CROWDER Photoshoot + Messiah College welcomes Lecrae

When artists say their coming to Messiah College I try to send an email within minutes of the announcement to either their management team or our school's marketing department to get a photo pass for the event. Coming up on Friday, Feb. 16 the Christian Hip-Hop artist Lecrae will be touring through Messiah with his new record. This past November I had the opportunity to document CROWDER coming for a live performance and these are my musings throughout the event...

Photographing live music is challenging. Most venues are super dark and the stage lights can make for some really challenging lighting conditions. Often the contrast between light and dark is extreme and you are bound to lose detail in one of those areas, even with a great camera. Focusing can be tricky with the changing lights and exposure better be set to manual in order to not let the lights mess with your camera's meter.

Photographing live music is challenging. Most venues are super dark and the stage lights can make for some really challenging lighting conditions. Often the contrast between light and dark is extreme and you are bound to lose detail in one of those areas, even with a great camera. Focusing can be tricky with the changing lights and exposure better be set to manual in order to not let the lights mess with your camera's meter.

Concert photography is all about waiting for the right moment. While I think this photo has a lot of great elements to it (overall composition, lighting, subject, foreground crowd) I think the photo below is stronger.

Concert photography is all about waiting for the right moment. While I think this photo has a lot of great elements to it (overall composition, lighting, subject, foreground crowd) I think the photo below is stronger.

In my opinion this is the stronger image because of the parallel between David Crowder's raised hands and the single audience member's who is perfectly in line with my camera. This creates more emotion in the image and conveys more of a story/meaning.

In my opinion this is the stronger image because of the parallel between David Crowder's raised hands and the single audience member's who is perfectly in line with my camera. This creates more emotion in the image and conveys more of a story/meaning.

As a live music photographer you have to be ready for sudden changes. This shot came out of nowhere when the lighting changed suddenly. I dropped my exposure by a stop and a half by shortening my shutter speed because I didn't want any background details surrounding Crowder and create this silhouette feel.

As a live music photographer you have to be ready for sudden changes. This shot came out of nowhere when the lighting changed suddenly. I dropped my exposure by a stop and a half by shortening my shutter speed because I didn't want any background details surrounding Crowder and create this silhouette feel.

Not everything has to be super dark or moody to make for a good concert photo. When you get in the right position and have your exposure set for a light to flash over a singer's face you can get some fun expressions out of your subject.

Not everything has to be super dark or moody to make for a good concert photo. When you get in the right position and have your exposure set for a light to flash over a singer's face you can get some fun expressions out of your subject.

Combinations of back lighting with the added front stage light give really great, brighter results.

Combinations of back lighting with the added front stage light give really great, brighter results.

Color is so important. Crowder techs used a lot of reds and blues and In this shot I liked how I could frame Crowder in a triangle by using the two lights on the top sides and the out of focus crowd in the bottom foreground.

Color is so important. Crowder techs used a lot of reds and blues and In this shot I liked how I could frame Crowder in a triangle by using the two lights on the top sides and the out of focus crowd in the bottom foreground.

No pyrotechnics at Messiah College (yet...) but when the tech crew booted up the fog machine I knew I had to get this shot. I really like how by chance the fog was wrapped around Crowder but there was a nice opening to keep sharpness and detail on his face.

No pyrotechnics at Messiah College (yet...) but when the tech crew booted up the fog machine I knew I had to get this shot. I really like how by chance the fog was wrapped around Crowder but there was a nice opening to keep sharpness and detail on his face.

I've always been a fan of detail shots. I think they add so much to a collection. Yes, Crowder is the big name here but without the whole band it wouldn't be the same show.

I've always been a fan of detail shots. I think they add so much to a collection. Yes, Crowder is the big name here but without the whole band it wouldn't be the same show.

Obligatory sound tech shot to reminisce the many long and late hours I've been there, done that.

Obligatory sound tech shot to reminisce the many long and late hours I've been there, done that.

I really enjoy concerts. People get excited and there's always anticipation in the air right before the artist walks out on stage.   For this shoot I used a combination of my Sony A7ii and a 85mm f/1.8 lens as well as a Canon 5D Mark III with the 70-200mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8. I think I really liked using Sony for the images rendered in low light conditions but I don't yet own the glass to make that happen on Sony bodies.  If you have read this far you probably appreciate my work or thoughts on some level. Drop a comment below to let me know what you think I should showcase next! Do you want more photoshoots, gear reviews, adventure stories, or something else? Let me know and share this with all your band friends who need photos!  ~Caleb

I really enjoy concerts. People get excited and there's always anticipation in the air right before the artist walks out on stage. 

For this shoot I used a combination of my Sony A7ii and a 85mm f/1.8 lens as well as a Canon 5D Mark III with the 70-200mm f/2.8 and 24-70mm f/2.8. I think I really liked using Sony for the images rendered in low light conditions but I don't yet own the glass to make that happen on Sony bodies.

If you have read this far you probably appreciate my work or thoughts on some level. Drop a comment below to let me know what you think I should showcase next! Do you want more photoshoots, gear reviews, adventure stories, or something else? Let me know and share this with all your band friends who need photos!

~Caleb

Faux Studio + ZETEO Merchandise

This past weekend I volunteered with Salt N' Light Youth Ministry at their ZETEO event. As the event photographer I spent most of my time photographing the various speakers, worship nights, and a five-hour mega drama. But on the first day we needed to advertise some of the event merchandise so I brought in my strobe and flashes to set up a small studio! After some looking around the convention center we decided on this simple cream colored wall.

In the photos above I started looking around different spots throughout the convention center. I was initially attracted to an outside balcony connecting the parking garage but it was snowing out and quite cold. We then moved to the seminar rooms but the lighting was pretty poor and I was looking for a clean and simple look. The brushed metal could have been an interesting change-up but I was still just looking for simplicity. 

I find it helpful to give myself fewer degrees of freedom when shooting for a specific look. For this shoot the images were to be displayed on vertically-aligned 70" TVs beside the merchandise shop for the entirety of the weekend. Because of this I ended up wanting to limit distracting backgrounds from the images. I also knew I wanted to shoot with a depth of field narrow enough to keep both the subject's eyes in focus when shooting closeups, but wide enough to have the focus melt away and blur out the background as much as possible. I also wanted to shoot with a long enough focal length to remove any distortion from the edges of the frame to represent real fits of these articles of clothing. I used my strobe as the key light and a simple manual speedlight to illuminate the cream wall into a brighter white. So I ended up shooting at f/2.8 with my 85mm lens, having to stick to ISO 400 to compensate for the lack of high speed sync on my old manual flash to light up the backdrop.

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I think we ended up with some pretty awesome shots and the Merch team sold a whole bunch of items throughout the weekend!

I think we ended up with some pretty awesome shots and the Merch team sold a whole bunch of items throughout the weekend!

Ice Portraits + A Winter Hike

Never have I regretted saying yes to a hike. There is something special about running up a stream with no real aim in mind other than to enjoy nature and friendship. No fancy lighting or special camera tricks here. Just four brothers and a prime lens. 

Our troop traversed up a small stream in Bald Eagle State Forest, PA. It was about 45 degrees F. and we kept seeing more and more interesting ice sculptures as the surface of the water had thawed and refrozen for a couple of day/night cycles in a row. 

Our troop traversed up a small stream in Bald Eagle State Forest, PA. It was about 45 degrees F. and we kept seeing more and more interesting ice sculptures as the surface of the water had thawed and refrozen for a couple of day/night cycles in a row. 

Both the Calebs on a tree trunk that led to the ice buildup in the background. While much of the wider parts of the stream (foreground) were thawed, various side brooks and pools still had ice two inches thick.

Both the Calebs on a tree trunk that led to the ice buildup in the background. While much of the wider parts of the stream (foreground) were thawed, various side brooks and pools still had ice two inches thick.

Stalactites that look like stalagmites... These were everywhere around the thawing stream.

Stalactites that look like stalagmites... These were everywhere around the thawing stream.

If there's a will...

If there's a will...

Lighting conditions were pretty much winter gray/blues. Without direct light the wide shots just don't have much going for them. This shot just gives some context for the majority of what we saw along the stream.

Lighting conditions were pretty much winter gray/blues. Without direct light the wide shots just don't have much going for them. This shot just gives some context for the majority of what we saw along the stream.

Casually discovering new species in the ice...

Casually discovering new species in the ice...

...like this species...proclaimed as "Josh."

...like this species...proclaimed as "Josh."

...like this ice crab...

...like this ice crab...

Q: What is a hike without pole vaulting across the stream? 

Q: What is a hike without pole vaulting across the stream? 

A: Dry socks.

A: Dry socks.