Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Goals: 12 New Things

At the beginning of each year, I come up with a list of goals I want to accomplish. For some reason, resolution is a dirty word to me. If you want to go back and take a look at that original post, feel free by clicking the link here. I've found that having a list and publishing it for all the world to see has really pushed me to accomplish more. Nobody wants to fail, right? I put up some pretty lofty goals in 2012 and to my surprise, I accomplished a lot more than I thought I would.

1. Redesign my website.

I accomplished this goal pretty early on in the year and without much fanfare on my part. I'm so glad that the majority of you never had to look upon my old website. It was so dark and heavy and ugly. I feel like the new one is much more dynamic and gives you a better insight into who I am. In case you've never been to my actual website, check it out here. I have an amazing web designer, so if you're ever looking for one, I'm more than happy to pass along her information.

On top of the website redesign, I started various social media sites for my business. I'm on twitter, tumblr, facebook, pinterest and flickr. I can't believe all the new, wonderful people I've met through my work. You make this so much more fun, so thank you!

2. Visit friends in DC.

Do I get two gold stars for this one? Not only did I make it down to DC in April, I did it again in November. My amazing friends Rachel and Zach got married this year and asked me to share their wedding day as their photographer. I swear I wrote this goal before they had asked me!

3. Go to a concert every month.

Leave it to me to make up a ridiculously expensive goal, but I did it!
January: Aimee Man
February: William Shatner, Bjork cancelled at the last minute
March: Gotye
April: Hotel Lights, Punch Brothers
May: Andrew Bird
June: Keane, Clearwater Festival
July: Orgone, Noam Pikelny, The English Beat
August: Sage
September: Ben Folds Five, Eytan and the Embassy, Gotye, Michael Bolton cancelled at the last minute

October: Ben Folds Five, Eytan and the Embassy
November: Yeasayer
December: Jess McAvoy

As an added bonus, I covered 10 of those concerts and I learned so much, it blows my mind. I need to set more ridiculous goals in the future!

4. Contact and learn from concert photographers.

I don't have any photographic proof of doing this, but I did. In August, I went to a gallery opening that Brooklyn Vegan hosted on concert photography. I spoke with one of my favorite concert photographers there, and have emailed him a few times since. I haven't followed through on this as much as I would have liked, so I'm going to continue to work on it next year.

5. Purchase and learn Totally Rad.

Totally Rad is a really cool action used in post production. I did not purchase Totally Rad this year, although I did go through a training session with a brilliant photographer, Jason from Dreamscape Studio Photography. Instead, I invested my money in the most current version of Light Room. I do not regret this decision at all because I've become much more adept with this program and I've learned to do the majority of my post prod work with it.

6. Return to summer fitness level. 

I love my vague goals. I'm not at that level yet, but I did make a lot of fitness improvements throughout the year. I wasn't nearly as sick as I was in 2011, but I did suffer a serious injury back in February. I was as close as you could get to breaking your wrist without actually breaking it as a result of a fall down a small set of stairs. I spent the next two months in a wrist brace, but my trainer was amazing and came up with several workouts that didn't involve my wrist at all. The other victory that stood out in my mind happened around the same time as my wrist injury. Three years ago, I tore my left ACL and had reconstruction surgery. They used part of my hamstring in my knee and ever since then, it's been a slow recovery. While my knee is completely stable and strong, my hamstring hadn't fully recovered. When I tried to do a leg curl, my left leg would just stop about half way back. There was nothing I could do, the muscles were still recovering from the removal of a couple of strands. One day at the gym, I don't even remember what exercise I was doing, my leg worked again. My orthopaedic, who I was seeing for the wrist injury, told me I was a few months ahead of schedule as far as the hamstring went. 

7. Make my own wrapping paper.

In 2011, I made a goal to be craftier and I failed it, so I reworked it to be more specific. I learned to carve my own stamps out of erasers with a linoleum cutter. I started on Mother's Day and pretty much went from there. It's been so much fun making personalized wrapping paper for my friends and family. The robots that I made for James were my favorite and the ginger bread men for Christmas made me batty, but I love them just the same.

8. Photo of the week challenge.

I included a screenshot from Pinterest that includes all the images from this challenge. I definitely started slow on this, but in the end, it was a great exercise. When I was first learning photography, I was told to go out and shoot a roll of film, gasp! film!, every day. The only way to improve was to shoot, look at your results, learn from your mistakes, shoot some more, screw up again, learn some more. I feel like this challenge forced me to see a lot more of what was going on around me and notice details. It's pretty cool to see an overview of what I did throughout the year.

9. Share my photos and/or do a guest post on another blog.

While so many people have told me they enjoy my writing, it is the most loathsome part of this blog. I often times don't know what to say. I was touched when the Wall-Nuts asked to use some of my pictures on their blog. I definitely plan on doing more of this in the future.

10. Learn Photojunction.

This is another computer program, used in album design. It is so unintuitive, it has frustrated me to no end for a couple of years. Again, my friend Jason sat me down and went over the program. I have a much better understanding of it now, but it's just not the right program for me. Learning this program was another way of saying that I wanted to make my first album, and guess what? I did.

As my way of saying thank you to Gotye for allowing me such incredible access to them, I put together my first bound album and sent copies to the guys. That's the cover of it. I used another program to create it, which I also learned that I didn't like, but that's another story.

11. Do a pull up.

Oh, upper body strength, will I ever have you? It's good to fail a couple of goals; it keeps you honest. I did not do a pull up in 2012, but I am able to do a flexed arm hang for a solid 10 seconds. Better luck in 2013!

12. Get a paying job as a concert photographer.

While I had intended to get a gig for another publication, I ended up accomplishing this at my current job. It was an absolute blast being able to use my love of concert photography in conjunction with my coworkers. There's another article coming out next year that I shot this year; we just had a lot happen in the state of Connecticut that our papers unfortunately had to cover.

All in all, not a bad year right?

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Photo of the Year

Seeing how I did a Photo of the Week challenge, I'd feel remiss if I didn't select a Photo of the Year. While it's not my absolute favorite picture that I've taken this year, it is the picture that has had the most impact on my life in 2012.

This is a screenshot from my Light Room library, the program I use to process my photos. There was a massive increase in the number of pictures I shot this year, almost 11,000 more. I think that the photo challenge forced me to take more pictures, but I also covered quite a bit more. I've taken huge steps to streamline my workflow, which was an unintentional side effect of shooting so many concerts. It used to take me a month to sort through and process wedding photos around my day job and I've cut that time in half. I've improved my post processing and color correction skills to the point where no matter how bad the lighting is, I know I can work around it.

I'm sure it's no surprise that I've chosen a photo from a concert as my photo of the year, more specifically, a photo of Gotye. I certainly took a lot of pictures of Wally this year.

This shot is from March and was taken at the House of Blues in Boston. I went into this concert determined to get some cool shots to send along to the band. I hoped that a band would appreciate my work and in turn give me a chance to photograph them with my DSLR. The end result has been more than I ever could have dreamed.

That one picture, the generosity of the man in it and the guts to ask granted me access to photograph Gotye twice more this year. I have gained so many new friends and followers as a result of this photo; it still blows my mind that people care about what I have to say. It gave me the opportunity to do what I love to do and shoot the way I like to shoot. Even though they are musicians on a stage, I focus on the interactions and the moments of passion and intensity. That's the same way I shoot sports, weddings, portraits, you name it.

I might not be taking a traditional path in life. I'm probably not going about this the right way to become a concert photographer. I'm definitely figuring things out as I go, but the biggest thing I've learned this year is that you have to work for what you want. You have to take chances again and again. Be prepared for them to say no, I've been told that and completely ignored plenty, but don't let it get you down. Keep asking. Keep learning. Be prepared for anything and everything because you never know when your moment will come. Never, ever give up.

For me, it's not just the fact that I photographed Gotye; it's the effect those concerts had on me. I covered four different bands before the September Gotye concerts in order to be prepared. I covered three more after because I realized that I'm pretty good at what I do. One of those shoots took a lot of leg work on my part and I'm proud that I didn't give up. I'm not as petrified to reach out to an artist or their management. If I want something bad enough, I can and will do whatever it takes. I'm ready to branch out and find a publication that will allow me to do what I love. Or maybe I can continue to do my own thing. Who knows?

Photography is my way of documenting the world around me and telling the story of others. I am so fortunate that at least one person gets that. "You captured so many brilliant moments from throughout our show, and from each of us individually. Also those moments shared between two or three of us at various points in the show- they instantly take me back to different moments on tour. Thank you again, and know that you'll always be welcome to photograph any Gotye shows, anywhere."

 Who would've thought I could accomplish so much from one little photo?

Photo of the Week: Week 52

Christmas Lights

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Concert Photography

I'm going to sit here a moment and appreciate this collage....Ok, I'm good.

You probably all know by now that concert photography is my passion. I set a goal for myself to go to at least one concert each month this year. I've chosen one photo from every concert I attended to make up this collage. (There is one exception, but that's only because Michael Bolton canceled his show in Trumbull in September and left me with an extra spot.) I'm so proud of the fact that 14 of these images were shot with my DSLR. I never would have thought at the beginning of the year that I would cover so many concerts in an official capacity. Being able to do what I love has brought me so much joy throughout the year and has pushed me to do more than I ever thought possible.

In no particular order, other than it worked for my layout:

1. Wally De Backer of Gotye at House of Blues Boston, March
I've been taking my point and shoot camera with me to every concert I've attended since 2010. It was the only way for me to learn and expand my concert photography without access to a press pass. While the point and shoot doesn't get me the best results all the time, I know what it can do. I can still document the moments I see and it gave me a way in.

2. Aimee Mann at Ridgefield Playhouse, January
My first concert of the year and first time attending a concert at the Playhouse. It is such a small, intimate venue. I've been a fan of her music for years, especially her collaborations with other artists. There was plenty of sarcastic banter with the audience throughout the night.

3. Niki Crawford of Orgone at Fairfield Stage One, July
The first concert I shot with my Canon 5D Mark III for a feature in the Fairfield Sun on Stage One. Orgone was one of the largest bands I shot this year with multiple percussionists and a horn trio that rocked the house. It was such a fun atmosphere with the crowd dancing the entire night.

4. Eytan Oren of Eytan and the Embassy at The Studio at Webster Hall, October
Part of the CMJ Music Festival, The Studio at Webster Hall was my biggest lighting challenge of the year. I pushed my camera to its limits and even though I struggled at the time, my training of just keep shooting kicked in. With a little post processing love, I eeked out a handful of keepers.

5. The English Beat at Fairfield Stage One, July
The final band I shot for the Fairfield Sun feature. This was a challenge for me because I didn't particularly like the style of music. I know that I'm going to be faced with this situation more often than not, so I was really pleased that I could still capture dynamic images even when I wasn't feeling it.

6. Darren Jessee of Ben Folds Five at The Capitol Theatre, October
Remember that time when I shot Ben Folds Five? Oh you don't? That's because we're still working on the feature for the paper. Up until this point, I've held off on posting any of the pictures, but I made an exception for Best Of week.

7. Ben Folds Five at Summer Stage, September
I couldn't get clearance to cover this concert officially, so I attended it as a fan with my point and shoot camera. It was so wonderful to see Ben, Darren and Robert reunite after a decade apart. Everything I loved about this band in the 90's was still there and it was a joy to remember why I was and still am so fond of them.

8. The Punch Brothers at Town Hall, April
This concert was one of the most memorable for the year for me. I wasn't completely familiar with their music, but I knew they had collaborated with several artists I adore. Chris Thile took the stage with the hugest smile on his face and danced around with such boundless energy. The entire band is so ridiculously talented. I can't find the proper words to express how amazing it is to watch virtuosos on stage feed off of each other so effortlessly.

9. Tim Nordwind of The Pyyramids at The Knitting Factory, September
The Pyyramids opened for Eytan and the Embassy. My friends that go to shows with me know that I get super antsy and want to arrive as early as possible. It's a result of being in gen pop for so many concerts and wanting to get a decent angle to shoot from. I still do this even when there is a photo pit. Every so often, you catch an amazing opening act as an added bonus.

10. Kate Miller-Heidke at The Capitol Theatre, October
Keir and Kate are an amazing duo on stage; just a guitar, a tambourine and a voice that is out of this world. They are able to convey so much emotion and power. The first time I saw them live was in 2010 when they opened for Ben Folds. It was incredibly fitting to photograph them again, this time opening for Ben Folds Five.

11. Yeasayer at The Capitol Theatre, November
I had to transition back into a regular concert goer for this show, after covering the last five concerts I attended. With the help of good friends and a stunning light show, I still had a great time. This was my second concert at the newly renovated Capitol Theatre and I have to say, it was the perfect venue for this band.

12. Ben Edgar of Gotye at Williamsburg Park, September
My second Gotye concert as an official photographer. I had an absolute blast being the only photographer in the pit after the first three songs and was able to capture so many fun moments. It's not easy getting a clear shot of everyone on stage when you only have three songs to photograph and I love giving each band member equal coverage

13. Darren Jessee of Hotel Lights at Spike Hill, April
Hotel Lights is one of my favorite bands and I've been incredibly fortunate to cover them a couple of times. It was so much fun seeing Darren really get into the music this time around. It was even more fun for me to having a fully functioning camera again and a venue that had good light so I didn't have to convert the majority of my images to black and white.

14. William Shatner at The Music Box, February
While this show was mostly a stand up routine, The Shat did sing one song at the end of the set, so I'm considering it a concert. I can now say that I've seen William Shatner on Broadway!

15. Keane at The Beacon Theatre, June
This was such a fun, energetic concert. The crowd was singing along the entire night. Tom's voice was just as powerful live as it is on their albums. I had so much fun at this concert, I'm going to see them again next year at Radio City.

16. String Fingers Band at Fairfield Stage One, July
A bonus opening act that I covered for the Fairfield Sun. It makes me happy to see a couple of local boys in a bluegrass band get just as much recognition as anyone I covered this year.

17. Eytan and the Embassy at The Knitting Factory, September
At one of my lowest points this year, I took a chance and reached out to a young band that I really do believe are going to break through next year. They allowed me to cover their concert when other people had denied me and it really helped boost my confidence. Their photos are some of my favorites for that fact alone.

18. Punch Brothers at Clearwater Festival, June
My first festival taught me what I had suspected: I do not like festivals. The bands play a shortened set so you don't get a good feel for them, you have to pick and choose who you'll see and you get stuck pretty far away unless you camp out all day. 

19. Sage at the Bridgeport Green, August
I almost failed my goal in the month of August. I caught this four piece all female band at the last minute and snapped a few pictures. Thanks to my friends for forcing me out even though I was in a rotten mood. A good concert was just what the doctor ordered.

20. Noam Pikelny and Chris Eldridge at Fairfield Stage One, July
After seeing the Punch Brothers twice, I was determined to get my real camera into a show. Pickles and Critter were the reason I wanted to cover shows for the Fairfield Sun and I'm really proud that I found a way to make that happen. You can tell just how much they love what they're doing and how much I love being able to capture that.

21. Jess McAvoy at the Bitter End, December
My last concert of the year and the perfect conclusion to an amazing year. I went into this show completely relaxed and confident that I'd get great shots. For so many of the concerts I covered this year, I was a nervous wreck moments before the bands took the stage. While I don't mind the anxiety all that much, I know it's a result of how I care about what I do, it's so much nicer to be able to enjoy it from start to finish. 

22. Ben Folds Five at The Capitol Theatre, October
I have wanted to cover Ben Folds Five ever since I saw them when I was 18 years old. I did so much leg work to make this happen; I remember biting my nails the day of the concert as I waited for the official confirmation from their tour manager. I hope to share the full set with you soon, the article is being worked on as I type, but know it was an amazing experience to photograph three men that I think the world of.

23. Andrew Bird at The Beacon Theatre, May
I had such a blast with my friends in the city before this concert and Andrew Bird was incredible as well. I listen to a pretty wide range of musical styles; I feel like it's important to mix things up to keep them interesting. Of all the concerts I attended this year, this was the most formal; everyone sat the entire show and there was practically no talking.

24. Wally De Backer of Gotye at Radio City Music Hall, September
I started this collage with a picture of Wally during The Only Way and I end it with the same picture, six months apart. My nerves finally settled when I heard the opening bass line of this song. I was photographing the same song that got me into Radio City with my DSLR. If ever I wanted to show the amount of growth I made in one year, just look at these two pictures.

I couldn't have taken the majority of these pictures without the generosity and kindness of the musicians. A huge thank you to: Wally, Eytan, Dru, Darren and Jess, whom I had the pleasure of speaking to directly. I have to also thank my editors at Hersam Acorn Newspapers who I worked alongside to cover an additional four concerts: John, Sally and Josh.

I was touched by all the comments my photos have received throughout the year. It always makes me happy when people get the way that I shoot. My absolute favorite came from a fan that told me they could hear the music as they looked at my images. That's exactly what I was going for! I really hope I can continue to bring you more concert photography in 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012: fr EYE day

I've said it before and I'll say it again: you have some beautiful eyes!

I started this series after I purchased a macro lens as a joke, but it's become one of my favorite weekly posts. I love how different everyone's eyes are. If I haven't taken a picture of your eye yet, get ready!

If I have, see if you can find yours!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best of 2012: Pictures

My Best Of week continues! These are my favorite moments of 2012 in picture form. In no particular order other than it made my layout look good:

1. Ben
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Baby Ben this year. I photographed his parents' wedding a few years ago. This little man is a miniature version of his father from looks to personality. Congratulations, Jessica and Derek for the precious addition to your family!

2. Jekyll Island
I'm really bad about using my vacation days. In fact, my last official vacation was three years ago and I went to Milford Hospital for it. I took a week off for my ACL reconstruction surgery, but only a week! I had such a great time on vacation this year and met some amazing people; I'm definitely going to start taking more time off.

3. Eric & Michelle
My first of two solo weddings this year. Michelle had seen my work in a newspaper supplement several years before her engagement and held onto it until she was ready for her wedding. What a huge compliment! I'm so grateful they chose me to capture their special day.

4. Shooting at Radio City Music Hall
This silhouette shot was the first picture I took of the night and one of my favorites of the entire concert. I never could have imagined that my concert photography would lead me to such a historic venue or for such an amazing group of musicians. I still remember how nervous I was only moments before I took this picture.

5. James
I'm incredibly lucky to have so many beautiful young people in my life. James is the oldest of them and has a larger than life imagination and personality, not to mention an expressive face. He cracks me up to no end.

6. Aria
This little girl can hold her own even against her big brother, James, which is saying a lot. I chose a picture from her first birthday because it really captures her contemplation. As she's gotten older, Aria has taken a liking to the camera. As soon as I get down on her level, she gives me the biggest four toothed smile I've ever seen.

7. Andrew
While I didn't get a chance to visit with one of my oldest friends on either of the two trips I took to DC this year, we were able to catch up in October, at his younger sister's wedding. Andrew is one of my favorite people in the world and spending time with him and his family will always be a highlight of my year.

8. Giraffe at Six Flags Great Adventure Wild Safari (who tried to eat the car next to us)
My siblings and I made it down to the drive through wild safari before it closed for good in September. I laughed so hard, I was gasping for air. It was an amazing experience that I was able to share with family.

9. Zach & Rachel
My second solo wedding this year in the lovely town of Alexandria, Virginia. I've never had a more organized bride and groom: every part of the day was time lined perfectly. The Virgo in me couldn't have been happier! Rachel texted me as she was looking through the photos and told me they were more than they could have ever dreamed of. It's not hard to capture great images when you have two people so in love with each other!

10. Darren Jessee's Guitar
This was one of my favorite pictures of the entire year. Such a lovely, beaten up instrument; it really spoke to me about the musician behind it. It was the first photo I submitted to Groove Magazine to be used as a generic Music Listing Header and will now be a proud part of my portfolio.

11. Rose
The importance of this photo is that it was the first one I took on my new Canon 5D Mark III camera, using my new macro lens. The combination of those two pieces of equipment is a dream. I'd been saving for a new camera for three years, even repairing the shutter on my old camera instead of buying a replacement. When I got the confirmation that I was cleared to photograph Gotye, I upgraded. I can't tell you how much I love this camera.

12. Mia
Nobody has bigger, chocolate brown eyes than Mia or a better smirk. I've watched this adorable little girl grow up so much this year. There's nothing better than walking through the front door and having a child call out your name, even if it sounds like Awww-duh!

13. Grace
I'm sort of a celebrity with Grace, thanks to The Ugly Dance. Every time she sees me, there is this look of absolute joy on her face; sometimes she gets so excited she tries to run over to me faster than her little legs will carry her and she wipes out. The feeling is mutual, Grace!

14. Michael & Wally
There's no greater compliment as a photographer than having someone tell you they love your work, and it's even more special when they go out of their way to tell you that. One of the best moments of my year came in the form of an email: a proud father telling me he loved the pictures I took of his son. It doesn't get any better than that.

Up next: Best of fr EYE days!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best of 2012: Blog Posts

Wil Wheaton collating papers, originally posted on Wil Wheaton Dot Net in response to The Bloggess, who was looking for a witty response to inane PR proposals. (The internet is a strange and glorious beast)

My brother told me that my blog reminded him of Wil Wheaton's book, Just A Geek. My initial response to that was, Oh Gee, thanks! I'm as cool as a washed up child actor! (No offense, Wil!) After I sat down and read Wheaton's book, I instantly understood the parallels my brother drew. This year has been an incredibly busy one for me and I really do feel like I've grown a tremendous amount. I've also found my blogging voice and have been able to share much more of my thoughts and feelings. It's not so bad being compared to Wil Wheaton after all.

For those of you that don't know it, this is only my second year of blogging. I somehow managed to write nearly twice as many posts this year than I did last. Looking at my stats, I've had over 20,000 views this year! I know, I blinked several times when I saw that number. All I can say is thank you. I love sharing my work with you and I'm thrilled that you keep coming back to see more!

While this blog focuses mainly on photographs, every now and then I write something good. To start my Best Of week, I've compiled my ten favorite blog posts of the year. These posts, for the most part, are comprised mostly of words. I've included links and a brief description of each post below.

1. What's Your Normal? January 5th
Very early on in the year, I learned something new and interesting about my own eyes.

2. Commitments vs. Goals January 27th
One of my goals this year was to reach out to other concert photographers. Unfortunately, I was already booked to photograph a basketball game on the same night as a photo exhibit. In the end, it wasn't unfortunate at all.

3. Leap Year Treat: Mrs. Miller Does Her Thing February 29th
What better way to celebrate a day that only comes every four years than a blog post about the incredible Mrs. Miller?

4. Dinosaur Cookies March 7th
One of many interesting baking experiences this year. This post really exposes you to my sarcasm.

5. Throwback Thursday April 5th
I work for a newspaper company and in April, several employees were let go, including two of our staff photographers. To say it was emotional for me is an understatement.

6. Apparently, May is National Photo Month May 23rd
My spin on 100 Tips from a professional photographer with plenty of old photographs.

7. 5 Decisions Away May 30th
One of my main sources of inspiration comes from Matt Paxton, the extreme cleaning specialist from Hoarders. This post was in response to his podcast and has a really fun playlist associated with it.

8. Throwback Thursday: Family Vacations July 26th
Just a bunch of silly family photos from the 80's and 90's. 

9. ParaNorman Soundtrack: Another Side of Brion's Genius August 14th
This was my first crack at an album review.

10. My Concert Photography Experience: Radio City Music Hall October 1st
I was really touched at the amount of people that enjoyed this post. It's one of my favorites because I was able to recount my most memorable experiences of the year.

Make sure you check back every day until the end of the year for the rest of my Best Of posts!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jess McAvoy at The Bitter End 12.20.12

At the beginning of the year, I gave myself a goal of attending at least one concert per month. Jess McAvoy's show at the Bitter End not only filled my quota for the month of December, it also completed my entire goal. As a bonus, I spoke to Jess before hand and got her permission to photograph the concert.

I was introduced to Jess' music by Cris, a Wall-Nut admin I'd met after the Gotye concert at Radio City Music Hall. I am always looking for new music and I often turn to collaborations with artists I am already familiar with. I discovered the Punch Brothers and Yeasayer this year the same way. McAvoy is a singer songwriter originally from Australia and currently lives in Toronto. What I like most about Jess, besides her heartfelt music, is her blog. It's incredibly inspiring for me to read the words of another artist and her struggles. Jess writes about it so eloquently. Make sure you head on over to her website to read her blog.

Of all the concerts I attended this year, Jess was the only solo performer. No backing band, no one to bounce interactions off of; just an amazingly talented woman on stage with her acoustic guitar. For me as a photographer, it was a different challenge. No pretty light shows; all I had to capture was the emotion of the performer.

I've only listened to her 2008 album, As the Sun Falls, a few times so far. While I hate to compare artists, the parallel I drew was to Aimee Mann. McAvoy has the same wit and a beautiful voice. I also thought of Erin McKeown's effortless talent. All of Jess' music is available for purchase on iTunes or streaming through Spotify.

Every table at the Bitter End was packed. Fortunately, I found a nice little unobstructed nook where I could take pictures.

Any performer that can belt out notes gains my respect instantly.

The contrast between Jess' face and the fan in the front made me chuckle.

A nice smile while Jess was engaging the audience.

This shot was my favorite of the night: Jess channeling her inner Elvis.

I'm still working on shooting video with the new camera. I'm not sure if my shutter speed is responsible for the banding in the light. Apologies if you find it distracting.

Thanks again to Jess for allowing me to shoot and to Cris for bringing me along to the show.  As always, I'll go out with the shoe shot of the night.

Photo of the Week: Week 51

These are the May family Christmas cookies, aka the best holiday treat in the entire world. Every year, my brothers and I get together just before Christmas and make up 3-4 batches of dough, from scratch of course, then bring them to our family gatherings.

Friday, December 21, 2012

fr EYE day

It's the last fr EYE day of the year!

Make sure you check back often next week for my Best Ofs posts, including a really cool animated fr EYE day gif!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gotye Williamsburg Park Second Look

Now that the tour is over, I thought it was time to publish my second look from Brooklyn. I tend to use my gut reaction when I go through shot selection. In the case of this concert, I shot well over 2,000 images, which is what I tend to shoot during an entire eight hour wedding. I tried to select no more than a few of each song, unless there was some sort of fun interaction between band members. As with all photography, there are shots that aren't crisply in focus or where people are making unfortunate faces that have to be thrown out.

Usually, I find that I have missed a few pictures in my original selection process that are just as good as some of the originals. I like to take a month or two off before I do this because it allows me to look at the whole shoot with a new perspective. Below are the best pictures I originally passed by.

Notice Ben's face in this shot.