It was less then a week out from my first ever live photo event and I still hadn’t gone out and bought the proper gear to even shoot it. My two friends started an event promotion company in January called Second World Collective. They asked if I would do a free show for them to get experience and to help them cut costs. They promised future work, if it turned out well, and promised to “pay” me this time with beer coupons (not a bad trade off.) I remember searching through Kijiji (It’s a classified ad website used in Canada.) like a mad man, refreshing the camera section every 10 minutes. I was looking for a flash to mount on my Nikon D5000. Something preferably higher than a SB-400, but also nothing too professional, that way I could learn and not out grow it quickly. To my surprise, after less than a couple days of scouring I found a reasonably priced SB-600. It was located super close to my office at work, and he was able to meet at anytime. I managed to sneak away during my lunch break the Thursday before the show.
Now with my new flash, I quickly scooted off to my hometown in Cape Breton to spend a day or two with some friends. I figured it would be an easy way to get comfortable with my new flash and test out some settings in different situations. I wouldn’t have to worry about being awkward or uncomfortable around my friends at all, so it seemed like a perfect scenario. But as fate would have it, I didn’t account for the fact I hadn’t seen my friends in months and that they would want to drink. Being half Caper and half Newfoundlander I really have little no will power when it comes to refuse drinking in those situations (or at all for that matter.) So what was supposed to be a productive night of photography, quickly turned into drinking beer with some rowdy guys on the countryside of rural Cape Breton.
With Advil in hand I boarded the 9am bus Sunday morning (The day of the show) out of Whycocomagh, headed straight for Halifax. Not a single minute spent with the flash on my camera, other then the 2 minutes I tested it before I purchased it. I tried to spend the bus ride back researching techniques on how to use it and tips on how to shoot in low light bar situations. For the better part of that trip that’s what I spent doing. The other part was spent battling the urge to stay on the bus and just wind up somewhere. (Just another reason why I need this trip!)
When I arrived in Halifax I went straight to helping the guys at SWC. I helped deliver tickets to people and pass out some last minute flyers trying to do help with that last minute push to help make this the best show they put on to date. It didn’t leave me much time to gather some practice shots for the show at all. I ended up staying with them right up until the doors started to open for the show.
The show was held at Reflections Cabaret. It’s a smaller venue, but known very well throughout the Halifax area as a hub for great electronic music. They had recently relocated and it was not only my first time shooting an event, it was one of the first times ever being in the new building. I felt panicked, trying to remember all of small minute details from the blogs I had been reading in the days previous. Trying to remember ideal ISO settings, how to properly set the flash up, angles of the flash, when and when not to use my diffusor, and the best lenses for night clubs. I got into the venue roughly an hour or so before the first DJ was to hit the stage. That gave me enough time to set my gear up in the back, have a quick beer to ease the nerves, and take some shots of my friends who came along.
The first couple interactions with people as they poured in could be best associated with the same feeling you get when you go to a party with 1 friend, And they leave you to make really awkward small talk with strangers. So needless to say, there were a lot of forced uncomfortable interactions at first. Fortunately for me I am pretty good at make the best of those situations. After a while, when most of the crowd showed up, I was making people laugh and getting them to pose for me. People would tug me over to there friends, or tap me on the shoulder, or do something ridiculous to get my attention. On a side note, people will almost do anything to get your attention it seems. Never knew how many, presumably straight, girls would kiss their friend just for a photo.
Once the headliner (Party Favor) got up the entire place was into it, he had total command of the place. (I’ll link his Soundcloud so you get an understanding of how good this guy is). Everyone was having a good time, myself included. I basically had my camera out the entire show, right until the lights came back on after his electrifying set. I got a couple shots of my friends, promoters, and other people who had played with Dylan and my night was over. I spent an hour in the back with the DJ’s and showed a couple shots to the guys, soon after calling it a night.
I couldn’t of been happier with my photos turned out. The guys seemed really happy with them and they were a huge hit on their Facebook page. It was a great learning lesson, especially in the editing process afterward, even though it was an overall nerve wrecking experience I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Well I will be doing it again. The guys at Second World Collective just gave me the nod to shoot their upcoming show. They have TJR coming to Marquee at the end of August. So there will be plenty of Photos coming and another post reflecting on my time spent doing that shoot.
Check out a couple shots of the show