after switching on the lights, I was greeted with this. Brilliant, my snake isn't eatting the food I bought for her.
But the pose was too cute to pass up, and on a reptile forum ( I asked for a caption to go with this. Here is the winning caption, as posted by forum member Shanna.
"Anole: I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when my fear is gone I will turn and face fear's path, and only I will remain."

Monday, October 15, 2012

I am Overkill, The Devil's Wrath!

Singer from the fantastic local band, Play Dead. They had all the lights on full, which gave me perfectly lit subjects.
This concert was a fantastic event for me, not only getting to hear some great bands and making some new friends, but it's one more thing off my bucket list.

Questions Linger As I Walk The Path

Sometimes, it's all about the waiting. The first time the drummer for the band Saint Diablo did this, I missed the shot, as I was concentrating on the singer, and not paying attention to the rest of the band, as I should have.
After the drummer did this, I started to pay attention,and when he poured water over his drum kit, I was ready. I love how the light reflects off the mist.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Am I Overkill Each Death A Sin

Back to blue and yellow lighting. After all the red, the blue was easier to photograph, and the yellow highlighted the guitarist nicely. Note the other Iron Maiden t-shirt. 
Very talented stringer, and photogenic as well, would love to do a studio session with them.

Who Can Tell Me Who I Am

This band had the unusual moniker of The 10th Hour. Sounds like it references Poe, but I'm not certain.
Another strong, and photogenic lead singer, and one heck of a flashy guitarist. Too short upon the stage, they nevertheless made the best of the time they had.
As with all the bands at the show, down to earth friendly guys, and I was honoured to have met them.

The Destroyer Of Worlds

As promised, one talented drummer, in a moment of rest, but never too tired to have levity.
Thanks to you, Burnt to Ashes, for allowing me the opportunity to capture you in action.

I Am Become Death

Wow did this singer have stamina! Although the strain was evident on his face only after the show, he got up there and wailed with the best of them. Not quite so bouncy as others, it allowed me to capture him in action quite clearly.

Now Unleashed Upon The Earth

Classic pose, all the stringers lined up next to each other, thrashin' it out.
The lighting was all red and yellow for them, which didn't make it any easier to catch, especially the poor drummer, but I got him covered next.

I Have Harnessed The Stars

I have finally finished sorting through all the pictures I took at the concert last week. While it wan't tough to toss out the bad ones, there were more good ones than I had anticipated.
Here is the bassist from Burnt To Ashes, complete with Iron Maiden t-shirt and a Dirty Rotten Imbeciles Hat, worn in the proper fashion of a D.R.I. fan. But it's all good, it's metal and united we stand. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Plagued Be Thy Angel

My favourite shot from the entire show. Kysmet's bass playing caught in the act. The yellow light nicely highlighting his mass of long hair as he was coming down from a jump.
So, to Kysmet: Thanks for the poses, great songs, new friends and fantastic concert!

Oh, Benignant Divine

Before I went shooting the concert, I read up on proper concert photography, with an emphasis on metal shows. 
First Rule: Be Polite
Second Rule: A Bouncer's Word is Law
Third Rule: No Flash Photography
Fourth Rule: Remember Your Depth of Field
Okay, I made that last rule up, but here you can see the advantage of shooting wide open, lead singer is the in focus subject, with the bass player and drummer nicely blurred.

Banished and Exiled

Did I tell you drummers get no love? Bathed in green with only a touch of yellow, I tried many times to catch him well lit, and had trouble each time.
Solid drumming and an extremely friendly fellow, I gladly bought him and his bandmates dinner after their set was over, it was the least I could do for them, as they put up with me shoving a camera at them the entire time they were on stage.

An Outcast From Heaven's Grace

Bass player with a simply stunning bass guitar. He was a wild one, bouncing all over the stage, bringing even more energy to an already electric set.
I've not gone through all the shots I've taken but he currently stands as the most photogenic band member so far.

When All Hope and Love is Dead

Kysmet's lead singer, right up front, singing to the audience. They have a video on YouTube for the song "Arrow to the knee" which is quite good, very thrashy and translated well to the stage.
Given the many bands playing that night, I had to limit the number of shots I could take of each band, to ensure I had enough memory cards for all the bands, but all the same, Kysmet was so tight and energetic, it was hard to put down my camera and wait for the next band.

When All Light Has Fled

Flash green guitar, stray blue light, perfect match. This shot looks less like it's from a high-energy metal concert, and more like from Rush video but this guy was no aging prog-rocker, he knew his instrument, inside and out and was probably the best guitarist I've seen live.
Not to mention highly photogenic as well. 

And Alone She Will Bend

This is what I love about small bands, their willingness to include audience members in their show. Here the lead singer of Kysmet included a fan in a song, and both were clearly enjoying the experience.

Alone She Will Break

So I've got my 50mm on my D2x, and for the first band I bloody well forgot to back off and get a group shot, so for these guys, the great band Kysmet, I backed off and made sure I got some full band shots.
Each band had a different lighting style, Unto Thee was blue and red, Kysmet's was green and yellow(ish) which worked to my advantage as it rendered skin tones more true to life.

To Claw The Clouds

Okay, remember that part about disliking Photo-shopping pictures? Well the right tool for the right job and all that, but if I'm going to PhotoShop something, I want it to be obvious that's what has been done.
Case in point here: The pose is great, and the lighting was pretty good, but the original picture didn't gel well with me as I took it, so out came PhotoShop and a few filters later, here is the result, which I think works better.
Thanks much to Unto Thee for letting me photograph you guys, much luck with your tour!

A Legion Wronged

For the longest time, I wanted to be a bass player. I even bought some nice bass guitars and started taking lessons, but I simply lack the talent for it, or as my friends would say, "your talent lies elsewhere", so they were eventually sold off (the basses, not my friends.)
So it is therefore not surprising that when I visit a concert, I gravitate towards watching the bass player the most.
Unto Thee's bass player is wearing a t-shirt which says "I Wrestled a Bear Once" which I thought might have a punchline on the back (something like, "And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt") but apparently it's a female fronted metalcore band.

The Forsaken and Dethroned

Drummers get no love, despite carrying the pace of the tune. While I was allowed on stage for picture taking, the concert was being broadcast world-wide so I didn't want to get in the way if at all possible, so I shot from the sides, being mindful of both the fans, the streaming video and the miles of cables strewn about like writhing snakes.
With a variably lit situation, I went with my fastest lens, my 50mm f/1.8, which meant I couldn't quite get as close to the drummer as I would have liked, but I think it turned out okay all the same.

Rise Up

As I have said in the past, I'[m not a fan of Photo-shopping my pictures, much preferring to show them as taken, warts and all. I'm a firm believer that the more you get right in the camera, the less you have to do after the fact.
Here is a shot I converted to Black and White, the Rhythm Guitarist was performing a sound check before they went live, and originally bathed in deep blue light. My Nikon D2x can shoot in pure Black and White mode, but at the time I didn't want to miss any shots, so it was done in colour. I feel the image is better this way, so here it is.  

We'll Claw The Clouds

The band is a classic five piece, and the lead singer really did a bang up job getting right in front of the crowd and getting them slamming and thrashing. Strong voice, lots of energy and carried the band well. I was unfamiliar with them, but they had some great tunes in their limited set. With so many bands in this concert, each band had (I think) five songs to play, about 30 minutes of stage time. But they were tight and clearly ready to do more.