The Lucky Dutch
Welcome to the first post of Catching Photons. Each post will be based around one photography session and one main technical or creative aspect of photography. For the first post, I photographed a small concert gig at a pub in Chicago and will talk about how to deal with harsh, colored, low lighting.
I was at a friend’s birthday party the other day and met a couple who said they were in a band. Since I love doing concert photography, I asked if they would mind if I photographed their next show. The band is The Lucky Dutch, a Chicago based blues rock band. They played at the Wise Fools Pub in Lincoln Park.
Before they went on, their guitar player Nathan did a solo set. The stage was mostly dark, but what light they did have was a harsh pink. Nathan was standing in a pretty good spot lighting-wise with a nice sidelight, but the light was just so…pink. It wasn’t that bad in the originals but the photos needed to be lightened and the more I lightened it the pinker it became. The following is what photos looked like after being brightened.
Quite….pink. To fix it, I drastically brought down the vibrance and brought the saturation down a bit as well. This gave the photo a bit of an old-timey rock n’ roll look that fit the theme well and wasn’t nearly as pink. It still had a bit of a pink tint, but overall wasn’t so bad.
In some cases, there was just no way I was going to be able to color correct I converted the photo to black and white. If the photos was low on details, which often happened in the low lighting, I brought it into Topaz BW Effects and added a quad tone.
Things became even more difficult when the rest of the band joined. The sides and back of the stage were super dark, but that was where their keyboardist and drummer were. Like the photos of Nathan, these photos were quite pink. In some cases though, the darkness made the pink less harsh and I was able to keep the original color like in the following.
On the other hand, it was still rather pink so for the most part I converted the photos to B&W and played with them in Topaz. There were some cases where B&W just didn’t suit the photo and the color version was unfixable. In these cases I swallowed my pride and deleted the photo.
Things I did well: I’ve definitely improved on being able to quickly and easily play with my settings to fix the different lighting patterns of the different areas of the stage. My editing skills in making so-so photos look great has also improved dramatically since the last time I did concert photography. This was helped by downloading the 30-day trial of Topaz BW Effects.
Things I could improve on: My iso was way too high. I know it was dark and it needed to be high, but it seemed too high for even that. Unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to take my camera off iso-auto mode. I need to read the manual. That was kind of a rookie move.
My favorite part: The music. Seriously, The Lucky Dutch was an awesome band and played a good mix of originals and covers of all my favorite rock songs. You should check them out on Facebook and Twitter. I’d definitely like to try to photograph them again in a brighter setting where I’m not as limited by lighting.
My favorite photo:
You can check out all the photos from the Lucky Dutch show in the Flickr album.