Saturday, April 28, 2012

Band Practice

Band Practice by hwongphoto
Band Practice, a photo by hwongphoto on Flickr.

Over the last few months, I've been mucking about as part of The Ink Pneumites, a trip-hop/funk band based in my friend Todd Schmid's basement. Having stepped away from a different genre of music for the time being, it's interesting to be a part of something radically different from what I'm used to. There are some vestiges of classical me. I prefer reading music over memorizing it in order to have something to fall back on. I'm more of an interpreter than a creator, though I hope that will change over time. I count in like a conductor rather than a band member. The music is rhythmically challenging, with odd time signatures and polyrhythms abound. Still, it is very innovative. Brian Thornley and Todd, along with the other band members (which are still in flux) jam occasionally but often just figure out how to interpret music written for a machine and adapt it to the imperfections and charms of human performance.

I end up shooting a lot of the band's practices, because it is often a wealth of inspiration. Moving targets in a dark basement make for challenging lighting conditions, and no one lens seems to do it all, though my limited arsenal doesn't help me here. I've shot the inside with a D200 at ISO 1600 and 3200 (horrendous), a D90 at the same settings (more than acceptable) and various lenses (including my beloved manual 70-210 f/4 lens (not such a good idea). The small fast primes seem to be working well, though only sporadically. Light comes from a single overhead fixture (horribly orange) or the daylight from beyond the window (fantastic when available). I've mixed bounce flash in before, and it has led to some very usable, if flat results. Great for run and gun and capturing moments, but it is distracting and rather dull. Too many strobes going off in a short period of time often blind people, and the last thing I want to be is a distraction. That's not what being a fly on the wall means. The band had me mixing strobe with daylight in light mods (really stressing a single SB-600 in an umbrella sized for 2 SB-910's with power packs or big flash) for promo pics too, so it's really run the gamut. It's good shooting practice, too, though the subject matter is the same. Changing looks in a confined space is tough. I guess it's just a great catalyst for my creativity, musically and photographically.

Have a listen to our work at:

No comments:

Post a Comment