Jon Anderson’s 1000 Hands Tour at the Tupelo Music Hall
Jon Anderson, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame voice of Yes, returned to the Tupelo Music Hall with an 8-piece band to support Jon’s new album, “1000 Hands – Chapter One.”
A couple of weeks ago, I attended Jon Anderson’s concert at the Lynn Auditorium where I used my trusty Sony DSC-RX100M6 to photograph the concert. I published several shots from that concert on Facebook which were noticed by Jon Anderson’s PR agency. They contacted me and asked if they could use them on Jon’s social media outlets. I agreed and asked a favor in return: A photo pass to the concert at the Tupelo so I could use my Nikon DSLR to shoot the show.
It’s such a treat to use the Nikon D850 to shoot a concert. I almost exclusively use the 70-200mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens. Not only does this lens give me the reach to get close without physically being close, but it produces a beautiful bokeh that looks awesome when you get lights behind the subject.
Exposure – A Dynamic Endeavor
Shooting concerts is always tricky. You can’t trust the in-camera light meter. It gets fooled because the average exposure is skewed heavily towards the darkness that dominates the frame, so the camera tries to compensate and winds up overexposing the artist who is under intense, bright light.
I typically set the exposure to manual and start with the shutter speed at a minimum of 1/160th. Nothing is worse than a blurry photo – it’s something that can’t be fixed. So, I’ve found that 1/160th is adequate, but I’ll bump it up if the artist moves a lot. This was the case with Jon. He likes to bob and weave, so a faster exposure was needed.
Jon Anderson at the Lynn Auditorium.
Many thanks to Anthony Diaz from Deco Talent Services for arranging for the photo pass at the Tupelo, and special thanks to Michael Franklin, Jon’s keyboardist and the producer of Jon’s “1000 Hands” album, for his support on-site the night of the concert.
I like the cinematic look of a shallow depth of field, so I typically shoot at f/2.8. For artists that move a lot, focusing is a constant battle, so I will back this off to f/3.5 or even f/4.0, if necessary. With Jon I experimented with several aperture settings and shutter speeds.
Lastly, I use the ISO to dial in the proper exposure. Since the light on the artist changes depending on the angle, how close I am to the artist, and, of course, the lighting itself which is perpetually changing, I’ll continually fire off a set of pictures, then check the images for exposure, blur and focus. After a few songs, you build up a knowledge and confidence for what the ISO needs to be for a particular situation, then it’s a matter of realizing you need to change the ISO when required.
I like how I caught Jon in a very similar position at the Tupelo as I did at Lynn (see above).
The PR agency asked me to photograph the entire band along with Jon. I was planning to anyway, so this was an easy request to fulfill. The lighting for such a big band on this modest stage was challenging at times. For those instances I cranked up the ISO and made adjustments in post.
Here are my photos from Jon Anderson’s previous concert at the Tupelo in 2014.
In 2014, I saw Jon Anderson at the Tupelo and came away with several excellent photos. I made prints of two of them, and brought them to the Meet & Greet session at the Lynn for Jon to sign. He graciously signed both.
After the concert at the Tupelo, I was fortunate to meet Jon backstage, and he was unbelievably nice. Even though he was clearly tired, he talked for quite a while – even relating a long story about how Yes and The Nice were going to play a concert at a ball field, but the staging was rickety and there was no power for the amplifiers. So, instead, the bands and the fans wound up going down the street to drink at a local pub where Keith Emerson proceeded to play the piano. The band’s manager was concerned the fans were not happy because they paid for a concert that never happened. Jon and boys insisted on buying drinks for the fans. Sometime during the evening, the bartender made everyone quiet down and pay attention to the TV – Neil Armstrong was taking his first steps upon the moon. While everyone was paying attention to the TV, the band’s manager had the band quietly leave the pub.
I hope everyone enjoys the photos!
Awesome photos of this past Sunday’s concert. Very nice to have met you. Wonderful photos and great job capturing the heart and expressions. What a fun night!! Please let me know when you have added a display to your FB site for all to share.
Thanks Bernie! I’ll be sending out something to Facebook later today.
Fabulous! I love all the musicians in this band and you’ve captured the spirit of the performances for each and every one of them. Truly generous of you to share your techniques and stories, as well. Many Thanks!
Thanks for the kind remarks!
Just looking and reading as I travel to work in London on the train. Really enjoyed the taking of the photo side of things s I used to do some myself. Great shots.
Thanks Dave! I was hoping some folks would find the exposure discussion useful.