It had been a while since I went to a Sofar, but saw a call out on Twitter and answered. I’ve got 7 other shows before this from about February this year to get through, but… what the hell 🙂
This time the venue was Vintedge again, but with less light! Even with the new camera and my f/1.4, the shots were very dark or grainy as I pushed the ISO into realms I seldom venture. I like some of the shots that came out, but many of them were too dark to rescue, or hampered by difficulty in getting a good shot around the audience or the items for sale!
So, after realising that starting to run into limitations of my camera with some of the light quality at the gigs, I’ve been looking for a new one! Steve, ever with an eye for a bargain, spotted that Harrisons had a bunch of Canon 5D MkIIIs on their 2nd hand list, so I wandered down and picked one up. (Ouch!) The next week, it occurred to me that the EF lens mount on the new camera wouldn’t fit the kit lens I had been using for anything that was too close for my 50mm prime, or the lenses I was borrowing off of Andy, so had to go back and picked up a 2nd hand Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Lens, pretty much just in time for this gig.
Sofar Sheffield this time had managed to grab the house of a local architect which was really impressive and provided a good large room, complete with some rather wonderful reverb (which Grim Falkner enjoyed, unplugging completely for one of his songs). The 5 artists, new kit and good lighting meant I ran a bit riot with the shots, taking 458 of them. Ouch! That was obviously quite a few to go though, but even so, I’m still surprised I managed to select and tidy up nearly 90 for this post.
My second Sofar Sounds, and this time I’d been invited along to photograph. Ok, queue ridiculous nerves and feeling completely unready for it! Oh well! Here we go!
The venue this time? Upshot Espress, a little cafe bar with about the same amount of space as Vintedge did at the previous one. This time though, I didn’t have Andy’s lens. Luckily, he also turned up with his camera so he could take the wide angle shot responsibility!
This was a much tougher gig to shoot. The room was reasonably filled, meaning moving around during sets was very difficult (in fact, I was completely trapped for Steve and the Sea, behind his mic meaning it was tough to get anything where it wasn’t in the way!) Also, an ask from the Sofar crew to get crowd shots was another additional thing to consider. Er… I photograph bands.. I’ve no idea what I’m doing with real people! Eep! Still, I think some of the audience shots came out really well.
When Laura Moody appeared with her Cello I breathed a little sigh of relief. Boy do I love photographing large instruments! (Shut in up in the back! 😛 )
My first ever Sofar Sounds, and what a wonderful little idea this is. Secret gigs around the world, no idea who is playing. Just sign up, and it will be held somewhere you wouldn’t expect there to be a gig. This one turned out to be in a tiny antiques store less than 2 minutes walk from Liz’s house. Perfect.
We turned up, camera in hand, and discovered a beer shop in the back. Even better. Then the line up? O Captain. Perfect 🙂 (I’m a bit of a fan boy..)
Anyway, because I expected it to be a bit of an intimate (i.e. tiny) venue, I asked a friend to borrow one of their bigger lenses. Although I love my 50mm F1.4 prime lens, it really doesn’t do tight spaces well! So, I ended up with a rather lovely Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 which, as you can see, did perfectly for capturing more of a sense of the room and the people sat watching. Luckily, because we got there rather eagerly, I managed to get a seat a reasonably distance back from the performance area, and raised up a little, meaning the 50mm had LOADS of room for capturing some nice shots.