Category Archives: Musicians

One Photo, Many Variations

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One problem I have with this photo is the glare over her eyebrow. I can’t fix it properly in Lightroom and I don’t know Photoshop well enough (yet) to be able to deal with it there. I’ve asked a friend to help me on the retouching.

In the meantime, one way to deal with that glare is to eliminate the eyes altogether – as beautiful as they are. I think this works quite well, though obviously a very different mood from the original.

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I Love To Shoot

One of the ways I know how much photography means to me …

Last night I was booked to shoot the launch party for HK indie band Operator‘s new CD, Observatory Road.  Three bands, crappy lighting, sold out venue (which meant I had little room to move around).  I didn’t get home until after 1 AM and I was exhausted.

Even so, I could not go to bed without first importing my photos into Lightroom and doing a quick check on what I got.

Ben Robinson, Operator

Ben Robinson, Operator

I shot 925 photos in 3 hours and on first past 282 of them I rate “okay” which means I’ve got a lot left to do …

 

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Shooting Again

After too long a pause, I found a subject to inspire me and went back into the studio again last night. The woman is Faye Wan, lead singer of Hong Kong indie band Hazden and a design student. Faye has a powerful voice and is also a warm and friendly person. I’ve shot her in concert twice and the band used some of my images in their recent CD booklet. I don’t believe she’s ever done any studio modelling before, but you don’t see (or at least I don’t see) very many Hong Kong women with this amount of ink on their body and I knew together we could create some great images.  Here’s the first, more to come.

Faye Wan, Hazden

Faye Wan

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Dr. Eggs Flyer

Yes, I know, once again it’s been a long time since I posted. I’ve just returned from a couple of weeks in the U.S., business trip, no chance to shoot anything of consequence. Here’s a poster for the HK-based group Dr. Eggs, using a photo from a recent session we did (although they subsequently added in one more person to the photo!).

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And here’s the current cover photo for their Facebook page, made up of photos I took at the same session:

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For more info on Dr. Eggs, check out their Facebook page.

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Rihanna in Macau

I’m now going to be writing and photographing for Music Weekly Asia, a web site out of Singapore. My first assignment was Rihanna’s opening night at the Cotai Arena at the Venetian in Macau.

I was really excited about this because, let’s face it, most of the “star” acts I’ve photographed have been ones who were heroes to my generation. This would be my first chance to shoot a current super star and I knew that under normal circumstances, I’d come away with great photos.  But these were not normal circumstances.

So I get to the Venetian (they comped me for the ferry tickets, too) and find my way to the media registration desk. I’m one of ten photographers there. We’re all given these over-sized blue vests with “Cotai Arena” written really big across the back. Our media passes are then pasted onto the vests – and we’re told we have to return the media passes as well as the vests. Normally you receive a laminated pass on a lanyard and it makes a nice souvenir of the gig, but not this time. Okay.

Then the PR lady leads us inside and takes us to the back, next to the control desk, on the floor, and we’re told this is where we will be shooting from. WTF? The opening act, a pair of DJs from Miami called We Are GTA, are midway through their set so it’s too loud in there to make any attempt to rationalize this with the staff.  So sure enough, once Rihanna hits the stage, we are behind the thousand or so people on the floor, all of whom are waving their hands – and their mobile phone cameras – in the air. And the longest lens I had with me was my 70-200mm F2.8 zoom.

You want to know how far away I was from the stage? Here’s a shot I took with my 50mm lens to illustrate:

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Does this make any sense at all? Does it allow the media to present the artist and the venue in the best possible fashion?

(By the way, I stand just under 6 feet tall. Many of the other photographers were definitely under 5 foot 6; I have no idea what kind of shots they got.)

I later heard from two friends who have shot shows there in the past saying this is always how they do it at the Venetian. One claimed that by protesting loudly and arguing with a manager that he was allowed to shoot by the stage. In my case, every time I tried inching forward, there was a tap on my shoulder telling me to move back again.

Well, when you are that far back from the stage, you can’t see expressions on the artists’ faces, you can’t try to time your shots at all. Holding the camera way above my head and using LiveView meant that I couldn’t shoot in burst mode – and LiveView on the Nikon means click, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, click ….

Most attempts to use the viewfinder resulted in shots like this

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or like this

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Fortunately, the Nikon D800 allows you to crop the hell out of shots and still have something usable. Right now, this is my favorite photo from the night:

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Not awful, but certainly nothing that will go in my portfolio.

You can click on over to my review at Music Weekly Asia,  where you’ll find my review as well as 20 photos from the evening.

I was asked if I wanted to shoot the upcoming Justin Bieber show. Actually, I would do it. I’ll shoot anyone. And even if they make me stay in the back, it’s a free ride to and from Macau and a free show. But I’ll be in the U.S. when he’s in Macau. I’ve written to the staff at Cotai to explain why how they’re managing this is a very bad idea, and I received a very polite note saying they would pass my message on to “the relevant people.”

I suppose that the next time I get to shoot at Cotai Arena I will try to rent a 500mm or 600mm lens and bring along a tall monopod!

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