Hatebreed: A Snakes & Ladders Journey

Posted: April 6, 2011 in Concerts, Hatebreed
Tags: , , ,
Now is the time for me to rise to my feet”
I Will Be Heard – Hatebreed
In my previous post, I learned the values of large apertures & pushing ISO which embodied me to use my 50mm 1.8D as my arsenal in shooting concerts. Along came Hatebreed who were scheduled to play at *scape Warehouse in Singapore last November 4, 2010. Hatebreed is a hardcore band and if you haven’t gone to a hardcore show before, expect pain. I mean literally pain. Watching a hardcore moshpit, it seems that fans get the priviledge to knock each other’s lights out & get to be friends. Luckily, the crowd in Singapore is less hostile than the crowd back home (Philippines) so having a DSLR in your hands is a bit safer here.
With all the expectations of a brutal onslaught, I packed light, bringing only my trusty D90 & 50mm 1.8D. Upon entering the venue, I noticed that there was no fancy back lighting. I can’t recall whether there was smoke machine either. Then reality struck me, this was a hardcore show, simple, straightforward, no BS. Too hot to shoot at wide aperture, I set my cam to Manual with the aperture wide open at f1.8 & shutter speed at 1/100 sec. ISO was set to auto but was limited to 1600. Metering was set at Matrix.

At the first 3 songs, I was shooting like a crazed trigger-happy lunatic. My shutter count since the show started was reaching 200 when I realized I needed to review my shots. Watching the LCD screen, flipping shots, viewing at 100%, zooming back & forth, I discovered that none was in focus. All 200 shots were wasted. Then I slapped myself & thought, how can I get perfect focus with me & the subjects running back & forth with a paper thin depth of field at f1.8?? I adjusted my aperture to 2.8 & started shooting again. I thought I was getting good results until I noticed that the performer’s faces, in which I set my focus, were all blown out. I tried exposure compensation but it didn’t do much fixing. Then I realized I set it at matrix metering. I then shifted to spot so I will only be metering at my focus points, which were the performers’ faces. Then the rest was a walk in the park. I was only able to nail my desired exposure at the last 2-3 songs as shown below.

Had to cross the moshpit on this one…


Lesson learned:
I should have nailed my exposure first before I danced around. Though getting exact exposure for concerts are close to ambiguous due its unpredictable lighting, I should have taken my baseline & worked from there. If I was an official photographer at that time which they normally give you only the first 3 songs to shoot from the photo pit, then I would have hid myself with shame from society. Luckily, my only client was myself & circumventing my mistakes did not cost me a fortune.

For my next post, I will be sharing my embarrassing experience when I went to battle with a tight crowd armed with a bigger gun & 3 prime lenses. Get those triggers ready for Deftones!

  1. Mark says:

    These are some of the best concert shots I have seen. Very nicely done and thanks for sharing. I think we’ve all had that same experience a time or two where you click away and then realize they’re all “off” because of some setting you forgot to check.

    • Ian Soliva says:

      Thanks for visiting Mark & thanks for appreciating my work! Yeah this is the beauty of digital age. It helps us get back on our toes without breaking the bank.

  2. QBAPOLSKA says:

    Welcome Ian
    Impressive frames – shots

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