Tedeschi Trucks Band Portland Oregon November 3, 2017.
Low light, no flash, hand held photography is something that needs to be understood by any photographer of any genre or style. There are many times where one will need to get a shot but a flash or a tripod are not an option. A great way to practice this method is to take photos at a concert. If you can master photographing a concert, with bright lights and deep shadows, and quick movements you can skillfully photograph a wedding, for instance. The primary challenge is to get photos with a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurring the subject.
The Grammy award winning Tedeschi Trucks Band came to Portland Oregon November 3rd to play to a sold out show at the Keller Auditorium. I was able to secure photo passes to the show which allowed me to move to the front to take photos of the band during their first three songs and to bring my pro level camera inside. Many concerts will not allow pro style cameras inside without a pass, but many others will so call ahead of time and ask what their policy for photos are. I’ve been able to bring my camera into smaller venues and clubs in the past. I’ve even used these techniques at informal live shows at backyard parties.
Before the Tedeschi Trucks Band took the stage the crowd was fully warmed up by the Hard Working Americans, an American rock “supergroup”. The Hard Working Americans consist of lead singer Todd Snider and bassist Dave Schools from the group Widespread Panic, Neal Casal of Chris Robinson Brotherhood and guitar and vocals, Chad Staehly of Great American Taxi on keyboards and Duane Trucks who was also a member of widespread Panic and brother of Derrick Trucks on drums. The Hard Working Americans put on a powerful show with songs that were a mix of classic hard rock, blues and traditional roots Americana.
While the Hard Working Americans were on stage I took that time to make sure that my camera settings were correct before the Tedeschi Trucks band hit the stage. I used my Nikon D810 and my 70-200mm zoom lens for most of the photos. I set the camera on Aperture Priority with the aperture set to f/2.8 and Auto ISO with the max ISO set to 6400 and turned my Vibration Reduction on the lens to ON. Aperture Priority means that I set the camera’s aperture manually and then the camera sets the shutter speed for me. It’s semi automatic. Next my decision to set the camera to Auto ISO was to allow the camera to lower the ISO if possible and to not move past a set maximum ISO, 6400 in this case. I set my aperture to f/2.8 to allow the most light into the camera, which allows a faster shutter speed. The one drawback to a wider aperture is a shallow depth of field but this can be used to a certain effect by isolating the subject from others in the background.
Although I used a single lens reflex camera many consumer level cameras, and even some mobile phones today, will allow one to make adjustments to the aperture and ISO settings for better low light photos.
I shot the first three songs and then went to my seat, sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the show.
Once the Tedeschi Trucks band hit the stage, led by guitar prodigy Derek Trucks and his extremely talented singer and guitarist wife Susan Tedeschi, it was obvious their following and fans in the Pacific Northwest. The crowd was enthusiastic as the band played through a dozen songs, a mix of original tunes as well as classic covers from Sailing On by Toot's and the Maytals and the country classic George Jones - Color of The Blues to I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free by Jazz pianist Billy Taylor and How Blue Can You Get? by the popular 1940's and 1950's African-American vocal group Johnny Moore's Three Blazers. A diverse array of music brought together and played in the iconic style that the power couple, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, have developed with their extremely talented lineup of musical masters backing them up. They finished the show with a three song encore the included the classic Leon Russell song - Song For You, the traditional class Will The Circle Be Unbroken and the original song Bound For Glory.
Being able to be successful at taking concert photos, for me, enhances my concert experience, especially when my shooting time is relegated to the first three songs. The limit allows me to let the photos go and enjoy the rest of the show knowing that I have great souvenirs from the evening.