March 13, 2005

New Model Army

Digital original

For me, the most anticipated event of the visit to Montreal was the chance to see and photograph a performance of the British (post-punk-alternative-rock-electro-folk) band New Model Army. This is a band that I have listened too since I was 19 but have never had the opportunity to see perform live. In the fall of 2004, I'd considered driving up to Montreal to see them on an acoustic tour but, at the last moment, the date was cancelled, so I couldn't attend. Just on a whim, when the dates for the Montreal trip were confirmed, I checked their website on the off chance they were coming back - and they were - as a full band - on the very week that I was going to be in Montreal. I ordered tickets to the show and contacted the band for permission to photograph (though in retrospect , given how many other cameras there were in the audience, I didn't have to be as concerned about the photo permission as I was).
Digital original
Though I haven't done it for years, when I was in college I used to photograph live concerts in several Halifax bars several times a week for more than five years. I really enjoyed the spontaneous, uncontrolled nature of the venue and, over time, became quite comfortable with the process (though poor lighting or boring bands were still difficult to overcome and unfortunately par for the course). That being said, this concert would be my first attempt at concert photography with a digital SLR.
Digital original
I arrived at the concert with three lenses, a 35mm f/2, a 50mm f/1.4 and a 85mm f/1.8 - all fast lenses. I set the D70 to 1600 ISO to keep the shutter speed as high as possible and began photographing. The very first images were made in RAW mode but I very quickly changed to high-quality JPG to enable myself to photograph faster and make more images (I also very quickly switched from the 4gb Microdive to a 1gb CF cards, to enable a faster frame rate). The Microdive, while fast enough for my regular work with models, was much too slow for the fast response and frame rate required for a concert. By the end of the 90 minute concert, I'd made over 1,000 exposures (which were later edited down heavily) and had finally seen one my favourite bands give one of the best concerts I'd yet to witness (though the sound could have been better!).

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