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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Performing Arts Talk 
Thread started 27 Jun 2015 (Saturday) 11:31
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First time concert shooter - Pitchfork Music Festival

 
Smitty2k1
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Jun 27, 2015 11:31 |  #1

Hi all -
A close friend who writes for a local newspaper got press passes for Pitchfork in Chicago in July. He is letting me use the photo pass under the assumption I get him a couple of shots he could use in his review. I'm an amature at best and so this is an exciting opportunity. I've been to many festivals before (but not Pitchfork) and never had a chance to get any photos of the performances because of limitations with what security would allow me to bring and lack of access to the photo pit.

Anyways, I've been reading a lot of the resources on this forum and have gathered the following:
1) Bring earplugs. Lots of earplugs.
2) Arrive early for bigger performances
3) Typically you can only be in the pit for the first 3 songs (but why?)
4) Don't worry about pushing ISO. Shoot manual wide open with shutter at least 1/250.

Here is my gear
Canon 70D
Canon 17-55 f2.8
Canon 70-300L
Sigma 30 f1.8

It seems faster lenses are a big help but since most of the day will be in good light (headliner starts at 8:30) I'm not too worried about the 70-300L. I have a friend that would probably loan me his 70-200 2.8 if I really needed it.

Additionally, I am attending this festival with a few good friends. Any tips on balancing shooting and not focusing all my time and attention on it? Also, if anyone has seen any of these acts live,I'd like to get your opinion on who to see and who to skip :)

Any tips, certainly appreciated.
My website panamapat.smugmug.com




  
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Road ­ Dog
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Jul 03, 2015 08:43 |  #2

Smitty2k1 wrote in post #17612297 (external link)
3) Typically you can only be in the pit for the first 3 songs (but why?)

Because, by then, artists are working up a sweat and don't look their best. At least that's the reason given to me by Keith Marks, who used to be tour manager for Styx...

4) Don't worry about pushing ISO. Shoot manual wide open with shutter at least 1/250.

Not so sure about that.

I shoot with a 6D and routinely up the ISO...

I have a friend that would probably loan me his 70-200 2.8 if I really needed it.

I would actually prefer that to the 70-300, just for the f/2.8...

Any tips on balancing shooting and not focusing all my time and attention on it?

Separate the two completely. Don't try to shoot if you're also trying to party with your friends. It's unprofessional, and a classic rookie move...


Just shut up and smile...
My Current Line-Up

  
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Smitty2k1
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Jul 04, 2015 10:12 |  #3

Road Dog wrote in post #17619005 (external link)
Because, by then, artists are working up a sweat and don't look their best. At least that's the reason given to me by Keith Marks, who used to be tour manager for Styx...

Not so sure about that.

I shoot with a 6D and routinely up the ISO...

I would actually prefer that to the 70-300, just for the f/2.8...

Separate the two completely. Don't try to shoot if you're also trying to party with your friends. It's unprofessional, and a classic rookie move...

I phrased me initial post poorly - I'm definitely going to push ISO to get a fast shutter.

I understand the benefit of bringing the 2.8 lens, but its a daytime festival with the main acts starting at 830pm, which means I won't be shooting much in the evening, wondering if the 2.8 is really necessary in this case.

Thanks for the response!




  
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BillSXT2002
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Jul 08, 2015 07:00 |  #4

It has been a long time since I shot any music acts, but I know the faster glass was very helpful at times. Even if it was outdoors before dark, the stage area was not always well lit, and any advantage I could get with the glass was helpful.




  
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PMGphotog
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Post edited over 3 years ago by PMGphotog.
     
Jul 19, 2015 13:05 |  #5

All of the above.

I shoot mainly indoors stuff but have done some live outdoors festivals too. The loan of the 2.8 70-200mm ( which on a 70D has the reach more like a 105-300mm) gives you more options if the light is poor, you can still shoot at other apertures if you want but having that extra room at 2.8 might come in handy. It's always nice to have options.

I have a 60D so I'm not sure how the 70D handles high ISO/noise but 1600 is fixable for me in post and 3200 is not so much but I've had to use it a lot more than I'd like.

Shutter speed depends on the act too, a single acoustic player I've shot at 1/100 sec and got decent images but on a 30mm Sigma. If I was using my rubbish Tamron 55-200mm I try to shoot above 1/300th Sec and that bottoms out at f/4 so I need to use whatever Aperture that allows and live with it.

If it's smaller acts in smaller tents/areas the 17-55 f2.8 might do well to get wider shots and also some close stuff. For larger acts you might need to shoot from the the mixing desk instead of the pit depending on the act so the longer lens would work with a monopod in that case.

I think the main non photographic issue is balancing doing your shots while your mates might be wanting to socialise. Before you even go to the festival let them know that you are working ( doesn't matter if you are a pro or not ). They are there to enjoy the bands but you are there to supply some nice shots. I have loads of friends who go to the gigs I shoot and they tend to leave me to do my thing until I put my camera back in it's bag. Then I might have a beer for the last few songs with them. For a festival though it can be tricky so pre warn them that you have to do your shots and might not be able to do be as social as usual.

Your Sigma lens, are you sure it's the 1.8 version? I thought that was a 35mm? The 30mm Sigma non art is 1.4 ( which can come in handy when the light is almost non existent but your DoF is really thin. I've had to pre focus on a mic and wait for the singer to get close to it before hitting the shutter with mine, with mixed results...)


However it works out, it should be an experience and lot of fun too. One other thing though, take lots of spare memory cards, try to edit out the out of focus or unusable shots between bands too, it serves 2 purposes. Your friends will see you are still "working" and it will save you having to cull lots of stuff on your computer later on.


Canon EOS 1000d /60d : 18-55mm IS kit lens. Canon 50mm 1.8 MK2. Tamron 55-200mm F4-5.6, battery grip to make my cam look pro..and 30mm Sigma F1.4 recently added
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/patmcguire2011/ (external link)

  
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PMGphotog
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Jul 19, 2015 13:12 |  #6

Just realised after my post that it was this weekend. How did you get on?


Canon EOS 1000d /60d : 18-55mm IS kit lens. Canon 50mm 1.8 MK2. Tamron 55-200mm F4-5.6, battery grip to make my cam look pro..and 30mm Sigma F1.4 recently added
http://www.flickr.com/​photos/patmcguire2011/ (external link)

  
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Smitty2k1
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Jul 20, 2015 14:50 |  #7

PMGphotog wrote in post #17636644 (external link)
Just realised after my post that it was this weekend. How did you get on?

Had a blast this weekend. My friend was only able to get me a photo pass to get my equipment into the venue, but no extra access as he had to save the media wristband for one of his writers. This meant a lot of waiting at the front of the stage and holding my camera above my head.

I did take the 70-200 from my friend. I think even though I wanted the extra reach in the crowd the 2.8 was worth it. I was shooting ISO 400 most of the day with a shutter around 1/400. Having the 70D was a must. The live view focusing and articulating screen allowed me to compose my shots with confidence instead of spray and pray. No higher end body would've let me do this!

As far as balancing work and play I didn't have too much to worry about by being in the crowd. I did choose to not take my gear Saturday: heavy rain expected (they even evacuated for a hot second), I had an extra large friend group, and we were going directly to an after show where camera policy was unknown.

I did a poor job of balancing shooting the artists and taking photos of my friends and rest of the festival... The 70-200 never came off (I lugged the 17-55 and sigma 30 all weekend though) and there wasn't ever enough space to get more than a face in my frame at 70mm. Also there were many beverages to drink in-between acts.

I only got a quick chance to scroll through photos in-camera. Need to get back home to look in Lightroom and edit raws. Hope to have a post up by the end of the week.

Definitely a much better festival than Lollapalooza!




  
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First time concert shooter - Pitchfork Music Festival
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