I have been taking pictures ever since I was could afford film, around 1972 or so, I have probably taken more photos than anyone really should.
I was an artist in my youth but gravitated towards photography as I grew older, never going anywhere without my camera. Since I purchased my first digital camera in 1998 I have taken over 390,000 digital photos, crazy I know, last year alone I took over 65,000 shots and shot over 150 live shows.
In 1998 I became much more serious about the more technical aspects of photography, this was when I bought my first digital camera with a whopping .5 Meg file size. My first DSLR was a Nikon D50. At this time I was living off the grid in the middle of a forest and my my primary focus in photography was landscapes, wild flowers and wildlife. I spent many hours crawling around on hands and knees shooting tiny little wildflowers in the golden hours, one hour after day break and one hour before dark. You can see these photos on my nature website and blog http://whiterockstradingpost.wordpress.com/
I literally wore out my Nikon D50 in less than a year and replaced it with my trusty Nikon D90, and then a D7000 and now I also shoot with a Nikon D610.
One day on a whim I decided to photograph a concert. It was like true epiphany, I cannot fully explain the feeling of being in a photo pit and taking photographs of live music. One show and I was hooked, but I was lacking a fast low light lens required for concert photography. A few months later I made the crucial next step and bought the best concert lens in the world, the Nikkor f2.8 70-20 and a couple fast prime lens. And finally a year later I purchased a great fast wide angle lens, the Nikkor f2.8 17-55 wide angle lens.
The rest, as they say is history, in the last year alone I have shot over 130 bands such as Dave Matthews, Mumford and Sons, Paramore, Jackson Browne,The Black Eyed Peas, Jeff Beck, Elvis Costello, The Flaming Lips, Michael Franti, OK Go, The Allman Brothers, Mars Volta, M. Ward, Amos Lee, Rufus Wainwright, The Doobie Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, The Fray, Brett Dennon, The Wallflowers, Gogol Bordello, Thievery Corporation, Incubus, Ben Harper, Gomez, Ani DiFranco, Buddy Guy, Paolo Nutini, G. Love and Special Sauce, Gomez, The Wailers, Jacks Mannequin, Andrew Bird, Michelle Shocked, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, Devotchka,Cake, Matisyahu, Blind Pilot, State Radio, The Band of Heathens, Jackie Greene, Devil Wears Parda and many others.
L. Calvert Cooper
I am a not just a photographer, I am also a musician, I play blues/rock guitar, I am a music recording engineer with my own digital recording studio in my home and I am an audiophile as well with a vast music library, so music means a great deal to me. Trying to capturing the passion and emotion of a live performance is incredibly challenging, sometimes frustrating but always rewarding experience. The constant movement of the performers, the changing light patterns and the very brief time allotted to get your shot, normally three songs, make for a very intense experience, maybe as close to actually being totally present as I ever get, this is my passion.
I feel like I have a different perspective on a live show based on my own experience performing music, you can judge for yourself by looking at some of photos. I loathe the current industry standard 3 song rule ie. 3 songs and you’re out, most bands are barely getting warmed up by then and in my opinion sweat on the performers goes part and parcel with Rock and Roll, or any music played passionately for that matter.
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