What’s number one on every one of those cheesy “How To Take Better Photographs” lists? Yes, it’s don’t take pictures into the sun. In fact, avoid the sun altogether. Go out in early morning or late afternoon and spend the bit in between eating, drinking or sleeping. The Spanish have it right. The reason for this is that light shining directly into the lens of a camera will cause lens flare. You would think this sort of thing isn’t an issue when taking photographs in indoor places at night but weirdly enough it is.
Last Saturday night I had a grand plan to try and shoot six bands in one night. The first two were Man Must Die and Exodus in The Village, a Dublin Metal Events gig. If I got out of there sharpish I figured I would have enough time to shoot over to The Button Factory and catch Not Squares followed by Adebisi Shank. After that there was a late night gig in the same place with Squarehead and And So I Watch You From Afar.
I set up in The Village while Man Must Die were on. They are a technical death metal band which among other things means they play very fast. I took two photographs and then headed over to The Button Factory without waiting for Exodus. Not Squares were well into their set when I got there and in spite of frantic efforts I didn’t manage to get the camera set up in time to shoot them. Oh well … only one out of three so far.
My main aim though was to photograph Adebisi Shank … again. This is where the shooting into the sun thing started. I’ve found that stage lighting varies wildly from gig to gig. Sometimes it’s subtle, simple lights illuminating the stage, sometimes it’s crazy strobes and swirling patterns. The one thing though that completely kills these photographs is strong stage lights that point out into the crowd, and more damagingly, up at the balcony and right into the lens of my camera. I don’t know why this is done so much. I suppose it throws the performers into silhouette but as an audience member it’s like being questioned by the Gestapo or something. Often when I see them being turned on I just throw my hand over the lens and leave it there until they are turned off. But, if they are going all the time, as they were during Adebisi’s set, you might as well just give up. Which is what I did. They sounded great though.
So the only shot that came out of the night was Man Must Die which you can see at the top of this post. It’s a four minute exposure and there are actually five of them on the stage, though you wouldn’t know it. It’s a good shot so the night was not a total washout. I tried to find a Man Must Die track to link to here but couldn’t so what the heck ….here’s another Adebisi Shank one instead.