May 28, 2011

Glen Hansard Plays the Met, 5.26.11

The other night I had another amazing opportunity to take pictures for the Spectrum, a great program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized by Christopher Gorman and Morgan Holzer.  I've previously taken pictures for their Guster and Duke Special concerts.  This time it was songwriter, Academy Award-winner and costar of the movie "Once," Glen Hansard (the broken-hearted-Hoover fixer-suckin' guy himself!), more commonly known as one half of The Swell Season, who played a concert in the museum's Temple of Dendur exhibit.

The show began with a walk through the museum's Guitar Heroes exhibit, which featured guitars and other stringed instruments crafted by John D'Angelico, James D'Aquisto and John Monteleone.  These were some beautiful instruments - works of art themselves.

The crowd then filed into the Temple of Dendur, an ancient Egyptian site that was moved to its own giant exhibit at the museum in 1967.  The temple was amazing in itself, but it also made for a beautiful performance space.  Once the crowd was settled, and had kicked back a few beers, Morgan Holzer and Christopher Gorman raffled off 25 hand-crafted gig posters designed by Hero Design Studio, a company from Buffalo run by Mark Brickey and his wife, Beth Manos Brickey.

Glen finally worked his way through the crowd, which by now was on its feet.  He played an amazing solo acoustic set, giving off more energy with a single voice/guitar than I've seen from five-piece, so-called "rock" bands.  At one point he invited a young kid named Donovan Dwyer onstage to play a song (Christopher Gorman asked him after the set if that was planned, and Glen replied that he didn't even know the kid - he just saw him next to the stage with a guitar and invited him on up).  Unfortunately I was in the middle of changing vantage points while all this happened, so my pictures of Donovan are a little blurry/shaky, but the moment was too great; I had to include a few shots.  Hansard finished up his set sharing the stage with Mark Geary for a song, and serenading the crowd a capella with an old Irish folk song.

Once again, I found myself incredibly lucky to bear witness to another night of amazing music, performed by amazing musicians, and put on by some pretty amazing people.  Also, by some twist of fate, I was asked to share my photos with Brooklyn Vegan, a very cool live music photo website.  It's nights like these that help me validate all the stress and early hours of working for a yearbook photo company (that and the steady paychecks), and inspires me to keep taking pictures.  Many thanks to everyone involved for the opportunity!

Anyway, without further ado, here are my shots from the night, including a hefty amount of HDR images.  Hope you all like!

Trying My Hand at HDR

After several years of trying, I've finally figured out how to make an HDR image (and by "figured out," I mean "downloaded a program that cranks them out with the push of a button).  Like a kid who can't put down his new toy, it's been hard to stop making HDR images.  Below is a gallery of images I've made in the past week or so.  I'm letting myself go a little nuts with these pictures now, trying to get the excitement out of my system before I make a bad habit of relying on HDR.  As cool as these pictures look, and as excited as I am to finally make them myself, I think it's important to keep the foundation of my work strictly journalistic.  Otherwise I'll start feeling more like Cary Elwes and his sell-out storm chasers with the fancy black SUV's than Bill Paxton and his ragtag bunch of purist storm chasers (thanks for the pop culture reference, Twister).  

That being said, I am still very much a fan of HDR images, and I look forward to making more (in moderation) in the future.  I'll keep updating this post as a sort of HDR portfolio.  Hope you like - enjoy!

May 18, 2011

From the Vault: Coldplay '08

The other night I was digging around my hard drive for an old picture (I consider "old" any picture dating back to before my great Photoshop-to-Aperture transition of 2009), and I came across these pictures of Coldplay performing for the Today Show back in the summer of '08.  This was right after I bought my first DSLR - before I had a website, or even a facebook page for my photography.  I don't often go through my old pictures looking to republish or repost, but in this case I'm glad I did.  I was able to polish up a few, and even include them in some portfolios.