What can get me out of the house on a Thursday night? How about seeing the first time Fever Sleeves and Swim Party share a stage? I chose to drink and chat with friends while enjoying Fever Sleeves’ set. It was quite death metal.
Sandwiched in between was Seattle’s X-Ray Press, who brought down Mike Sparks from Mister Metaphor and By Sunlight.
Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.
Mike gave me a few albums of his that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere. That was very nice of him.
These guys are pure math rock. It’s impossible to keep the beat straight when they do their best to confuse the rhythm. I think one metric to rate success in this style is by how well the group can sound as tight as possible while playing rhythms as random as possible.
Their CD makes more sense with each subsequent listen. I’m just beginning to enjoy it now.
After my last post, Natalie asked for more photo-geekery, and she’s going to get it. It works out well that she plays in Swim Party and I can embarrasss her twice with one post. Let’s talk about this photo:
The photo above has a few compositional elements that any beginning photographer will recognize. Placing the subject’s face a third of the way up and to the right of the frame, also known as a power point. It’s the quickest way to make an image more dynamic. The intersection of lines at the face also creates a strong lead for the eye to follow to the subject. I also tried to create balance by having Natalie be a big subject on one side of the frame and Petro being a small secondary subject on the other side of the frame. A small subject can balance a larger subject as if they were on a seesaw. It just depends where they sit.
Diagonal lines are much more powerful than straight lines. I made a choice a couple years ago to give my self a certain amount of freedom in tilting the camera to create more diagonals when I can make it adhere more closely to the other “rules” of photography. Besides the highest contrast line of the edge of the ceiling, there are also diagonals in the keyboard, beads, and mic stand. The mic stand visually closes off the top left corner, keeping the eye moving inwards towards the subject. I could mention the light stand, but they do the same thing compositionally. The keyboard and beads not only fulfill the same role, but they are made up of repeating lines, also a strong compositional element. Bonus: the keys’ repeating pattern points towards the subject, which is also interacting with it by Natalie having her hand on it, playing. This helps to relate foreground to background, once again drawing the eye through the image.
If we look at the high contrast areas of the scene, the dark subject is rimmed by brighter areas. Natalie’s face is set off from the background, in this case the light ceiling. Her right arm is set off by the bright light stand next to it. I could have improved this image a bit more by darkening the edges of the frame to draw the eye in even more. I could have added even more contrast, but my opinion is that effects should be too subtle to be able to point out.
Triangles are a strong shape in photography. The more you can incorporate into an image, especially ones that relate to the main subject, the better. I can count about 20 triangles in this image, thanks to having more diagonal lines by tilting the camera. You can see an obvious triangle in the ceiling, but there are also triangles in the lines created between the keyboard and Natalie, her arms and the keyboard, the mic stand and the edge of the frame, and the upper and lower parts of her left arm.
The color did not support what I was trying to achieve compositionally, so I chose to convert to B&W. I love the colors on this stage, but sometimes they distract from an image rather than adding meaning to it.
I have a bad joke about how important timing is to photography, music, and comedy. Basically, timing is everything. What the greats call “the decisive moment” is something that I’ll be spending my life trying to capture more often. No matter how expensive a camera is, it can’t do three incredibly important things:
1. Where to stand
2. Where to point it
3. When to click the shutter
In this case, I kept the camera low in order to achieve the framing I wanted. Ntalie was shaking a, well, shaker, so I took a few shots both on and off the beat to get different hand positions. I do this with drummers a lot to place their sticks where I want them, and with guitarists I try to get their fingers playing the better looking chord shapes. Power chords are good, G chords look like they’re flipping the bird, so I try to avoid those.
And yes, I go through this mental process with every photo. I know I’m beginning to get the hang of this because I spend less time thinking about it and more time doing it. Let’s move on.
Petro is awesome, by the way.
I couldn’t help giving him some hair.
On their own, the next three shots of Alex are fine, but as a tryptch, they work better.
Despite being a little soft, that last shot of Alex might be my favorite capture of him.
Should we talk about playing warm vs. cool colors, contrasting shapes and sizes, and setting the background brightness to provide context without stealing focus from the subject? No? Ok, then I’ll just let this photo talk about it:
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