Explorations

Rushing water from River Cave in Cave River Valley Nature Preserve on a foggy, rainy day.

After many semi-local photo adventures, I thought I would update everyone on some of my travels and projects that I have done in my spare time. I really love to get out and see the areas around me, and have made it a priority to experience and photograph them. It’s only fitting that I start with January, since it’s the last time I updated.

A barn in Greene County.

A barn in Greene County.

A home from the Civil War era.

A home from the Civil War era.

 

 

 

 

 

During this time, the snow started to melt and Travis took me on a tour of the back roads of Greene County, Indiana. I saw the Tulip Trestle (commonly known as “the viaduct”) and the Yoho General Store for the first time. This area feels like a well-preserved time capsule of America’s past, which you can envision from the photos.

Tulip Trestle.

Tulip Trestle.

Yoho General Store in Solsberry, IN.

Newly renovated Yoho General Store in Solsberry, IN.

The Punch Bowl at Turkey Run State Park on Trail 3.

The Punch Bowl at Turkey Run State Park on Trail 3.

Speaking of the past, when I was little, my family camped at Turkey Run State Park. A few years ago, we went back to canoe down Sugar Creek for the day and hiked during the evening. I hadn’t been there since then, until this year. I’ve been there three times this year already: a day trip in March, a weekend camping trip in May and another day trip in June! The day I went in March was very cold and the ground and trails were still icy. The rock slabs near the Punch Bowl were covered with ice and I was scared to straddle the slabs in my new hiking boots because if I had slipped, my feet would go into the rushing stream underneath me. The rocks were cold and I didn’t have gloves, but with some help from Travis I was able to cross this tough part of the trail.

The ladders at Turkey Run State Park.

The ladders at Turkey Run State Park.

Then in May, a few friends and I camped for a weekend. I’m fairly certain that the first night almost hit the point of freezing but it had warmed up after that night. I even canoed down the creek that Saturday in a tank top since it was so warm. But every day we would hike tough trails all day and relax by the campfire in the evening—standard camping activities. We turned into gourmet camp chefs by cooking bacon-and-cheese covered bacon cheeseburgers, as in bacon and cheese was also infused in the burger. We did a LOT of hiking so it was worth it. We also cooked hotdogs and placed them in our grilled cheese press that we then toasted over the fire. The consensus was that cheddar beat American cheese.

Highway Bridge over Sugar Creek.

Highway Bridge over Sugar Creek.

But anyways, Sunday rolled along and we were about to do our last hike. We parked at the park’s inn and I started to pull out my camera from my camera bag. I knew the bag was slightly unzipped, but I thought the camera would be fine. Well, I had swung my bag a little too fast and my camera fell out. It hit the ground which broke the polarizer and LENS, a new Canon 18-135mm lens I had just bought before the trip! I was devastated, frustrated and just mad at myself. My friends sympathized with me and felt awful. The polarizer cracked all the way across, and the glass piece of the lens popped out of the lens barrel. I couldn’t bear to look at my lens for a while after that, it brought back painful memories.

The grounds of West Baden.

The grounds of West Baden.

Inside West Baden.

Inside West Baden.

So I was stuck with my Canon 7D camera and my 40mm pancake lens, not sure yet of what to do with the broken lens. The opportunity came up to travel to French Lick and West Baden with my mom and her boyfriend, Steve. I hadn’t been to that area before, so I was curious and wanted to see it, even though I only had the 40mm lens. For photos that I wanted to take with a wider lens, I used my iPhone 5, since it’s fairly nice and I still wanted to capture photos. The scale of the buildings of French Lick and West Baden are so grand that I HAD to use my iPhone, but even then it does not show how massive the dome of West Baden actually is.

French Lick.

French Lick.

After hitting up the hotels and the casino (It was my first time gambling in a casino. I lost money on slots.), we went to the German Café for a hearty lunch where we had platters of sausages and potatoes. My mom’s side is probably completely German and we have some family recipes but we don’t make the food often, so coming to this restaurant gave us a heavy dose of authentic German traditions and culture. The owners of the restaurant came from Germany and brought over as many German decorations as they could send, decorations of which they found at yard sales in their home country.

Old quarry off the back roads of south-central Indiana.

Old quarry off the back roads of south-central Indiana.

During my time in the towns of Paoli and French Lick, I learned a lot of cultural history of the area, the springs and the hotels. I thought the terrain of the area would be flat, boring and all farm fields. I was wrong. It was super hilly, lush, green and it was a pleasant surprise. Later that day, we went to Cave River Valley Nature Preserve to see River Cave which is part of the Blue Springs cave system. After a long hike down a steep gravel trail, I came upon a grassy meadow. In this area there are old abandoned cabins, washrooms and shelters where boy scouts have camped. The rushing stream runs through the middle of this meadow. I followed the stream to its source, which is the entrance to the cave atop the waterfall. It’s still closed due to the white-nosed bat syndrome. For decades the area was privately owned but now Spring Mill State Park owns it and seems to be preparing it for more public use in the future. I knew that eventually I would come back here to properly shoot it.

The moon rises over Lake Lemon.

The moon rises over Lake Lemon.

A couple of days later and after a lot of online research and time spent trying to finagle the glass piece and the barrel of my lens, I shared my troubles and research with Travis. We bought some tiny screwdrivers then hunkered down and got to work. He finally fixed it, and I was over joyed! The night he fixed it was the night we had made plans to photograph the Camelopardalid meteor shower. Once he put the lens back together, we were on our way to Lake Lemon to shoot the stars, and hopefully some meteors. This wasn’t the first meteor shower we have gone out to shoot; we saw Perseid meteors in Tennessee last summer as well as at the fire tower at the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area. So we sat and watched for meteors at Lake Lemon, but we didn’t think it was as much of a shower—or storm—as news sources said it would be. This night I wasn’t lucky enough to capture any meteors, but I finally got a shot of the Milky Way, which was just as exciting to me!

Milky Way.

Milky Way.

With my new lens back in working condition, I was antsy to shoot landscapes on landscapes. I took photographs of my friend’s family’s property when he hosted a Mario Kart party. (It’s an awesome game but I wasn’t that good, even with my Mario Kart 64 skills. I need more practice!) His uncle has a vacation home in Owen County on a small farm in the country which offers a beautiful view of the landscape.

Owen County countryside.

Owen County countryside.

Then I took my camera on a trip to Yellowwood State Forest (NOT Yellowstone). Like most of the places in this post, I’ve not been there before! It was a nice, warm day and I got some great shots of Yellowwood Lake.

Yellowwood Lake.

Yellowwood Lake.

Looking back at Yellowwood Lake.

Looking back at Yellowwood Lake.

Next came another trip to Turkey Run, and it felt like it was coincidentally on the hottest, most humid day of the year thus far. Luckily, some of the trails went into cooler canyons and provided some great, foggy photos. I’ve trekked a lot of trails here, and a couple of trails twice at this point, but after this trip I’ve almost completed every hike in the park! It feels like a great accomplishment, I think I have only one trail left…

Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park.

On July 2nd, Travis chose to hike the Peninsula Trail at Deam to Lake Monroe for his birthday. This was a trail I had been vying to go on for a couple of years, and at this rate with all of these other trails under my hiking boots, I knew I could handle it and was excited to hike it. It is 4.8 miles one way, so 9.6 miles altogether, which we had to do on a hot day! Because we are trail troopers, we made it to the lake (and back!). I had always imagined that the end of the trail would land on a pretty part of the lake looking west, and it does! It’s a rocky shoreline but fun to step on barefoot since the rocks are small and smooth.

Lake Monroe shoreline on the Peninsula Trail.

Lake Monroe shoreline on the Peninsula Trail.

There are camp sites dotted here and there, and someone before us had made couches out of giant rock slabs! It was realistic-looking as well as comfortable! We went on a day when the clouds were perfect, white and puffy like cotton. We both got great shots of the area including a timelapse for Travis to add to his personal timelapse project. I wanted to stay longer, but we knew we had to try to get back to the truck before sundown. We finished the night off with a Longhorn Steakhouse dinner (Travis’ favorite, and fortunately his birthday meal!) and it was so amazing and I was so hungry; rolls, salad, broccoli, buttery mashed potatoes and an 8oz. filet all eaten up by me! This day seriously couldn’t have gotten any better!

Looking west off of the Lake Monroe shoreline at the end of the Peninsula Trail.

Looking west off of the Lake Monroe shoreline at the end of the Peninsula Trail.

The next day we went to Solsberry to watch and photograph the fireworks. I think there’s only one stop sign in Solsberry, but these two streets that intersect were PACKED with people and cars! It’s such a tight area but it seemed like everyone in the county and surrounding counties came out to see the show. The normally quiet Yoho General Store was the epicenter of activity. It pulsed with country music over loudspeakers, and people crammed the building and surrounding area as they buzzed about and picked up food from nearby stalls and food trucks. We found a spot parallel to the store and sat on top of a hillside to best see and photograph the fireworks. The wind conditions were just right for the smoke to clear the area as the fireworks shot off, and the night wasn’t hazy or cloudy so our visibility was clear and our photos were awesome.

Palm Tree.

Palm Tree.

Firework Bursts

Firework Bursts.

My childhood home.

My childhood home.

After that weekend, I had taken a long break from photo adventures partly due to the fact I had to prepare myself to move out of my apartment and back to my mom’s house, and then she sold our family home to downsize, so thus I moved again and helped her with that. In June, she had fallen and broke her wrist and during the time of the move she wasn’t able to lift more than 20 pounds. Once we started settling in, I went out to the lake to shoot the Perseids meteor shower and took my friend Isaiah with me. Again, we saw some meteors but I hadn’t captured any on camera. The moon was just barely full since we had a super moon the night before and I think this created too much light for my camera. Although I couldn’t shoot any meteors, we took the opportunity to create some portraits of one another. I even came up with an idea for a later photo project on the ridge next to where we were. So hopefully that is soon to come.

Me.

Me.

Isaiah Ashba.

Isaiah Ashba.

Last but not least, I felt like I needed a great location to capture, a photo I wanted to submit to the Kelley School of Business photo contest. The contest was open to students, faculty and staff of the school (of which I qualify as a staff member) and there were 4 categories: Travel, Landscape, Kelley/IU Life, and Miscellaneous. The contest allows you to enter one photo for 3 categories only. I had thought about what photos of mine that I should enter, but I really wanted something new and different from what I had. I decided to go back to the Cave River Valley area and shoot the cave and stream again, since I knew I wanted to shoot that location again anyways. The day I chose to go was very humid and it rained as I drove down to Mitchell, IN. I had Google Maps on my phone but I didn’t have the address to the cave, I just used my recollection of how we got there the first time and didn’t have any problems driving to it. I hiked back down the gravel path with my zip-up hoodie covering me and my camera bag, and I held onto my tripod in one hand and umbrella in the other. I made it to the stream and took some long exposure shots of it (with a new polarizer since I cracked my previous one) all while staying under my umbrella. I was very patient with moving from one angle and location to the next, since I had a lot to juggle and risked my camera getting wet by either the rain or the stream just by being there. The humidity poured out of the cave and rose above the lower stream and created mystical photos which worked to my benefit and added to the scene. The moss on the rocks and logs seemed to glow green and overall the images turned out beautifully! I chose the featured image of the blog post (it’s also the last photo in this post) as an entry to the contest.

Looking downstream from River Cave.

Looking downstream from River Cave.

Looking back on all of these adventures keeps me empowered; I get to see where all I’ve been and how I’ve grown and developed through the journey. I’m lucky that I get to photograph it all, share it and keep the memories in my mind and my digital scrapbook. So far, the year has brought many fun opportunities to explore and I hope that they keep coming! Thank you for reading such a long post, and keeping up with me on this trail of sorts!

Rushing water from River Cave in Cave River Valley Nature Preserve on a foggy, rainy day.

Rushing water from River Cave in Cave River Valley Nature Preserve on a foggy, rainy day.

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Do the Dew. Do the Dream.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

Have you ever wanted to ride a BMX bike down a slip and slide, hit a ramp, launch into the air, do a flip, and land in a 12 ft. deep pool? Did you not realize you wanted to do that until just now? On September 27, I got to film that stunt alongside Devin “Super Tramp” Graham and Parker Walbeck at Ohio Dreams Action Sports Camp for Mountain Dew.

For over a year, I have followed Devin Super Tramp on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram because I’m always impressed with the videos he pumps out every week on YouTube. From ziplining/highlining/rope swinging from canyons, to videogame reenactments, to human catapults in the mountains, to snowball fights, to flyboarding, to luging through city water systems, to playing with puppies, the Super Tramp videos are creative, fun, captivating and blood-pumping. They feel very personal yet also like they’re just beyond the audience’s reach.

The videos were shot in Tahiti, Hawaii, Utah, Los Angeles, Africa, Maldives, etc. and viewers dream of being on these shoots. They enjoy the virtual experience through YouTube just as much as the people shown in the videos. If you’re lucky, Devin and his crew may travel to a location near you, blast it on social media for all to come, and you’ll be able to take part in his adventurous world of YouTube videos that you’ve dreamed about.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

I was fortunate enough to get this chance, except I wanted to help create this experience behind a camera and be on his set, which is more of my dream than actually doing the stunts in front of the camera. That dream became a reality for me, but I didn’t know my dream would end up being in Ohio.

With only knowing the day before that I would help him shoot, I had gotten in an hour of sleep and was on my five-hour road trip to Butler, Ohio at 4:00 a.m. I don’t remember the last time I was on the road that early, but I would guess to catch a flight. I had never been to Ohio, so I was eager to see that Butler was in a hilly section of Ohio, much like Bloomington is in Indiana.

My boyfriend, Travis, took it upon himself to drive me to and from the shoot, so I could get more sleep and be a bit more rested for a day’s worth of shooting. (The fact that he’s a big Super Tramp supporter probably influenced his decision as well.) The sun rose as we passed through Columbus. By the time we got to Butler, it was a clear, bright day but a bit chilly. Nestled into the hills and gleaming from the sun, the white launch ramp could be seen from the road. It sat behind the still, blue swimming pool that would soon be disrupted from thrill-seeking slippers, sliders and divers.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

Courtesy of Travis Mintier, Photographer.

When I arrived, I got to meet Devin, Parker, Creighton and the rest of the Super Tramp and Ohio Dreams crews. The idea for this video actually came from a fan, when Devin publicized his Mountain Dew Road Trip tour information and location callout contest; a road trip for the fans, by the fans, if you will. I scouted the pool and slip and slide areas, equipped up, and filmed the entire day under the sun on this last Friday in September.

A bunch of people came from all over the Ohio area to bellyflop in bikinis and cannonball in costumes. It was pretty thrilling to be a part of this experience and film this adventure, both of which I am grateful for.

I had a lot of fun meeting people, making connections and of course shooting some visuals especially since it’s for a high-caliber YouTuber such as Devin, whom I admire greatly for not only filming but directing and producing these shoots as well, and of course for his business and marketing skills. And Parker, for his equally awesome camera work and his crazy-cool and hardworking editing. Not to mention Creighton, for his super friendliness and spirit, as well as his cable and rope work (even if sometimes it’s not feasible to rig up in time due to whatever reason). I’m so glad something this fun to shoot came to the Midwest and I can’t thank you guys enough for having me help film it and I’m glad you used my shots! The video turned out amazing, and I’m always free to lend a hand, a camera, a battery, a slider, a lens cloth, a towel to dry off equipment with, etc., etc… Hopefully I’ll see you all again in the near future! An Indiana girl can only dream, again.

#DEWroadtrip #OhioDreams #IndianaDreams? #MakeDreamsHappen #wordpressdoesnothavehashtags

Tennessee Vacation

Smoky Mountains.

One Sunday in August, I browsed through Instagram and saw that my friend had loaded his car up for his vacation. I knew he had this trip planned, but I didn’t realize he was going solo, just to take photos of mountains and night skies. I didn’t have any shoots or obligations for the week, so I took advantage of this opportunity, with his permission. That night, I packed my bags and left at seven in the morning to meet up with him in Madison, Indiana to travel with him to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

How refreshing it was to go somewhere I have not been, on this trip that was already planned out, just to go photograph mountains, skies and whatever adventure we decided to seek out. It honestly could not have panned out any better for us. We drove through Kentucky and Tennessee and I was sight-seeing the whole way down and back, taking in the landscape. We stayed in Pigeon Forge but hardly spent any time there; we hiked in the mountains for the majority of our time but explored Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge tourist attractions at night. We went to a couple of shops just to browse, and the only official souvenir we bought were pressed pennies that you crank and press by yourself. Our other souvenirs were more random but personal findings from along the trip, as well as a bunch of photos. We were fortunate enough to photograph a black bear and three cubs, lightning from a nearby thunderstorm, butterflies, trails, horizons, shooting stars at night and the “smoke” of the mountains –the dense fog.

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I was pretty much “unplugged” for the trip and tried keeping it that way. However, I decided I wanted to capture my travels and share my “selfies” with my friends on Instagram and Facebook but instead of using myself, I chose to use a finger puppet I won at the fair the week before the trip. The puppet is a tiger named Albert, named after Albert Einstein, and he’s framed in my iPhone to appear as if he is the one taking self-portraits in front of tourist attractions, in a sense to mark his territory or showcase where he has been. I ended up enjoying this small project enough that I have used him on other trips after the Tennessee vacation. I know it sounds weird, but let’s be real, you would rather see spontaneous tiger selfies instead of my face plastered at tourist traps. #TravelingAlbert doesn’t have a purpose, it’s just a photo thing I decided to do. (You can follow him on Instagram #TravelingAlbert.)

When it’s all said and done, even though I do photography/videography for a living, it doesn’t feel like “work” even when I’m on vacation. I still love capturing memories with beautiful imagery and feel lucky that this is what I do anyways as my job. I could go on some more about my vacation but will keep this simple, and filled with photos. If you have any questions or comments about my trip and want to know more, feel free to ask!

A few more of my photos (not Albert’s) can also be found on my Flickr account.

A busy year.

I admit I haven’t been updating this as regularly as I need to, but that is because I have kept busy working on lots of projects. However, I do want to post an update of what has happened during this busy time.

For the past year, I have worked for the Kelley School of Business as a Multimedia Specialist where I am currently deep into the world of video, which I hadn’t been before. I shoot photos and videos of panel discussions, case competitions, guest lectures, marketing projects and school events.

Most of our videos are created for the Global Leaders Network, which is an academic resource for Kelley faculty, students, alumni and guests. Some videos are uploaded to the school’s YouTube accounts, which I help manage, and here are a few examples of videos that I have edited:

I have also blogged for BtownMenus.com, a Bloomington delivery service, and reported on area restaurant’s deals on food.

I have worked with BloomingtonOnline.net and had the opportunity to photograph the 2012 Homeward Bound Walk for Homelessness as well as the Monroe County Fair.

Then there is the greatest melodic death metal band, Starkill. I say the greatest because they’re the only band I listen to in that genre. I photographed on set of a couple of their videos produced by Perfect Cut Productions this past winter. It was a bitterly cold, long weekend in January but shooting these guys with the PCP crew was worth it.

Earlier this spring, I photographed a musical produced by the Edgewood High School’s theater department.

Finally, I must showcase the portraits that I have taken of my friends that they requested of me for professional or personal use.

I’ve certainly learned a lot in each experience and hope to see more challenges and opportunities, as long as it encourages growth. Here’s to another year of more fun places and people to document.

Lights, Camera, Exercise.

Shooting a music video on the roof overlooking Rose-Hulman's football field.

Video production.

Although I was in media-related majors, I didn’t have production classes in college; I had basic shooting/editing projects in an Intro to Journalism class. This past weekend, I got to see and learn how Perfect Cut Productions produced a music video for Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Sports and Recreation Center. I felt completely useless because I didn’t know how to assemble anything on set and would have hindered the crew further behind schedule, but that’s not what my job was anyways. Instead, I spent each day photographing behind scenes. I shot the crew at work and of their candid moments, images they could use for marketing/advertising purposes.

The whole crew: Nick Maudlin, Evan Richardson, Lorne Golman, Steve Mech, Michael Bennett and Alex Guevara.

Music, Red Bull and a blurry haze of exhaustion

Key elements needed for production sets that I learned: Red Bull, iPod/stereo, candy and chips. These provisions fueled the team for the 15-hour workdays and were much appreciated by everyone. Shout-out to Perfect Cut for the transportation, snacks and meals such as dinner at the local Mexican restaurant.

Sure, a music system of some sort is obvious for the set of a music video, but an upbeat, energetic and comical playlist helps heighten the crew’s work ethic and overall mood throughout the day especially when the days drag on and the tensions through exhaustion begin. If I could create a playlist for this post that would match what we rocked out to, I would. However, WordPress doesn’t have that sort of technology, I don’t think, so instead I’m going to include turquoise, italicized links for you to check out as you read to get an idea of what we used as motivation and inspiration.

Possible scene from "Silent Hill"

On the first day we drove up there, Friday the 17th, the entire drive seemed like we were in the movie, “Silent Hill,” because of the dense fog we tunneled through along the highway. Eerie.

The first day had scenes that included cool hand scanners, a faculty basketball game, Rose-Hulman’s elephant tusks circa 1959, the Vince Lombardi Trophy won by Super Bowl XLI Champions the Indianapolis Colts, elephant mascots and “Gators,” the men’s varsity locker room and finally a night-time jib shot of the building’s entrance at night complete with hyped students and Steve Mech, our talent for the video.

Night shot in front of the SRC.

The GoPro camera makes an underwater debut.

For Saturday morning, we started off with high dives at the pool. Lorne, the director, changed into his SCUBA equipment and shot Steve underwater. Steve, who was wearing weights, said, “I’ve always wanted to do this after seeing Pirates of the Caribbean,” and began walking underwater from a five-foot depth downwards to about eight feet.

“This is the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow, pirate so brave on the seven seas.” –Michael Bolton/The Lonely Island

Next came shooting a pick-up football game, the catwalk above a conference championship track meet, a fluid mechanical engineering lecture, cheerleader stunts and we finished on the roof overlooking the football field at night. I hope Steve conquered his fear of heights by this point. Before this night, I don’t recall ever seeing a silent and reflective group of guys. The roof, the football field, cold weather, a clear night sky and “Paradise” by Coldplay on blast makes for a humbling, thoughtful moment we got to experience both individually yet together.

Sunday was our final day of shooting—a frigid wind chill morning where we had to shoot outside in front of the SRC. Later we shot the weight room which included lifting weights and running on treadmills.

“I-I-I work out.” –LMFAO

We proceeded with shooting racquetball, karate, swing dancing and dance aerobics. Even with the usual down-time here and there, I feel like it was quite an active day.

Rose-Hulman's dance aerobics club dances to "Jai Ho."

Group critique.

Now to wrap up, I really enjoyed being on set and watching video magic happen, making new friends with the Perfect Cut team, and having access to basically wherever we wanted at Rose-Hulman’s SRC because it gave us really cool location/shot opportunities that I know will make this music video interesting and quite frankly AWESOME. Also, much thanks to Michael, Nick and Alex, the guys in the background who continuously assembled and disassembled the lights and hauled the equipment. Without them, we literally wouldn’t have gotten around, and I wouldn’t have such sweet lighting in my set photos.

Once Perfect Cut edits and completes the video, I’ll post it in another blog entry, so please be on the lookout for that.

And as always, go to my > Flickr < account for extra pictures, because you won’t want to miss them.

Side view of Rose-Hulman's Sports and Recreation Center.

. . . Pt. 1

[Dot Dot Dot Part One]

It was the fourth of December and I was with some friends at a bar, The Bluebird, for Dot Dot Dot’s concert; I think I have seen about five of their shows on various occasions. Chicago-based Dot Dot Dot plays a set that includes original songs such as “All Be Alright,” “Smile” and “Stay,” and covers current and past hit songs like “Poker Face,” “Yellow,” “Footloose” and even Nintendo ditties; their punky stage style balances out their charming pop songs and personalities. Dot Dot Dot performed a great show, which paired nicely with a couple of blue Dirty Birds down the throat and a couple of good friends dancing along by my side.

During the concert, one of my friends had tweeted Dot Dot Dot and tagged me in the tweet as well. When Dot Dot Dot read it later, they approached me on Twitter for an opportunity to photograph their “winter formal”-themed show at The Bluebird on January 28, a show planned and pulled together since. [Plog coming soon]

Friends enjoying 15 cent beers at The Bluebird.

In preparation for that show, although I will mainly be taking fan portraits, I went to The Bluebird to see Dot Dot Dot again to basically practice photographing inside the venue and check how my Sony DSLR works with the rapid, colorful changes of stage lighting. Luckily they had a show January 11 before the winter formal, and it fell on a day of two friends’ 21st birthdays and they both wanted to go to the concert. Also, it was on a Wednesday and no one can beat 15 cent domestic beers!

And so I went to the show and chatted with my friends and photographed the band. I always feel like I have a “warming up” period of shooting where I am adjusting to the environmental conditions and testing out various methods of shooting such as longer exposures, fast-action speeds, etc. For me, this shoot was experimental and new.

Little Lisa.

Concerts are difficult to photograph because of many factors: the stage, the lights, the fog machines, the crowd and the angles of everything. The Bluebird is dark and dimly lit but has overpowering, bright, saturated stage lights. In order to switch it up I took photos at various spots surrounding the stage, including from the room that looks onto the stage, the middle, elevated platform, and atop benches against the walls. I was not going to barge my way and intrude upon anyone that drunkenly claimed their territories by mounting themselves front and center of the stage. But for the second set that Dot Dot Dot played, one kind person moved and offered me his spot at the front brink of the stage, where I was able to capture photographs directly under Little Lisa as she kicked in her knee-high boots.

It takes as much preparation to plan to get shots or it is just luck. When I say preparation, I mean everything from charging batteries ahead of time and bringing extra memory cards, knowing how the lights will move and change at certain parts of certain songs, to seconds-before-the-action-knowing what apertures and shutter speeds to set for predicting a performer’s physical movements. Since I am mainly photojournalistic in how I shoot, it works to my advantage in this case because I know I do not have control over the elements of the scene, much like in photojournalism, and that is where I am beginning to see the difference between photojournalism and photography. Concerts are tricky to shoot, but working around variables adds to the challenge and the fun of shooting performances.

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> More DOT DOT DOT photos on Flickr <