Photos: Au Revoir Simone at Union Chapel

Photos from this eve:

If you don’t want to read a really photographer-y explanation, mosey on…

So for the first two acts it was so red and dark. Most displeasing, I don’t think I want to share any of those photos. ISO 1600 in those lighting conditions is horrendous on the 400D. So, for Au Revoir Simone, they were at first illuminated by the coloured side lights they have running up the walls of Union Chapel. They also had a LED rig set up along the floor, which would change colours alot. And alot of the time, in fact, MOST of the time, it was just plain dark. Dark with no front lights at all. Suits the mood of the music but makes it an absolute mission to shoot.

Occasionally there would be flashes of good light, for a few seconds. But even then, ‘good light’ equates to ISO 1600 and something like 1/80. When shooting with my 70-200 I really want to be shooting at 1/125 if possible. Any less and the amount of bum shots is saddening, because it’s a challenge to get subjects sharp.

I really wish I had new gear, because I feel I could take so much better photos if my stuff wasn’t so restrictive. My 70-200 is f4 which was a pain, and because my other lenses are primes it doesn’t work so well without getting up and moving about the pews and, basically, being a pest.  

So shooting fixed at f4 I had no choice but to use 1600. I hate, hate, hate to go up that high. The 400D just can’t cope with the noise alot of the time, and pictures just seem ugly. But heyho, it had to be done. So, f4 and 1600. Alot of the time it was just a waiting game, waiting for the lights to be vaguely acceptable (AND NOT RED!). Au Revoir Simone are a bouncy band, they don’t stay still all that much… so slow shutter speeds were no fun. That top shot is a shot I am super happy with because I took it at 1/30. Yes, 1/30!!!  And at 118mm too. My arms are less sturdy with the zoom lens than primes, harder to stay still. What luck that it’s acceptably sharp (it’s a bit off but shhhh).

In conclusion, photography is fun and annoying sometimes. It can make you feel down if you don’t get any shots. I feel a bit sad I don’t like the shots I took of Alessi. Too dark and red. But, on the flipside, it’s so rewarding to get something when the light is bad. It’s all about getting that one shot. I’m happy with that top one. Hurrah!


3 Responses to Photos: Au Revoir Simone at Union Chapel

  1. Chongy October 3, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    The pictures still seem to have come out ok! Do you have any sort of vibration reduction on your telephoto? Maybe time to indulge yourself a bit and get the 70-200 at f/2.8, could make life much easier.

    If you shoot in RAW, surely there must be some post-processing that you could do to reduce the amount of noise. I just saw the original 3000 pixel version of the first image on your flickr and indeed it seems the noise performance gets pretty lousy at the dizzy heights of 1600 ISO, but luckily when scaled down to the sorts of sizes that would be posted on blogs, it still comes out sharp and noise free. Wahey then!

    And surely with that 70-200 (which is probably heavier than your 400D!) your arms must be hulk like by now? :)

    • anikainlondon October 3, 2009 at 9:42 am #

      Hahahaha! Indulge in the 2.8 70-200???? That costs over £1000! I wish. I always shoot in RAW and do a few little tweaks. The original shot was orange…

  2. Lorne October 3, 2009 at 8:09 pm #

    Sometimes you’ve just got to get your knees grubby and crawl about the pews!
    I would have been happier grabbing what I needed from the sides in the first three songs but the lighting was such a nightmare I had to take what I could when the chance arose!
    It was still too dark to capture some decent moments though, like Erika at the pulpit and Annie at the front of the stage.
    My favourite shot from the night is actually pretty dark and red. It’s of Annie and Erica at the piano but it’s focused on Annie’s reflection.
    I’m suprised you didn’t get any keepers from Alessi’s set as I thought the lighting was pretty good. even though it was red there was still some other light shining on her face the majority of the time.
    I’ll be sticking my shots on Flickr sometime tomorrow anyway.

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