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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Neil & Ol' Black in London, 3/14/08: The Story Behind The Picture

Photo by Chris a.k.a Crris b

Here's an interesting photo from Apollo Hammersmith, London, England, 3/14/08. It was quite a night by all accounts as Neil Young wound down his Europe tour. The concert was filmed and at the bottom of the frame you can see the video screen for one of the cameras.

Another interesting aspect of the photo is the story behind the photo. Chris writes on her putting together the picture:
On the 2 nights saw Neil at Hammersmith I was miles away. On night of 14th decided I was going to take my DSLR. I was in stalls row L, right at the very end. My camera is a SONY A700. I do have a long white fast zoom lens, but thought it inappropriate/inadvisable to take that :) Minolta lenses with the same A mount are compatible. I have a Minolta 135mm f2.8 that I love. I took that, and a Sony 70-300 but latter too slow & soon swapped over to the Minolta. (A700 not full frame so 135mm=202.5mm).

After a couple of test shots realized needed to stop down by 2 stops, so all photos taken -2 exposure compensation. The "Neil & Ol' Black" is actually a cropped picture. I like to shoot on Aperture priority mode, so left open at 2.8 The A700 will do and give ISO settings down to 6400, but anything over 800 is so very noisy. Still one way of getting the shot, and then a case of seeing what you can do in Photoshop.

I've made various actions, but the one I actually used on "Neil & Ol' Black" was one I downloaded called LOMO [LOMOGRAPHY - over-saturated, blurry, cross processed look]. Then I took original crop & merged the 2 - the LOMO crop pic & the original crop pic into an HDR image [HDR stands for HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE. The idea is one takes RAW (unprocessed in camera) pictures of the same image with varying exposures, and then combine them. So one could have one picture with excellent dark tones and another with excellent light tones- combining them into an HDR image should then give the widest possible dynamic range.]

OK could not resist - just had a go at HDR combining the Neil & Ol' Black" Image with the "fill-flash/vig effect variant" - interesting punchy [bringing up blacks] result. I de-noised all pics using Noise Ninja but this can give some doll-like glassy skin textures, so I tend to fade the effect a bit & keep some noise.

Not sure I followed all that but sounds cool. Thanks for the effort and info.

Thanks Chris!

Also, see concert reviews of London, England - 3/14 & 15/08.


At 4/24/2008 11:16:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering as a concert photographer I struggle daily first to get passes because of Management Madness (read this true story happened to me) to photograph shows and than with the policies that restrict us to the first 3 songs no flash rule, it is disappointing to see how people can bring cameras into venues and take all the pictures they can without security complaining.

by the way, it's good picture.
Support concert photography.
Contemporary music on glorious B&W film

At 4/24/2008 12:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a great photo. Technology has certainly changed the "business" of photography, though.

Anyway, cool to see the vid cam screen and Rick the bass player Rosas almost as a shadow to Neil.

At 4/24/2008 12:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great photo!


At 4/25/2008 05:19:00 PM, Blogger Crris said...

Thanks for the comments, and of course, thanks to Thrasher, for showing my Neil photo. Here, if any one is interested is a link to some other edits/versions of the photo, & other photos I took that night
(If don't want to see Photobucket ads {who does?!} use the great adblock Firefox extension :) )

At 4/25/2008 09:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicest picture I have seen of Neil working, what a way to make a paycheck. Rolling Stone should want it, you are really good Chris b.

At 4/26/2008 12:48:00 PM, Blogger Crris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/26/2008 01:39:00 PM, Blogger Crris said...

Thanks, I wish !

I was just now trying to get get that album link looking a bit better.Result didn't hence the removal.
I'll have one more go, but the 2 parts would have to be pasted together (ho hum) :

Again, a 1000 thanks for the generous comments.

At 4/26/2008 09:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So in effect... the photo is computer fakery. Nice job anyway.

At 4/27/2008 01:24:00 PM, Blogger Crris said...

I suppose processing is something that can be argued about till doomsday and there will be no agreement. However, I feel fundamentally the picture has not changed. There have been no additions, or removal of "blemishes" etc. Following cropping of the picture, there''s been a bit of general noise removal (noise there owing to high ISO setting); there's been a bit of a saturation change: but that which I was aiming for and hopefully achieved, was optimisation of the TONAL RANGE of the picture. It does not have the best tonal range ever, but hopefully I have optimised that which lies within it.
The image was from a RAW one, so some processing had to be done whatever. The difference is I was in control of it rather than just the camera.
Re saturation, tonality, & colour: if one sends a roll of film of for developing then will be different results depending on the film; the paper; and the processing.
Further, if one looks at the same image taken by different digital cameras then there will be differences.
Didn't Ansel Adams " dodge & burn" his pictures whilst developing ?
Yes, one could make a "fake" image of something with Photoshop, but I believe many use it, to just optimise their pictures.
I will experiment at times. For me though that which is important is keeping a truth about the image and what was conveyed at the time. Neil was amazing that night. I'm not saying my picture is amazing !! but hopefully I've caught some element of Neil well just being Neil. A photo says things more clearly than I ever could.

At 4/27/2008 07:35:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Anonymous said at 4/26/2008 08:33:00 PM: "So in effect... the photo is computer fakery."

I guess I would challenge you to find any photo in a magazine, paper or wherever that isn't "fake". As Chris points --and the post clearly states -- there has been enhancement.

This is quite common. At least here at Thrasher's Wheat, we're upfront about what's going on. Let me know if you see someplace that publishes photos with technical explanations.

Thanks again Chris! I think everyone really likes your photo.

At 4/27/2008 07:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a nice picture, and it works despite any computer adjustments or enhancements, not because of. Basically it's a great composition and it captures Neil 'in the zone' , that's not something any piece of technology can do for you.

After all if you went to an art shop and bought the most expensive oil paints and paint brush it wouldn't make you a great painter.

'You can't make a silk purse out of a pigs ear' I think is the expression!
Well done Chris!


At 4/28/2008 08:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>anonymous said...
So in effect... the photo is computer fakery.<

For something to be fake it would
have to mis-represent the actual event.
Which it doesn't.
Nothing's been added or taken away.

Plus when you shoot Raw, you do it because you intend to do the processing / adjustments later.

The enhancement is not fakery!

this is:



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