Tag Archives: Concert

2093 – There And Back Again

After a long break here’s the post for Wednesday at last. I’d been held up by too many images and no clear idea how to use them.

In the recent past I have tended to avoid those kitchen sink posts, because they tend to bury everything but the Image of the Day. Instead I’ve created separate posts, more than one for a day. It helps focusing the post, makes writing easier for me, though I think the two times I did it, nobody really cared. This time it’s back to the kitchen sink, for no other reason than that I’m lazy 🙂

In the two images at the beginning I was struck by symmetry. It’s not perfect symmetry, but it is a kind of symmetry that we encounter very often and ignore almost always. I kinda like it.

This would have been it (and in fact the Image of the Day is my favorite image in this post), had I not been in Salzburg for a concert of Hubert von Goisern. Hubert is one of the most interesting Austrian musicians, mixing traditional Austrian music with all kinds of world music and a heavy dose of American style Rock and Blues. He sings Upper Austrian dialect, so you may have trouble understanding him, even if you speak German, but you may still like his music. In this video you’ll at least recognize the melody 🙂

These images are not good examples of concert photography. I really should have brought the Sigma 150/2.8, this would have given me two stops over the Olympus 40-150, reducing ISO to 1600. The two images with Hubert and the bassist were taken with the 45/1.8 wide open and they are extremely tight crops.

On the other hand, using the big and heavy 150/2.8 would have been much less convenient and the camera would have been less easy to keep under the rain coat during the occasional showers 🙂

The concert ended too late to return to Vienna the same day, thus I had time for a night stroll through Salzburg.

Salzburg is a city on the edge of the Alps, a flat space with a river running between two big rocks, with steep mountains rising just behind. As long as you avoid the “rocks” (one of them with the famous fortress Hohensalzburg) and the mountains, the city itself is a fine place for casual cycling, and therefore I found a rich hunting ground.

Hubert von Goisern’s latest album is “Entwederundoder” (“Eitherandor”). The song that gave its name to the current tour is “Brenna tuats guat” (“But it burns well”), a song about how everybody knows that money does not grow on the meadows, but that it burns well, just as the food that we burn for fuel, while elsewhere people die of hunger. Here’s the official video. That’s also the lineup of the current tour.

928 – Pictures Of Home

The bad weather goes on and on. I was lucky. Yesterday when I had to go to Klagenfurt, my hometown, and when I had to wait on the streets for more than an hour, it did just not rain. As soon as I was back in the car, it began to pour down.

Klagenfurt is actually a nice town. It has about 93000 inhabitants, and in the 25 years that I have not lived there, it has changed radically. There are many more restaurants, cafés and bars now, the patios and thoroughfares are opened to the public, and the general impression is that of a place where people live. Amazing.

Btw, the correct term for those thoroughfares is “Durchhaus”. I was tempted to use it in the paragraph above, and as always, I wanted to look up an english term.

While searching on LEO, the best online dictionary for German/English, German/French, German/Italian and German/Spanish (they even have German/Chinese, but I can’t possibly judge that), I stumbled upon a link to the professional translator’s forum ProZ, and one advise was to not translate the word, but instead explain it. I was already determined to use one of the two quoted explanations

… a house between two streets, with one or more courtyards connected by a thoroughfare, basically a shortcut between the streets, going right through the house.”

when to my surprise I found out that the supplied link pointed back to one of my own blog posts, “33 – Hanging Gardens“, written way back in November 2006 🙂

Regardless of weather, photographing in Klagenfurt was a nice experience. I met a group of street musicians who played very, very well and had no problems with me taking pictures, and in the course of that hour, I constantly changed between the Nikon 70-300 VR, the Nikon 35/1.8 and the Nikon 10.5/2.8 fisheye.

The Image of the Day was obviously made with the fish, and then treated with Fisheye-Hemi™, the same goes for the small place with the people.

The metal sculpture is actually a drinking fountain, taken at 70mm, and somehow I found that the metal looks much better in a conventional B&W process.

The other two images were taken with the Nikon 35/1.8. The square with the water droplets is another fountain, basically a sheet of glass, and on one side water comes down like from a shower head, only that the nozzles are lined up in a distance of about 5cm from the glass. I have used speed priority (S) mode and 1/8000s at f1.8 to capture the droplets.

The Song of the Day is “Pictures Of Home” from the 1972 Deep Purple album “Machine Head”. Deezer has the album, and YouTube has – among many many others – a 1999 live version from The Royal Albert Hall, together with the London Symphony Orchestra.

553 – Straight Up And Down

It’s Friday. As I write this, I’m on the train to Carinthia, and as on so many Fridays, I have no substantial image. On the other hand, I have just worked on the cover images for a CD. Remember “462 – Congeniality“? At that concert I had shot more than 300 images, using Wolfgang’s Nikon 80-200/2.8, and now that a CD is coming out, I was asked to supply the cover images. On the back cover will be the empty room after the concert, and on the front a detail of a saxophone. We don’t show musicians, because the CD will cover the best of four concerts of different bands. The actual image on the cover will be a square crop of the lower part, here I show the original composition.

I’m pretty satisfied how well the sax comes out. The image was shot in extremely low light at 200mm, f3.2, 1/100s and ISO 5600. For that it’s rather smooth 🙂

Regarding the Song of the Day, my choice of music here on the train is restricted to what’s on my IAUDIO X5 60GB music player, and unfortunately I have not much Jazz on it. Still, “Straight Up And Down” from Eric Dolphy’s 1964 album “Out To Lunch” will do, will it? No video, sorry, but Amazon’s sound sample is actually quite good.

462 – Congeniality

Thursday evening my friends Andreas Frei (who happens to be a silent visitor of this blog, hi Andreas!) and Wolfgang Platzer came to the opening of the show in Villach. Wolfgang asked us if we had time next evening to see a Jazz concert by a newly formed quartet, the Alpen Adria Jazz Ensemble, in Klagenfurt’s premier Jazz club Kamot. Wolfgang was the organizer, Andreas would mix and record the show, I would have plenty of opportunity to take images and Wolfgang would lend me his Nikon 80-200/2.8. Of course I agreed 🙂

The Alpen Adria Jazz Ensemble is named after an initiative to bring the peoples of the southern alps closer together. It’s members are Michael Erian, Austria, on saxophone, Jure Puckl, Slovenia, also on sax, András Mohay, Hungary on drums and Renato Chicco on organs. The concert was fantastic. They played own compositions and variations on pieces of Thelonious Monk.

The image to the right is a variation on the same theme, shot some seconds before the Image of the Day. In fact, I’m not sure which one I like more. This one is right out of the camera, the other one enjoyed some minor cloning.

Photographing with an 80-200/2.8 was terrific. Most of the time I had the camera mounted on the tripod, but with loosened ball head. This study of Michael Erian holding his sax may demonstrate the extremely shallow DOF and the nice bokeh of this lens at 200mm and f2.8.

I shot the whole concert on Auto ISO with a maximum ISO of 6400 and a minimum shutter speed dependent on the lens. With the 80-200 I used everything from 1/50s to 1/200s, depending on the degree of action.

For some motion studies like this one I set the camera to manual mode, dialed in 1/5s and then tried to capture motion blurred action. This worked out well for the saxes, was not very effective for the organist, and is definitely the way to go with drummers.

Other than the 80-200, I used my 50/1.8, the 30/1.4 and the Lensbaby, all of them wide open. The D300 did a marvelous job. I had the camera set on custom white balance taken from a sheet of paper on the table. That’s the advantage of having artificial light that does not change. Using Auto-ISO, I was able to relax and keep experimenting.

At the end of the day I went out with 362 images, and that brings us to a peculiarity of the D300, and I guess all the new Nikons:

The way I shoot, JPEG Large Fine and 14-bit RAW with lossless compression, the camera has no way to accurately predict the number of images that will fit on my 8GB CF card. It simply assumes the worst case, and that’s a meager number of 218 images. The problem is the compression. How well an image compresses is very dependent on the actual image data. I ended up with 362 images on the card, and the camera still predicted 18 more images. Thus, although I use 14-bit NEF instead of 12-bit on the D200, and although I have 12 megapixels instead of 10, I now get more images on the card.

The other thing is battery life. I had started with a fully loaded EN-EL3e, and after the concert I was not even down to half the capacity. That’s a big plus over the D200.

The Song of the Day is “Congeniality” from the classic 1959 Ornette Coleman album “The Shape of Jazz to Come“.

363 – Have I Got Style?

Mike Johnston over at The Online Photographer has written two interesting articles (here and here) about photographic style, especially in a digital age. I have commented on the second, basically saying that a distinct style may be helpful for being commercially successful, but that this is mostly due to the fact that art buyers buy art just like they buy soft drinks: they buy brands. In the art market style and brand could be used almost interchangeably.

On the other hand, for the artist, adhering to a strict style for the rest of one’s career basically means petrification. It is certainly prudent from an accountant’s point of view (why taking risks once you have found something that sells?), but this kind of art is not art any more. It is reproduction, without joy and passion, it becomes a job. In other words: Style is for the dead.

This image is made in the style of another Image of the Day, “153 – Passage“. Sigma 30/1.4 at f8, shot yesterday morning, post-processed in Photoshop using two versions from RAW with different color temperatures.

The Song of the Day is “Style” from De-Phazz’s 2002 album “Daily Lama“. Hear a sound sample here.

316 – Before the Concert

Today, in mid-afternoon, we were at a concert in Villach. Sonus Brass Ensemble gave “Die Blecharbeiter”, a concert for children. I can’t give you images from the actual show (though it might be OK for this purpose, but I have not asked), so this is an image of the stage decoration before the show.

The Sigma 150/2.8 macro would have been quite perfect, but I did not bring it along. Instead I have shot most images with the Nikon 50/1.2 or the Nikon 18-200 VR.

Using the 18-200 at 200mm and f5.6 as in this image turned out not completely unreasonable. With the dim pre-concert lighting, this is at ISO 1600, but with Auto-ISO at 1/30s minimum shutter speed and maximum ISO at 1600, exposure correction dialed in at -3EV for the dark stage background, I made most shots during the show at around ISO 250. Of course if you really have to stop down action, 1/30s is not enough, but in a situation where you are not required to get every specific shot, the number of shots that you actually get, is surprisingly high.

The Song of the Day is something completely different and only related through the title: “Before The Beginning” by the early Fleetwood Mac and from their last album with Peter Green, “Then Play On“. Amazon.de has the sound sample.