Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Elton John concert from behind the lens

My view of Sir Elton John, during the first song.
I enjoy shooting concerts. I admit it. The music, the lights, cheering fans. I like all of it. Sunday's Elton John concert in Mankato was no different.

It's tough to really enjoy the moment when I'm trying to get as many good photos as possible in the span of a couple of songs in challenging lighting conditions. It's those challenges, though, that make it so much fun. That, and and the brush with fame, of course!

Most major performers will only allow me to shoot during the first two or three songs of a concert, then I'm escorted from the arena. Of course, those two or three songs are usually from a pretty sweet spot, usually right in front of the stage or near the sound board.

Sir Elton's people granted photographers two songs, one from in front of the stage and slightly behind him so we could see him and the piano, and one song about halfway back on the floor on the same side of the arena, about where the MSU Mavericks men's hockey team comes out on the ice. A reasonable arrangement, but like most concerts I have to find and shoot my photos quickly.

Monday's A1.
The big names in music, the ones who've been performing a long time, know the limitations they've placed on photographers, and some will work with me to make sure I get the photos I need, though it's rarely a formal arrangement. After waving to the crowd from our corner of the stage, Elton John nodded down at me and A.J., a SportPiX photographer and the house photographer for the Verizon Wireless Center as if to see if we got the photo we were looking for from his intro.

Once he sat down to play though it was all business, for both of us. During his first song, coincidentally titled "The One," I was looking for just that: The one good, clear, creative picture of Elton. After that I had a little time to play with lighting, take some wide and some close ups, the usual stuff. Our spot for the second song gave me the opportunity to shoot some of Elton John through the crowd to give some context to the photos.

I don't think these are the best concert photos I've ever shot, but I'm happy with the results. I do wish I would've taken a little more time with my edit and picked a different picture to lead the front page of our print edition, but I'm not unhappy with what I used.

Below is the photo gallery the Free Press ran on our web site. It, along with Mark Fischenich's story, can be found here.

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