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Date: 14 Oct 2005
Client: Filter Mag
Role: Photographer
Tools: Nikon D70, 28.0-80.0 mm, f/3.3-5.6
Info: iso 1600

When the Night Tucks You In

How does one bottle the energy of those type of autumn nights when the excitement is electric? Is it possible to document the experience of musical noise creation as well as on-stage camaraderie and showcase the moments in-between? All I knew is that I had to try.

On this Friday night, the audience buzzed with anticipation. Schubas Tavern was a warm and friendly corner spot that I frequented in the Lakewood neighborhood. I always felt cozy and entwined with the performances there. Since I had the freedom to document the entire night, I thought about the Ansel Adams quote, “You don’t take a photograph; you make it.”

28mm, f/3.5, 1/50 sec

In live event and concert photography, the phrase happy accidents is commonly used to denote a lucky snapshot–otherwise known as being in the right place at the right time.

The opposite of happy accidents can be considered pre-planning or taking into account the location, lighting, and subject...and patience. However, with live photography (as with life), even the best-laid plans go awry so finding a balance between having a plan while being prepared for the unpredictable would seem to be the most ideal way of documenting this sort of photographic memory.

Between the hours of 10 pm and 1 am, I patiently aimed to interweave life and energy into my shots in order to portray the story of the excitement of the moments that made up this somewhat messy yet visceral night. Since I was already so close-up, I used a range of focal lengths with a wide to normal aperture to further encapsulate the indefatigable intimacy and interactions.