Fence at the Glee Club, Birmingham

9 06 2009

I went along to the Glee Club last night to see King Creosote and other members of the Fence Collective perform.

In previous visits to the club there have been ‘No Photography’ signs up in the entrance but despite this the MC has usually said that people are ok to take photos as long as no flash is used, so I decided to take along my 5D and 24-70mm lens, hoping to get a decent front row seat. As the venue is all seated there is not a great deal of opportunity to move around during the shows and being not 10 feet away from the performers I really didn’t want to be a distraction to them. I love small gigs like this, what you lose in photographic angles you gain in intimacy.

So we took our seats waiting for the first act, Player Piano, to come onto the stage. I had already had a look at the light and metered accordingly, shutter speeds were at about 1/125 at ISO-800 and f/2.8 which is great for this kind of concert, nice depth of field and a decent shutter to help freeze the moment. My intial readings were thwarted though, as Player Piano came onto the stage the lights dimmed so I swore slightly under my breath and re-adjusted the ISO to 1000 which gave me an approximate speed of 1/80 in the available light. Of course, this changes with every shot as the stage lights vary the available light, but that is the fun of it all.

Player Piano

Player Piano

This shot was taken at full zoom as the keyboard was located on the far end of the stage to where I was sitting, I was very pleased with the light that falling on him as he played, I desaturated the shot in post processing to get over the funny colour casts that you get in these situations.

When The Pictish Trail came on stage I wasn’t really in the right position for the first song as he had his back to me, as the set continued though he moved back to centre stage and gave some great opportunities though some other mic stands were partially blocking at times. The following photograph was at 1/50 f/2.8 ISO-1000.

The Pictish Trail

The Pictish Trail

Though King Creosote had been on stage supporting both Player Piano and The Pictish Trail during the night it was then time for his set. The great thing about the Fence Collective is that everyone supports everyone else, there seems to be no ‘I’m a bigger artist than you’ kind of thing going on at all, just people who love to make music, making it together.

This is a shot of the stage area, taking in all of the band and indicating the kind of light available. This at 24mm, ISO-1250, 1/80, gives an indication of how close to the performers we were.

From right: Uncle Beasley, On The Fly, King Creosote, The Pictish Trail (hidden) and Player Piano

From right: Uncle Beesly, On The Fly, King Creosote, The Pictish Trail (hidden) and Player Piano

I was keen to get some different compositions for the main act as I had been sat in the same seat for the previous two. So, I moved two seats further to my right (wow!!) and tried to look for better angles. Being slightly more upbeat, I upped the ISO to 1250 to keep my shutter speeds up, confident in the 5D’s ability to handle the extra sensitivity and produce relatively clean images.

This is possibly one of my favorite shots from the night, composed to keep the backing singers in the frame and shot at a wide aperture to give the nice depth of field which gives more impact to King Creosote himself. Shot at 1/80, ISO-1250, f/2.8.

King Creosote

King Creosote

Finally a shot of Uncle Beesly playing the bass. He sat down on a monitor right in front of me so I lowered my position a touch and shot this. I applied a cross processed effect in post processing as I thought it looked nice.

Uncle Beasley

Uncle Beesly




6 responses

9 06 2009

What’s your 5D’s auto ISO function like? If it has one, then rather than setting a fixed ISO you might be able to set a dynamically variable ISO, which would help keep it as low as possible whilst maintaining your minimum desired shutter speed.

10 06 2009
Steve Green

Hi Jake, the 5D has no auto ISO function, that only came in to being later on.

11 06 2009
John Powell

Hi Steve, loving the Blog, very informative, looking forward to more of the same.

11 06 2009
Steve Green

Thanks John, appreciated.

16 06 2009
Uncle Beesly

Nice photies Steve! (what’s ISO?)

16 06 2009
Steve Green

It’s the sensitivity of the sensor to light, the same as the old ASA for film cameras.


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