Wow was it cold out that night, but I was thoroughly excited that I was going to get to shoot a show for one of my favorite bands! I’ve always wanted to get behind the barricade and shoot Less Than Jake since the first time I saw them back at Fredonia State University at the yearly Fred Fest. I was a junior at Dunkirk High School, and the entire event was packed front to back with people. The show and band blew my mind, and at that point I was hooked.
This is a band that has pounded the pavement for years. All together I’ve seen them 28 times, mostly throughout college, and hell once I saw them open for Bon Jovi… and you know what, they were better.
“Standing outside in a freezing blizzard isn’t doing much for me”, I was pretty much thinking out loud while I stood waiting for the ticket office at Rapids to get my press pass. I needed to get inside, not only because the show was close to starting, but also because I was freezing wearing just a hoodie… in a blizzard.
Usually at Rapids for a big show there is a pretty long line outside, but you could tell tonight that people who were still braving the horrid weather were slow to get to the show. That unfortunately wasn’t going to stop it from starting on schedule.
The first band to hit the stage was Chicago’s Flatfoot 56. Then the tried and true Samiam. The show actually progressed swiftly, and each band made their presence on stage punctually.
Finally Less Than Jake was about to hit the stage. I crowded behind the barricade with about 3 other photographers. I recognized a few familiar faces looking out into the crowd, but quickly it was time for me to focus on the job at hand.
Vinnie, Buddy, and Pete took the stage first, then came Chris Demakes, and finally Roger. As the band came together Vinnie counted them into their opening song “Gainesville Rock City”. The show was full of witty banter and post show party promises. The played all the favorites like “All my Best friends are Metal heads”, and “Johnny Quest thinks we’re sell outs”, not to mention some new and slightly more rare songs that regardless of the many times I’ve seen the band… I’ve never seen them play.
All in all it was a pretty exhilarating experience. Something that personally I’ll never forget. I’m pretty grateful for getting the chance to photograph this show, and I hope that my photos can tell a little bit of the story of that night!
For the shoot I used my Nikon D3000 with a Nikkor 50mm f1.8 prime lens. I set the camera into Manual mode and opened the aperture to f1.8, it’s widest setting. I also shot the entire show with a shutter speed of 1/30. When I first started I was afraid to crank my ISO settings because I was worried about having too much noise in my photos.. I decided after having such a problem with Flatfoot 56′s set and blur I decided rather than having a ton of blurry images, I’d crank it and shoot the rest of the show on automatic ISO, 100 minimum and 1600 maximum.
The gamble paid off. For the rest of the show I didn’t have much of a problem at all getting in focus on the band, or being creative and focusing in other things like mic stands and cymbals, to add some nice bokeh and blur into the backgrounds.
Setting my ISO so high enabled me to really pull some serious colors from the band members, including their instruments and lighting. I was really glad I decided to just go with it, instead of keeping myself frustrated with boring and blurry shots.
Biggest thing I learned from shooting this show was to not panic, to take my time, and to breathe. It’s true that you only get to shoot the first three songs before they usher you away from the stage, and originally I was worried that I just wasn’t going to have enough time… however if you just focus, and take it one shot at a time, you’ll soon realize three songs is more than enough.
If you have questions or are interested in licensing or using an image from this collection, please email email@example.com! All images are © Copyright 2012 Burn the Edges; All rights reserved. Seriously, don’t steal my work… just ask : ) You can also see more examples of my band photography here.
• • •
Support Burn the Edges!
If this article or any other content on burntheedges.com was helpful to you, please consider supporting this site by making a purchase through one of my affiliates: br>
Simply clicking through the links above will help me keep the blog going! Hey, and if you do get yourself some gear, drop me a line and let me know what you picked up!