I’ve been doing a lot of everything lately, so this blog entry will cover as much as I can remember. The Arctic Monkeys concert was fun, for me anyway. They played most of the songs from their two albums, but missed Riot Van. I had hoped they’d play that as an encore, but they didn’t play any encore at all. I thought that was pretty low of them. At least save a song to make the crowd happy at the end of the night. Instead, they just waved goodbye and left the stage. The crowd chanted and stomped for them to come back, but the lights came up and the show was obviously over.
My main criticism of the concert was that they didn’t do much to put on a show. They just went out there, businesslike, and ploughed through their repertoire, staying mostly quiet between songs, switching and tuning guitars, etc. The sound balance seemed a bit off too. The singer was drowned out by the band for the most part, which made it hard for my friends, who don’t know the Arctic Monkeys very well, to keep up with things.
My camera and I have been busy. I have been shooting a lot while I’ve been home. A couple of weeks ago I shot promo photos for a real-life couple who are doing an improv show, playing a couple of lawyers who can’t keep their hands off each other. It should be a fun one.
Meanwhile, up in Montreal, I had a great weekend. The weather was fantastic, so we went to the Mount Royal park to hang out in the sun, watching people play drums and other musical instruments. There were a lot of buskers practicing up for the summer season ahead. There were some exotic animals too. The little dog is my roommate, Scruffy. The person annoying Scruffy by making his ears into wings is my other roommate, Emily.
That night, I headed east on Sherbrooke until I got to the Olympic Stadium. I knew I wanted to shoot this place at night, and since the weather was good, and I had my car, I figured midnight on a Sunday night was as good a time as any. It was perfect, actually. There were no people around, and there was free parking on the street right across from the stadium. I grabbed my camera, my 12-24mm lens, my (borrowed from Danie) 50mm lens, my lightweight tripod, my cable release, and I was off. It took an hour and a half to walk around the stadium, finding all of its best angles, but I didn’t feel the time go by at all. It reminded me of the entire evening I spent camped out in front of the Louvre in Paris, waiting for just the right moment to take the photo.
There were some special challenges involved in photographing the stadium. First of all, the lights at the top of that tower are extremely bright. They kept blowing out in the image, because the rest of the place was so dark. I eventually started using my fingers in front of the camera to “dodge” the photo while it was being exposed. Each exposure was about 15 seconds. Most of the time, I was waving my fingers in front of the camera, blocking that part of the image where the bright lights were for about 10-12 of those 15 seconds.
The other challenge was the various colors of light being used. The lights at the top of the tower were a nice, full-spectrum white that lit up the concrete in an even grey. The other lights, like those in the interior of the building, and on the underside of the dish, were various ugly shades of yellow and green. Fortunately, Photoshop CS3 is brilliant at dealing with mixed color temperatures like this. There’s a Hue/Saturation/Lightness tab in the RAW processor that lets you adjust each range of the spectrum, to pull it in the direction you want. The first and second photos above were a mess until I corrected the color of the light. Photoshop CS3 has won me over finally. I no longer need Capture One. Not only is CS3 more flexible with RAW processing, but the image quality has finally surpassed C1. Sorting images with tags and star ratings is a beautiful thing. I can also batch process hundreds of photos, simultaneously watermarking them, with a single click. I’m in love. 😛
Speaking of love, I shot some engagement photos for my good friend and his fiance. They wanted some traditional engagement shots, which we did in the park and greenhouse nearby. They also wanted something a bit more unusual. They had showed me a famous Hurrell photo, which I was happy to use as an influence.
Later that day (it was yesterday, but seems so long ago now), I headed to Toronto for rehearsal with Big in Japan. Afterwards, I shot some photos for a comedy duo who has a show in this year’s Fringe Festival.
Man, we shot a lot of photos. The four above just scratch the surface of it. They were mainly shot outdoors, with the Vivitar flash for fill where necessary. I made sure to leave lots of room for design, since they’re going to be used for show promotion (posters, post cards, etc.).
Anyway, that’s it for now. It’s dinner time. 😛