Tuesday's Tips: Musical Genius

Randy Newman playing Piano during the PEN New England Awards with Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett and Allen Toussain at JFK Library in Boston, MA.  

Randy Newman playing Piano during the PEN New England Awards with Elvis Costello, Lyle Lovett and Allen Toussain at JFK Library in Boston, MA.  

Yesterday, I had the honor of photographing the PEN New England Song Lyrics Awards ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, MA.   The awards celebrate the work of singer/songwriters Kris Kristofferson and Randy Newman.  Elvis Costello was the master of ceremonies. Other music greats present were Lyle Lovett, T Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, Allen Toussain and Peter Wolf.

The challenge in covering an event like this is that you are faced with variety of locations and a mixture of lighting with no time to set up lights and no time to do custom white balances.  In one room, I was dealing with daylight and florescent light, in another room daylight and tungsten light.  I had to constantly analyze the available light and change my color balance and exposure.  The stage was lit with tungsten, so the camera white balance was tungsten, while the audience was mixture of tungsten and daylight . I went to the auto white balance as my setting.  Backstage was a mixture of florescent and daylight.  Here I was able to shoot using bounce flash on camera.  In all these situations, my camera is set on manual, and I am shooting in raw.

Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman Elvis Costello, and Kris Kristofferson at JFK Library in Boston, MA.

Lyle Lovett, Randy Newman Elvis Costello, and Kris Kristofferson at JFK Library in Boston, MA.

An event like this moves quickly and one has very little control over what is happening.  Backstage you need to get your photographs without interfering with the performers.  That said, this was one of the nicest group of people I have worked with.  It was absolutely wonderful to be able to talk with Randy Newman and Kris Kristofferson.

Another day of "I love my job!"

T Bone Burnett and Kris Kristofferson at JFK Library in Boston, MA

T Bone Burnett and Kris Kristofferson at JFK Library in Boston, MA

Rosanne Cash and Elvis Castello

Rosanne Cash and Elvis Castello

Whether it's legends of Rock and Roll,  covering the President ,a wedding reception, or a business meeting, the principals of covering events are similar.  It is important to capture the moments, read the light, be able to carry your gear and move around quickly.  

I work alone on this type assignment.   I carry a small Think Tank bag and work with this equipment:

2 Nikon D-800 camera bodies
Nikon 17-35 f2.8 lens
Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens
Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens
Nikon 16mm fisheye
2 Pocket Wizard TT5s
2 Nissin MG8000 Speedlights with sto-fen domes
Rogue small size flash bender
CTOrange Rosco filter
Green Rosco Fluorescent correcting Rosco filter
Rosco CTBlue Filter
Cinifoil
Extra Camera Battery
Extra AA Batteries
 

Kris Kristofferson and Randy Newman 

Kris Kristofferson and Randy Newman 

Rosanne Cash hugs Kris Kristofferson after Elvis Costello finishes performing. T. Bone Burnett on right.

Rosanne Cash hugs Kris Kristofferson after Elvis Costello finishes performing. T. Bone Burnett on right.

Kris  Kristofferson reacts as he is introduced.

Kris  Kristofferson reacts as he is introduced.