Von Burke Photographer: Blog http://www.vonburke.com/blog en-us (C) Von Burke vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:25:00 GMT Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:25:00 GMT http://www.vonburke.com/img/s/v-5/u290495713-o542860368-50.jpg Von Burke Photographer: Blog http://www.vonburke.com/blog 86 120 Introducing the very cool Johnston couple. http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2014/9/introducing-the-very-cool-johnston-couple I had a fantastic opportunity to photograph Amy and Brad Johnston's wedding on August 24, 2014 at the beautiful Log House Garden in Keizer, Oregon. This place was amazing and a photographers dream. With every outdoor amenity you could want, you could never go wrong selecting this venue for any occasion.

The wedding was amazing and the setting for capturing these images was priceless.

Please enjoy a few of these amazing shots!

Cheers!

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) Garden House Keizer Log Oregon Portland captivating creative interesting photography unique wedding http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2014/9/introducing-the-very-cool-johnston-couple Tue, 09 Sep 2014 22:21:47 GMT
Staged photo shoot to capture marriage proposal. http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/11/staged-photo-shoot-to-capture-marriage-proposal "Let me know when I can call you. This is a talk conversation not a text conversation" -A text from a friend who doesn't typically chat on the phone.

 

Naturally I was very interested in what Bryan needed to talk about. I thought this must be urgent... and man, it was!

The plan: Setup a marriage proposal photo shoot for my good friend Bryan and his longtime girlfriend Courtney. This shoot would involve masks and any other props to help steer away from any sentimental vibe that might tip her off.

Code name Samurai.

I told Bryan that there needed to be a key phrase that I could say to prepare him for this special moment. The plan was for me to say, "Let's get into a Samurai style execution pose", have Bryan kneel down,  then tell Courtney to get into a "Final blow" pose, sword held high. I positioned the couple as planned and spoke the key phrase. Bryan then reached into his pocket and produced a beautiful ring. Courtney went from game face slasher to a melted puddle of happiness.

 

Below are some samples of the shoot leading up to this super killer moment! Congratulations to both of you!

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) artistic capturing a special moment clever engagement george rogers park marriage proposal oregon photography popped the question portland wedding http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/11/staged-photo-shoot-to-capture-marriage-proposal Sat, 16 Nov 2013 01:07:12 GMT
Capturing the metal essence with DevilDriver & Trivium! http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/11/capturing-the-metal-essence-with-devildriver-trivium And the plague stuck me... well not really, more of a gnarly flu that hadn't hit like it did for years. So bad I actually went to the doctor (I NEVER go to the doctor BTW). Came at a bad time too since I had the DevilDriver and Trivium show to shoot during this mess. But with plenty of rest and over the counter meds, I took this show with unwavering strides.

DevilDriver took the stage and immediately commanded the audience. Front man, Dez Fafara does not take his work lightly nor does he tolerate a medicore crowd. Following the first song, Dez shook his head, pointed straight into the crowd and said, "MAKE THAT F**K'N CIRCLE BIGGER, COME ON!".  And like magic, as the second song started, the pit was in a huge frenzy!

DevilDriver had a killer performance and what I really appreciate about these guys is the fact that they are genuine. Dez Fafara loves his fans and all throughout the show he demonstrated his appreciation by applauding, giving thumbs up and reaching out to touch fans as they crowd surfed up and over the front line.

As DevilDriver's set came to a close, they tossed out guitar picks and drum sticks, like many bands do, but this time, by the grace of the metal gods, one of the drum sticks landed right by my feet. A nice trinket from a killer show.

This tour kicks off DevilDriver's Winter kills album and I'm super stoked to have been able to catch this one live! Get out there and grab this album, its super rad!

 

Previous to this show, I posted on Facebook that I would be shooting this show which struck much interest in one particular friend of mine, Rodney. He let me know that he was going to be front row during this show which gave me an idea.

Security let me into the photo pit and I prepped for the next round of crunching metal!

Fog began to roll in as eerie silhouettes crept onstage back lit by a massive TRIVIUM logo. Here we go!

Matt Heafy charged into fast riffs and screaming vocals making it obvious that Trivium was not letting up tonight.

High energy can't even describe the intensity of the Trivium set but I think you probably can imagine. Shooting this show can be a challenge since the band members are very active and mobile. I suggest you nail your shots quickly since you may not get another chance.

Remember how my friend Rodney was going to be in the front row? Check out this amazing shot I got of him and one of his favorite metal bands of all time, Trivium! (He's the second guy from the left)

Note: You know that drumstick I got? I gave it to Rodney just before the Trivium set. Spreadn' the wealth.

 

 

DevilDriver and Trivium was one of the best shows I've seen in a while and I'm super stoked to have been a part of it. Thank you Freeman Promotions for hooking me up with the photo pass. You're a rad dude Jon! Big thanks to Mike Thrasher Presents for hosting an amazing show and thumbs up to the staff who makes my job as smooth as can be.

If you haven't done so already, go give DevilDriver a "Like" on their Facebook page here DevilDriver

And get over to Trivium's Facebook page to give em a "Like" here Trivium

Mike Thrasher Presents hosts most of the killer shows that come to Portland so be sure to put them on your Facebook "Like" list too over here Mike Thrasher Presents

And props to the other photographer that was in the pit. Your etiquette was great man.

Thanks for checking out my night with DevilDriver and Trivium!

Cheers!

 

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) DevilDriver Freeman Promotions Mike Thrasher Presents Oregon Portland Roseland Theater Trivium live music metal http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/11/capturing-the-metal-essence-with-devildriver-trivium Wed, 13 Nov 2013 00:34:25 GMT
Surviving the flu during a super busy month of photography. http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/11/was-sick-w/packed-schedules-but-survived The flu couldn't have hit me at a worse time than a month where my schedule was completely packed with photo shoots.

I stocked up on cough drops, daytime/nighttime medicine and rested as much as I could. I'm usually a night owl so going to bed at 8PM was not cool but had to happen.

With so much competition in the photography business you not only need to be a good photographer, you need to be an even better relationship builder. The relationships you build with your clients will generate much more business in the way of referrals. These referrals fill in those gaps throughout the year to keep your business moving. So, that being said, the majority of my work this past month and half has been from referrals.

 

Take a peek at these killer clients I had an opportunity to work with over the past several weeks.

Thank you for taking time and reading my blog. If you or someone you know needs some great photography, send them to my website. I'm offering amazing discounts to friends of friends and family.

Cheers!

 

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) George Rogers Park Senior amazing beautiful business corporate high school oregon photo portland professional real estate relationships shoot http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/11/was-sick-w/packed-schedules-but-survived Tue, 12 Nov 2013 22:31:27 GMT
Dodging blood and gore, photographing Mike Thrasher's GWAR show! http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/dodging-blood-and-gore-photographing-mike-thrashers-gwar-show The gas pump attendant looks at me strange as I pull my debit card from a ziploc baggie...

Let me backup for a second.

About a month ago or so I get the OK from GWAR's press people (Freeman Promotions) to shoot GWAR at the Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon. I was super stoked... and to be honest a little cautious at the same time. Why cautious? Well, its challenging enough shooting live shows where you are constantly making adjustments due to lighting and movement. So, add gushing blood and gore to the equation and you have a whole different battlefield. I did my due diligence and made sure my gear was protected. This is funny... check out my Facebook post before I left:

 

"Water resistant camera poncho: CHECK
Clothes I can throw away: CHECK
Lens wipes: CHECK
Ziploc for ID and debit card: CHECK
Ziploc for mobile phone: CHECK
Extra change of clothes: CHECK"

 After some minor adjustments, I packed up and headed to the Roseland Theater.

I caught the end of Iron Reagan's set and was able to witness front man Tony Foresta's instructions to get the crowd to form huge circle pits (audience creates an open area on the floor where people can slam into one another). The floor was dark and tonight was a "NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY" gig so I couldn't get a decent shot of the pit.   

Coming up next was Whitechapel, so I made my way over to the photo pit entrance. I originally intended to only shoot GWAR but I felt covering Whitechapel would give me a chance to fine tune some camera settings. Glad I did! Not just for test shots, but because Whitechapel's performance was sick! Whitechapel brought a ton of intensity and at one point split the audience in half, creating opposing forces ready to collide! The front lines each half were fans knelt in sprinting positions ready to destroy other side. In my head, I could hear the speech from one face painted Scotsman, "They may take our lives, but they'll never take our FREEDOM!!!". The fans erupted off the line in a full out charge! Arms were swinging, feet were kicking and hearts were pounding! The dust settled and everyone survived relatively unharmed in this chaotic clash of metal heads.

Whitechapel finished up and at this point it looks as though the occupancy doubled for the next and final set... GWAR! I squeezed through the crowd to get back to the photo pit entrance where other photographers waited. I knew right away who, did and didn't know, what they were getting into by shooting GWAR. One guy had his hairdo all nice, wore a nice coat and a new camera bag slung over his shoulder. Once the show begins, I didn't know if I wanted to focus on GWAR, or shoot that guy in panic mode. Hahaha! So, I got positioned next to a gargoyle prop that had a sneaky tube protruding from its mouth. The gargoyle was strategically positioned facing the front row of GWAR fans. TIP: Always, ALWAYS give some love to the audience! They will love it and at the same time provide a beautiful sense of chaos.

GWAR took the stage and the gargoyles began to enlighten the crowd with spooge! The epic battle had begun! Orderus Urungus (GWAR frontman) quickly got the mayhem underway with theatrical dismemberment, decapitations and disembowelment. I dodged, slip and slid around grabbing as many photos as I could before the next shower of blood and gore. Let me make this very clear, these weren't just squirts here and there, it was gallons of blood and gore being propelled into the crowd! Remember that pretty photographer I told you about? He split as soon as those gargoyles came alive!

As a photographer its critical to keep your gear safe and at the same time being functional, especially at a GWAR show. To mitigate as much gore damage as possible, watch the performers and see where the spray tubes are connected. Then watch to see how, and how far the liquid projects. I was able stay away from most of it but did take some hits along the way. Refer back to my checklist above to help gear for a show like this.

GWAR shows NEVER disappoint! From the dismemberment of Justin Beiber to the mega battle with Mr. Perfect, you will remember this bloody, crunchy, planet destroying metal performance for the rest of your life!

NOTE: The GWAR show is pretty hardcore (Major adult content) so make sure to add shots that may be used for publications.

I shot this show using my trusty D700 with both the Tamron 28-75mm and the Nikon 80-200mm. I used the 28-75mm in the photo pit using ISO 3200 (not using flash), f/3.5 and 1/130th shutter. From the balcony, I used the Nikon 80-200mm using ISO 2500, f/2.8 and 1/125th shutter. There was room to adjust ISO but I didn't want to mess with it too much due to the conditions. The Fulat camera poncho was a cheap but effective solution for soggy shows (Approx. $15). It was a bit of an adjustment using the camera view finder but with a little practice, it was fine.

I'd like to thank the security for doing an excellent job in the pit. I'd also like to thank the other photographers who showed much respect for one another. And last but not least, HUGE thanks to Freeman Promotions for setting me up with access!

Want to see what I'm up to? Follow me on Twitter @thevonburke and say whats up!

Cheers!

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) 2013 Freeman Promotions GWAR Mike Thrasher Nikon October Portland, Oregon Rock Photogrphy Roseland Theater Von Burke blood epic gore heavy metal metal photo pit settings tips http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/dodging-blood-and-gore-photographing-mike-thrashers-gwar-show Thu, 17 Oct 2013 23:28:24 GMT
Hurricane hits the stage with Guitar Wolf! http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/hurricane-hits-the-stage-with-guitar-wolf Guitar Wolf Flyer When I heard that Guitar Wolf was coming to town I was super stoked! I immediately wrote to the band in hopes that they would put me on the photo pass list. A short time later I received a reply from Guitar Wolf that I has hoping for. I got on the list!

 

Guitar Wolf is an ultra high energy "Jet rock 'n' roll" trio from Nagasaki Japan. Their garage rock sound and leather clad attire takes us back to the days of CBGB and bands like the Ramones. Words cannot truly describe these guys nor the show they were about to perform. You simply just had to be there.   

The lights went dim. A projector kicked on shooting footage of Guitar Wolf's movie Wild Zero across a projector screen dangling in front of the stage.  Something crazy was about to happen and that something was going to last the entire set, with no breaks and through two encores.

The screen went up and Guitar Wolf took the stage. Front man Seiji (Guitar Wolf) took a pose, head down, Arm in the air. "1,2,3,4!" Seiji shouts! The set started hard, fast and loud as hell! Bass player UG (Bass Wolf) hammered out true rock base lines reminiscent of classic punk while drummer Toru (Drum Wolf) laid down fast paced beats that didn't stop the entire night!

In no time singer Seiji was in a sweat dripped frenzy. Jumping, posing and rolling, Seiji created a hurricane of body, sweat and gear! Mics bounced off the front row, stands toppled, cords were flying. It was a stage apocalypse! The roadie was no noob to this frantic performance. This guy was all over the place, untangling cords, grabbing mics, plugging and unplugging. Much respect for the man!

The best part of the show was when Seiji would get the crowed involved. Guitar Wolf are known to orchestrate human pyramids, bat things out into the audience and even pull people on stage to play instruments. This adds so much depth and personality to their performance.

Despite deflecting equipment, dodging exploding beer cans, getting kicked in the head from crowd surfers and often times getting crushed against the stage... I manged to come out relatively unscathed and more importantly with some great images.

Originally I was going to shoot this show without flash and rely solely on stage lighting but the dominant red lighting put a quick end to that plan. After several test shots, I just wasn't getting the images I wanted. So I setup for rear sync (ISO 500, 1/4, f8) and fired away. The Tamron 28-75mm served well on my D700 offering plenty of width and length to my shots. Since I didn't bring a flash, I ended up using the cameras on board flash which, surprisingly, was quite effective.

I had a freakn' blast you guys! The next time Guitar Wolf comes to town make sure you go see them. I'm telling ya, its an experience you will not soon forget!

You can see more photos from this show in the Live Music section of my gallery.

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) Bass Wolf D700 Dante's Drum Wolf Guitar Wolf Japan Jet Rock Live Music Nagasaki Oregon Photography Portland Rock 'n' Roll Seiji Toru UG Wild Zero punk http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/hurricane-hits-the-stage-with-guitar-wolf Mon, 14 Oct 2013 17:22:27 GMT
Photographing Deutschland's own Mr. Moritz. http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/photographing-deutschlands-own-moritz A message from my old friend Tara led to this great opportunity to photograph Mortiz, a high school senior here from Germany. So I packed up my gear and met them down at one of my favorite spots to shoot, George Rogers Park.

Mortiz has a ton of charisma and, as you can see, was super comfortable in front of the camera. Mortiz was spot on with every direction I gave, making for a smooth and productive photo shoot. 

During the shoot, it was very interesting to find out that Mortiz was a photography student back home. I'll be honest, I felt like I was kind of under a spotlight at first but after conversations about the fundamentals of photography, I quickly dispatched that feeling. Mortiz said that my philosophy on photography was very similar to what his teacher believes, which put me even more at ease... WHEW! Hahaha!

After sorting, I came out with many great photos that Mortiz was super pleased with. The photo above was one he selected which I retouched in my L.A. Style. He's getting a ton of Facebook "Likes" on this photo and its one of my personal favorites.

Cheers to you Mr. Mortiz and enjoy your time here in the states!

 

(Nikon D700, 50mm f/5, 1/125)
Organized and base retouch in Lightroom
Final retouch/color in Photoshop
 

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) D700 George Rogers Park Germany Nikon duetschland high school high school senior portrait http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/photographing-deutschlands-own-moritz Wed, 09 Oct 2013 22:22:24 GMT
iPhone 5s providing very useful images http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/iphone-5s-photos-will-do

Camera phone shooters listen up.

I'm a firm believer that its not just the gear that creates an amazing image. Its a photographers basic understanding of lighting, composition and creativity that produces a fantastic photograph. Basically, its who's behind the camera that makes the shot. Sure, if your camera technically cannot produce a clean clear, balanced image, then you're pretty much out of luck. Have you ever seen a camera phone image and thought "Damn! That's a killer photo!" and on the flip side, seen an image shot with a DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex) camera and thought it wasn't so good? I'll say it a hundred times... its who's behind the camera, not the camera. Cameras and lenses are there to enhance your photographic ability. They are not there to define your ability.

So, by shooting with a good DSLR, you get the flexibility of capturing great photos in the most challenging situations. But, in controlled environments the iPhone 5s will provide very useful images.

Below is a photo I shot of my little one with an iPhone 5s. Yes, I sang to her so she would sing back providing me with this funny photo opp.

I then extracted EXIF data from the original photo using a free iPhone app called ExifWizard.

For you techies, Here is the, straight from the iPhone 5s,  EXIF data:

Focal Length: 30mm
Aperture: f/2.2
Exposure: 1/30s
ISO Equivalent: 80
Pixel Width: 3264
Pixel Height: 2448
File Size: 1.66 MB

This little goofball princess was photographed next to a window (Camera left) which offered plenty of key light. I then pulled the photo straight into Lightroom and did some creative retouching in PS. I decided to edit this photo to show you what a camera phone photograph can look like retouched.

Before retouching, the image was a little soft probably due to the 2.2 aperture and slower 1/30s shutter speed (even with in-camera stabilization). Since the camera shoots naturally in "auto mode", you are pretty much at the mercy of the device. Still though, I think its an acceptable camera phone photograph.

There are several mobile phone manufacturers out there producing killer camera phones and Apple's iPhone 5s is up there with the best of them. I am not a seasoned pro at shooting iPhone photos but I have seen some brilliant work out there by uber talented individuals. These are individuals who have mastered composition, lighting and creativity. One individual I'd like to give a very honorable mention for his iPhone photography is Zak Stone. Zak produces some of the most amazing iPhone photography out there. His work will clearly define and support the basis of this writeup. To see some of Zak Stone's fantastic iPhone photographs, click this link www.instacanv.as/mr0tt.

Don't feel like you need a powerhouse DSLR to fulfill you photography passion. Just grab your camera phone and snap away! The more photos you take, the better understanding you will have of composition, lighting and creativity.

Take care!

-Von Burke

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) DSLR Lighroom Photoshop camera phone camera phone photography editing iPhone iPhone 5s iPhone photogrpahy photography http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/10/iphone-5s-photos-will-do Wed, 02 Oct 2013 23:34:33 GMT
Introducing the New York, L.A. & Northwest Looks. http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/9/introducing-the-new-york-l-a-northwest-looks When post processing my portrait photography I use many techniques for retouching. I process each photo manually giving me much more creative control over simply using "Actions".

Each look has its own vibe which gives clients a good level of flexibility when deciding on a style.

Thanks for taking a moment and checking out my sheet.

Cheers!

-Von Burke

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) L.A. New York Northwest Post processing creative editing photography portrait sepia tone unique http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/9/introducing-the-new-york-l-a-northwest-looks Tue, 01 Oct 2013 04:58:41 GMT
Scorpion Child melt faces with Wilson, Mothership and Kadavar! (Missed Weresquatch & Gypsyhawk) http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/9/scorpion-child-melt-faces-with-wilson-mothership-and-kadavar An unexpected surprise from Freeman Promotions gave me an opportunity to cover SCORPION CHILD and WILSON as well as some other killer bands.

I assembled my gear and headed down to Portland's Hawthorne Theatre.

(NOTE: Gear review and settings used following this entry)

HAWTHORNE THEATREHAWTHORNE THEATRE

WERESQUATCH opened the show with a fierceness that dug its nails into the walls of Hawthorne ripping this evening wide open! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to snap photos of these guys but I'll tell ya, that the crowd was bangn' their heads and holding fists high during this intense set!

Before WILSON stepped up I didn't know what to expect exactly. Yeah, I figured they would be killer but I couldn't imagine what I was about to witness...

HawthorneWilson

WILSONWILSON

WILSON exploded with a crushing sound that bellowed through the skulls of those to witness. Their sound was tight and reinforced by a stage performance like I've never seen before. The microphone must have been shaking in fear when front man Chad Nicefield took the stage. Chad belted out face altering vocals that left himself and all others in a frenzy. Beating his chest and pounding the air was not enough for Mr. Nicefield to convey WILSON'S message... it was time to get us involved! Chad leaped into the crowd, microphone in hand and proceeded to invite... NOOO... FORCE the crowd to chant with him. I had to dodge and juke as he stampeded through the crowd. Amazing! All this happening while the guitars of Jason Spencer and Kyle Landry shrieked in and out of our heads like unholy banshees. Throughout the night Matt Puhy on drums kept a fast thunderous beat, stripping layers of wood off, not only his sticks, but also from the foundations of the building. 

Bass player, James Lascu, is a master performer and from a photographers standpoint, a dream to shoot (w/ rear sync that is). He exudes great passion as he takes his gravity slaved stance and plucks the twisted metal fibers of his bass. This guy is truly amazing to watch on stage!

WILSONWILSON

One more surprise from WILSON.

At one point later in their set, just when you thought you had time to take a breath, Chad Nicefield runs out into the audience beating the crap out of a marching band style bass drum. Pounding the drum as if he was leading an army to battle. Simply amazing to witness and something I will never forget.

This was my first time shooting WILSON and I was amazed by how different, unpredictable and energetic their show was. Without a doubt I will be seeing guys again.

As the dust settled and the pools of sweat dissipated, another wave of energy was swelling.

Just about center stage, out on the floor stood Aryn Jonathan Black front man of SCORPION CHILD. He was making some final observations of the stage so I felt it was a good time to introduce myself and express my excitement to shoot their set. After a few words Aryn slung his arm over my shoulder, said "Thank you very much! We love killer photos brother", shook my hand and disappeared into a back hallway.

The room went dark and silhouettes emerged on stage. Humming of the amps signaled that it was time for SCORPION CHILD!

After the first opening seconds of the show I knew there was no slowing down and that I needed to be ready for each second of action these guys were going to deliver. Aryn's vocal range is superb which delivers a powerful and honest rock 'n' roll vibe that melds seamlessly with the overall SCORPION CHILD sound. SCORPION CHILD performed as if they were in front of twenty thousand fans, delivering a top notch opening that quickly got the house riled.

Frequently, Aryn demonstrated his appreciation for his fans by reaching out and giving the front row some love.

SCORPION CHILD had such an outstanding stage performance and at times I couldn't decide which member to focus on. This was truly a blessing.

Tom "The Monk" Frank caught my attention with his smashing guitar playing style and hyper energetic stage antics. Tom's rhythm guitar support adds so much depth to the sound of SCORPION CHILD and he's simply fun to shoot. Spend some time shooting this dude because he is gonna deliver!

Christoper Jay Cowart, Lead Guitar for SCORPION CHILD, slid by hammering out some intricate and crunchy tunes. Get close to the front monitors when shooting him because often times he will get right up and personal for ya.

Bass player Shaun Diettrick Avants was an elusive one this evening. Hat riding low and rockn' like the best of them. I sneaked backstage, entering Shaun's corner of the world.

Shawn Paul Alvear's technical percussion skills is devastating with killer rolls and patterns. His transitions are methodical and true mastery.

Rippn' and shreddn', bangn' and simply rock 'n' rollin.  What more can you ask for? SCORPION CHILD pulled out ALL the stops this evening putting on a memorable and fantastic show!

I will see you again my friends.

GEAR, SETTINGS and some TIPS from the pit!

Lighting at the Hawthorne Theatre is not the best in the world for photography. Pair low light with quick movements of many performers and you get a very challenging situation. Fortunately I was allowed to use flash BUT if I wasn't able to, I would have utilized the amazing ISO performance of my Nikon D700! Now, my choice to use flash was not really because of the challenged lighting... it was because I wanted to use a rear-sync technique that drags the shutter creating some really cool motion effects.

GEAR

NIKON D700

As mentioned above, I shot this show using the Nikon D700 which is a fantastic full-frame camera with a solid, usable high ISO range! BUT, since tonight was going to be a rear-sync kind of night, the ISO range was insignificant.

BLACK RAPID CARGO RS-5

My D700 was securely slung over my shoulder and across my body by the brilliant BLACK RAPID CARGO RS-5 strap! The strap is connected by a single point hitch that simply screws into the tripod mount. This style of mounting allows your camera to rest on your strong side hip (Right handed, right hip). There are two slider clamps that can "lock" the camera, keeping it from swinging freely as you are bending and moving about. The magnetic CARGO "flap" feature can efficiently hold an extra DSLR battery or mobile phone (Max phone size is something like an iPhone 5s.), several memory cards, business cards, drivers license and credit/debit cards. Well, thats what I used it for at least. So you can see how effective the cargo feature truly is. I do recommend adding the "Brad" mod to the RS-5. This is a piece that connects the front strap to the back strap keeping the shoulder pad from falling when you kneel down. A MUST HAVE! I honestly love this strap and overall BLACK RAPID produces KILLER gear.

TAMRON XR Di LD 28-75mm 2.8  

Tonight I wanted to try out a constant 2.8 zoom lens that doesn't get a lot of love. I'm talking about the SUPER affordable Tamron XR Di LD 28-75mm 2.8 zoom ($250-$300). People have said that it can keep up with the best of them so I had to give it a try. The lens is lightweight and has a good range for most situations. Focusing was quick and after snapping a few shots (f/5 ISO 500 rear-sync), I previewed them within the camera. After zooming the thumbnails I was AMAZED at the quality that this little POWERHOUSE produced! This lens performed excellent and the only negative thing about this lens is the fact that the lens "creeps" when pointed downward. "Creep" happens when the zoom mechanism cannot hold the weight of the lens and causes unintentional zooming. I found that, while my camera was at my side, the creep caused the lens to bang into things unexpectedly. Other than that, the TAMRON performed very well and if you are looking for a SUPER COST EFFECTIVE 2.8 zoom, this is a great choice.

YONGNUO YN568EX SPEEDLIGHT

Hey, why not try out this inexpensive ($170), third party speedlight?! Is it blasphemy NOT to use an SB series speedlight? Nahhh! I just had to know how this thing would handle the night, and to be quite honest, it did very well. The primary function was to supply enough light to capture motion for my slow-sync technique. I won't dive into all the features that the YN568EX comes equipped with but instead tell you how I used it. I extended the internal bounce card and I full throttled the power. I didn't want to blind the performers with direct flash so using the bounce card helped soften the blow. Overall the YONGNUO had plenty of power, was stable and recycled quickly. I was very pleased with the performance of this speedlight. The YN568EX would make for a great backup or simply an addition to a multi-speedlight arrangement.

SANYO ENELOOP RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES

I can't say enough GREAT THINGS about these rechargeable batteries! They are 2000 mAh little monsters that should be in everyone's bag! I came equipped with four sets of these bad boys and after several hours of flash (4+ hours), I still had juice in the last set. When fully charged, SANYO claims that they hold approx. 75% of their charge after 5 years! That's pretty amazing! Invest into some of these batteries and make sure you get a great quality battery charge/discharge unit such as the MAHA POWEREX MH-C800S. Its worth the investment.

TAMRAC M.A.S. (Modular Accessory System)

I like to stay as streamlined as possible with quick accessibility to critical gear. Backpacks are too cumbersome for me and they don't provide the access I need during quick fire events. I chose the TAMRAC M.A.S. system which is a padded belt setup with interchangeable zip cases that securely attach to the belt. The cases come in many different sizes to accommodate a variety of gear. Each mod can be placed anywhere on the belt. I used two cases during this show. One for an 80-200mm lens and another for my speedlight. Having gear at my side gave me a HUGE advantage over using a backpack. Holstered gear and camera slung to my side... MAN, I look like I'm ready for an assault. Hahahaha!

SETTINGS

I shot this show almost entirely using the rear sync method or often called "dragging the shutter". What this does is, the moment you press the shutter, the camera exposes the sensor for a set duration (1/5th of a second) capturing motion. At the end of the exposure, the flash fires just before the shutter closes freezing the very last moment of action, yet still capturing the motion trail. So how do you setup your camera to do this? Its simple! To access this mode (On Many Nikon's) you hold down a button (Marked with a zigzag arrow) located on the left side of the camera body, below the pop up flash. While holding this button down roll the thumb wheel on the back of the camera until the top LCD screen displays "REAR". Now set your ISO to around 300-500 and drop your shutter to 1/5 to start. I used f/5 so I could get sharp, frozen images. Experiment with the shutter speed to increase or decrease the motion blur. I used a speedlight for this effect but you can also use the on board flash.

TIPS

  • Obtaining photo passes can be tricky and takes a little bit of luck too. My advice is that requesting a photo pass will go a LONGGG way if you can offer value. "Value" can be in the form of representing your school newspaper, obtaining content for your website blog, representing a local venue or simply linking them to your portfolio and offering them royalty free photos. Band managers, TM's, Promoters, are way to busy to start making calls or emailing their peeps about a random person wanting to go into the photo pit. Show that you will be an asset to them. Another way is to get to know a local band, shoot for that band and have them put you down for a photo pass during future shows. Once you get your face known in these venues, ask the venue promoter if you can shoot for the house. Again show value! If they accept, this will open you up to all bands that come through that particular venue(s). Now lets say a medium sized to big named band comes through that venue and you snap amazing photos of them... well, now you can show value to that bands Manager/Promoter. Climb that ladder friend!
  • Respect, respect, RESPECT everyone in the house! Ask management what you can and cannot do. Compliment security for the hard work they are doing. Be polite to the fans and don't muscle yourself around. They may just save your ass in the pit one day... happened to me. While shooting a performer, if things are looking killer give them a thumbs up. They'll be stoked! People will want to help you if you show major respect.
  • If your going to shoot a band that you have never seen before, try and find out what they look like and what their names are before the show. You just might catch them in the back parking lot for a one on one photo. These are some of the best shots you can get.
  • Shoot A LOT. And try different settings. If you haven't done so already, force yourself to use MANUAL MODE. You'll have much better control over your images and plus you will feel a great sense of freedom!

IN CLOSING...

Well, I think that's it for this entry. I'm super stoked to be a part of such an amazingly diverse industry. I've met so many cool people and captured some fantastic moments. I hope this blog was helpful to you and that your journey is an exciting and memorable experience. Feel free to contact me anytime with any questions you may have.

Coming soon... GWAR!

Cheers!

-Von Burke

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vonburke@vonburke.com (Von Burke Photographer) Black Rapid D700 Eneloop Freeman Promotions GWAR Gypsyhawk Hawthorne Theatre Kadavar M.A.S. Mothership Nikon Oregon Portland Portland Oregon RS-5 Scorpion Child Tamrac Tamron Weresquatch Wilson hard rock heavy metal live music photo pass photo pit rock n roll slow sync speedlight tour http://www.vonburke.com/blog/2013/9/scorpion-child-melt-faces-with-wilson-mothership-and-kadavar Mon, 30 Sep 2013 04:31:35 GMT