Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

Music and pictures

Last night I went to see the Shim Sham Rebellion at 12 Galaxies. I knew a member of this band, Mark Schuh, from Blue Bear, as he taught my friend Christina's jam band workshop. Mark liked the photos I took there so much that he asked if I would shoot one of his band's gigs. I was planning to see them at Jupiter in Berkeley at the end of the month, but heard they were in SF sooner so decided to go.

The 12 Galaxies web site said doors at 8, show at 9, so I naively arrived right at 8 to find a completely empty bar; they weren't even letting people in yet. Mark came out after his sound check and said they weren't even going on till 10; there was another band before them. Not really wanting to wander around the Mission alone after dark, I went to a Walgreens a couple blocks away which was at least well-lit, hoping to find some magazines. I settled for a free paper from a kiosk and went back to the club, where it was of course too dark to read. I somehow kept myself amused until the first band, Crackerjack Highway, finally got started at 9:30.

Crackerjack was really good, kind of funk-jazz fusion with an amazingly rich sound produced by only four instruments. I was entertained that two of their covers were songs done in my Blue Bear workshops: "Freedom Jazz Dance" and "I Wish". Definitely worth checking out; they'll also be at the Red Devil Lounge next month.

Shim Sham finally went on around 10:45. I had secured a seat on the upstairs balcony to get a full view of the stage, but after the first song or two I came downstairs because it wasn't all that crowded on the floor and I saw that Curt (also from Mark's jam band workshop) had a seat near the stage. I had trouble setting the white balance correctly for the lighting; on auto mode, everything came out red. So I set a custom white balance, using the drummer's mostly-white shirt, being the only white object I could focus on from the balcony that was large enough to get a sample. The colors then tended a bit toward the green side, though I was able to compensate somewhat by adjusting further. If I shot in RAW mode I could edit even more offline, assuming I had the latest version of Photoshop (or Aperture), which I don't at home yet; regardless, I wanted to take photos more rapidly than that mode would allow.

The music itself was great. The genre was almost indescribable. Guest musicians included a trombone player and reggae singer. Mark's voice was very pleasurable to listen to. He also swapped instruments with the bass player toward the end of the set, which ended just a few minutes before midnight. Luckily I made it to the 24th St. BART before it closed, and also managed to catch the last Powell-Hyde cable car of the night. (Though they only went as far as the cable car barn, that was conveniently a half-block from where I would have gotten off anyway.)

I got over 250 shots. Coming home I found I had only 3GB left on my external disk where I store photos. After uploading about half of the shots I moved my old Final Cut Express folder with 60GB of data to my other external disk. Doing this while simultaneously choosing and cropping photos, with my backup program running in the background, was time-consuming to say the least. But I didn't want to go to bed without at least getting the shots onto my computer. Once all the files were in the right places and I'd chosen my set, I started the upload and went to bed at 2:30 a.m., on a worknight - bleah.

Mark liked the shots, and would like me to shoot more at his Jupiter gig, which he will pay me for. I haven't done a paid shoot before; I did some research on, but wasn't sure how applicable some of the fees mentioned on the business forums would be to an amateur using consumer-grade equipment.

I really can't decide how seriously I want to get into photography. On the one hand I've been praised by many for my photos, but on the other I feel like without investing in an SLR, lenses and accessories, and really learning Photoshop, I can't actually call myself a "real photographer". I guess that's kind of silly, but it's how I feel at this point. Editing video actually seems to come more naturally to me, but when shooting I prefer taking stills because I can discard as many as I want, whereas with video I'm generally working on a linear event with one or at most two cams and I need to use most of the footage I capture, so I feel like I can't afford to screw up. Still, concert photography, both still and video, is exciting, and combines my love of music with my budding multimedia skills, so may yet be worth pursuing.
Tags: concert, photography

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