Smart Brothers at Dirty Boulevard Recording Studio, 3/26/11

Ian asked me back to shoot another podcast recording session, this time with the Smart Brothers.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-004

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-018

The songs they played were folksy and Americana-ish, but then again, this was an intimate performance, maybe nothing like one of their Casbah shows.

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-020

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-014

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-009

One of the associate producers tried to pass some catnip around, but it was still too early even for whiskey.

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-002

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-013

Smart Brothers at Dirty Blvd Studio 32611 © Michael Klayman-010

Ian’s podcast covers jazz, bluegrass, and acoustic music, he’s shooting for 50 podcasts in 2011. That’s one a week! Take that, Rob Crow.

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino, 3/23/11

Last night was windy and rainy- the perfect night to see some jazz. While Gilbert Castellanos was off on tour, Ian Tordella filled in as the leader of the New Latin Jazz Quintet.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-008

This is something I’ve been playing around with lately, the idea of off-camera flash. I’ve used it on a few rock bands, but this look was popularized by Blue Note covers shot by the legendary Francis Wolff. Many of his shots were done during recording sessions by the light of a single bare bulb.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-004

El Camino is too dim to shoot in my usual “available light only” style, so flash is a necessity. Moving it to the side of the subject, instead of just keeping it on the camera, opens up all these new possibilities. You can place shadows and highlights where you want them, to set off a drumstick from the background, for example. Side lighting also brings out textures in a beautiful way.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-013

Background separation is stark. By throwing light onto just the subject, they pop out of the image.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-005

The greatest luxury a flash affords me is the ability to stop time. Blur happens at my usual 1/20 to 1/60 second shutter speeds. I like blur and I think I’ve gotten pretty good at controlling it and putting it where I want. But using 1/250s at f/8, ISO 100, I get stopping power, great depth of field, and clean files. Since I’m exposing for the flash, the ambient level is severely underexposed, leaving the backgrounds black.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-016

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-014

In a way it’s a challenge for me, since I find flash annoying to both performer and audience, but it just means I shoot a lot less. I came back with 36 exposures. If I was just shooting ambient, I would have had 120, easy. But on the other hand, I knew I had keepers right away, with no blur or depth of field issues to contend with.

New Latin Jazz Group at El Camino 32311 © Michael Klayman-001
 

By the way, the music was excellent as always. A certain drummer commented that Ian sounds really good with this much power backing him up. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.
 

Del Mar Dog Beach at Night, 3/20/11

Del MAr Dog Beach at Night 32011 © Michael Klayman-006

The Super Moon on Friday was beautiful as I stared at it through the mesh roof over the Casbah’s patio. Unfortunately, by Saturday night Natalie and I found Del Mar dog beach to be overcast and dreary. With the moon behind a thin veil of clouds, the light pollution over San Diego was the primary light source. The cliffs over the beach have stairs leading up to the top. We only
explored the southern edge, and I can’t wait to go up there again on a
night with some nicer light.

Del MAr Dog Beach at Night 32011 © Michael Klayman-004

The technical term for the Super Moon is perigee-syzygy, which I think is a much cooler name.

Del MAr Dog Beach at Night 32011 © Michael Klayman-001

My favorite shots were from the bridge over the water, with a little color tweaking.

Del MAr Dog Beach at Night 32011 © Michael Klayman-002

After spending a couple hours on the cliff staring at the Denny’s sign, we had to wrap up the evening with a late breakfast. I was going to order the Super-Moons Over my Hammy, but I didn’t think our waitress would get the joke.

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.
————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Red Fang, Danava at Soda Bar, 3/14/11

I really meant to get these shots up a few days ago, but my bachelor weekend was action-packed was filled with 4 a.m. jams, shooting sweet sixteens, and full moon photography- which left little time for clear thought.

Otro opened up this packed Monday night show, and it looked pretty much like when I shot them here a few weeks ago. I got to meet Michael McCardle since that first show, and the crazy thing he does is really just for the stage. He’s a pretty thoughtful guy.

I didn’t feel like getting belly-sweated on by Lecherous Gaze’s singer, so I didn’t pull the camera out until midway through Danava’s set. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Danava at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-001

Tight prog-rock with a great lead guitarist.

Danava at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-009

Danava at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-005

Danava at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-010

———————————

It takes a lot to pack a venue on a Monday night, and Red Fang bring a lot to the party.

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-002

Kick ass songs that are heavy yet melodic and even catchy. That will always bring out a crowd. Their “Prehistoric Dog” video is hilarious.

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-016

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-009

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-022

Today was 3/14, otherwise known as Pi Day among us geeks. I consider it a stroke of luck that I happened to see this tattoo.

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-020

I yelled Happy Pi Day to him a couple times, but he ignored me even though I was three feet away from him. Fine, but I still know you’re a geek too, under all that hair.

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-010

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-011

The twin vocals are awesome, and the different singers contrast each other nicely.

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-015

Red Fang at Soda Bar 31411 © Michael Klayman-007

I left the front about halfway through once the mosh pit got a bit too rowdy for the camera. My face was thoroughly melted by that point, anyway. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Bellrays, Firethorn at Casbah, 3/12/11

Firethorn at Casabh 31211 © Michael Klayman-001

Sean got me in to see his band Firethorn open up for Mike Watt at the Casbah. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Firethorn at Casabh 31211 © Michael Klayman-011

He plays solid bass behind singer songwriters and pop-punk guitarists.

Firethorn at Casabh 31211 © Michael Klayman-004

Firethorn at Casabh 31211 © Michael Klayman-007

I’ve been digging their CD for the past couple days now. Thanks Sean!

———————————————-

Bellrays at Casbah 31211 © Michael Klayman-009

The Bellrays sprayed loud and dirty blues all over the stage.

Bellrays at Casbah 31211 © Michael Klayman-015

Bellrays at Casbah 31211 © Michael Klayman-003

Bellrays at Casbah 31211 © Michael Klayman-011

Bellrays at Casbah 31211 © Michael Klayman-010

I stuck around for Mike Watt, but didn’t shoot. I wanted to give my full attention to the music. He’s got an interesting approach that I’d like to hear more of. Lots of rock guys will say they’re influenced by jazz, bu they don’t really mean it. For Watt though, it’s the driving force behind his style. Next time he comes through town, I’ll be sure to capture it.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Secret Fun Club at Tin Can, 3/5/11

Secret Fun Club at Tin Can Ale House 30511 © Michael Klayman-002

Since I had the flash with me anyway, I used it on Secret Fun Club. Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Secret Fun Club at Tin Can Ale House 30511 © Michael Klayman-006

Secret Fun Club at Tin Can Ale House 30511 © Michael Klayman-005

In case you think this will be my new thing, my favorite shot from the set was the only one I took when the flash didn’t go off.

Secret Fun Club at Tin Can Ale House 30511 © Michael Klayman-008

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio, 2/19/11

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-003

Ian Tordella asked me to come to a 10am recording session one saturday last month, when he had Miss Erika Davies in his studio. We drank tea and I tried to keep my shutter clicks out of the microphones as they recorded another informative and entertaining edition of the Dirty Blvd Recording Company weekly podcast.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-009

Jon Ji backed her up on guitar for a few songs. I’m so not used to shooting during the daytime that I overexposed shots a lot more than I usually do. I think I managed to salvage a couple, though.

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-008

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-006

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-019

One of the associate producers insisted on hearing more songs about canned tuna.

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-022

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-015

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-018

Remember Dirty Blvd Recording Company  for all your small group recording needs. Don’t record there just because it sounds good, it’s also run by the most handsome recording engineer in San Diego. Tell Ian I sent you, and you get a free extra minute of recording time!

Miss Erika Davies at Dirty Blvd Studio 21911 © Michael Klayman-007

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Secret Fun Club Group Shoot, 3/5/11

I had just packed my stuff away from shooting Archons when I walked back into the Tin Can and saw Secret
Fun Club’s sweet cobra T-shirt. Turns out they needed a group shot too.
Deal! So I grabbed my gear and set up in the same street I shot Archons 15 minutes ago. As I was setting up, I saw the planes coming in directly overhead.

Sometimes I try to do things just because they’re a challenge, like incorporating airplane trails. If you can see it in your mind though, you can do it.

Secret Fun Club Group Shoot at Tin Can Alehouse 30511 © Michael Klayman-001

Click on the photo see a couple alternate versions.

Lorenzo kept an eye on the sketchy dude standing on the corner while we waited for the next plane to pass by so I could try again. Mr. Sketchy’s towncar made a nice background, so I thank him for that.

One thing that really intrigues me about these types of shots is that the faces turn out unpredictibly. I find that about a third of the musicians who stand still for me can’t actually stand still enough to keep from blurring. I have found a few tricks for minimizing this, but some people are just jittery of that long a time frame. And that’s fine. Depending on the particular way they move and how I pop the flash, it gives each person an interesting alter ego. Music is a kinetic art in several ways, and involuntary movements are just as much a part of a person’s kinetic self as their dance moves..

Sometimes I wonder what my subjects think about for the 30 seconds or so that they need to freeze and stare in one spot. For the first few shots, I’m sure they’re wondering why the hell they agreed to pose for me on a dark street and that they’d rather be drinking with their friends than getting blinded by a flash. But I try to get 7-10 shots or so before I let them go. So that’s 4-5 minutes total of quiet time. So maybe these are like long exposure portraits of each person’s contemplative state. Some people can achieve a laser-like focus, other people bounce around without even knowing it.

Usually drummers.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Archons Group Shoot, 3/5/11

I’m pretty happy with how this group shot of the Archons came out. About halfway through, Scott asked me if they were staying still enough, and I said that there was only one blurry guy, him! He pulled himself together after that and I was able to get nice and sharp faces. Click the photo and see what the alternate version looks like, where they gave me their crazy looks.

Archons Group Shoot at Tin Can Ale House 30511 © Michael Klayman-001

I tried to do something a bit different with the Archons. Instead of trying to make an environmental portrait, I zoomed in and tried to use the background as a framing device. People ended up shifting from their original positions over the course of the numerous exposures, So I guess I have to be more vigilant in checking the viewfinder between every shot. The car streaks are nice though, especially since they emanate from Doom’s head. Next time I’ll try to pick a darker background, or at least something other than a white building.

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.

Sleep Lady, Schitzophonics at Casbah, 2/27/11

I got to the Casbah before doors opened on Sunday. If you get here fashionably late, you miss out on the free food from Gaglione Bros. For once, I was going to be unfashionably early and well fed. The openers didn’t interest me, so I didn’t pull out the camera until Schitzophonics came on.

Click on a photo to go to the full gallery.

Schizophonics at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-001

Schizophonics at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-003

One look at the guitar and you can see the Jimi Hendrix influence. Then in the first 10 seconds of the first song, you hear that this white boy is channeling him. He spenty the whole set bouncing up and down, jumping around, and generally not staying still long enough to get a sharp shot. So I slowed down the shutter and turned his sonic meanderings into the the energyt of the imagery.

Schizophonics at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-012

Schizophonics at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-011

Lety introduced me to the drummer after the show, who was also named Lety.

Schizophonics at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-006

I see big things for this band. They’ve got a great sound and magnetism.

Schizophonics at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-013

———————————-

Before Sleep Lady started, I warned them that I would be annoying the hell out them with my flash.

Sleep Lady at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-004

When I’ve got the front row to myself and a willing band, off-camera flash is a fun little diversion from my usual ambient light escapades.

Sleep Lady at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-009

Sleep Lady at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-008

It works especially well for all the knob-twiddling they do.

Sleep Lady at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-005

 
Sleep Lady at Casbah 22711 © Michael Klayman-007

————
All Images Copyright © Michael Klayman 2011, All Rights Reserved.
It’s nice to ask for permission before downloading or linking to them.