Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Looking back with some embarrassment


Christmas is coming up.

And as the job grinds through the holidays (Disneyland never closes, you know), my family manages to celebrate Christmas spread over a few days as we wouldn't all be available on the same day.  You get used to it.

That said, my mind is already into January of 2014 - it's always forward of where I physically am.  And the first big thing that happens for me is the NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center.  The general public is not allowed to attend as it is an 'industry' event, you have to be affiliated with someone in the music industry to attend.  As a musician, I get to be affiliated with different companies so I can attend as a visitor, the first couple of years it was with Acoutin Drums - a local drum builder who makes these incredible drums in Huntington Beach.  They were probably the only snare drums I heard that sounded different from everybody else's, and the retail prices reflected it.  
Due to various connections, I may be a guest of Pearl Drums this year, but I haven't been told yet.  It's just cool to go to the show (it happens over four days) see some musical stars, see the new products, enjoy the circus.  In reality, it's really just like a local RV or Bridal show, that's attempting to keep itself exclusive, for the sake of selling people their wares.  If it really was an "Industry Only" event, you wouldn't see many freaks on the floor seeking out autographs of the stars - which really has nothing to do with debuting new products, right?  

But it makes for a great photographic experience.  It's kind of like being a street photographer, but you're inside, and people generally want to be photographed.  So if you're in there with a camera, you have a captive audience of people that want their images taken.  Everybody who's anybody will pose for a shot, because afterall, the more press they get and exposure, the better.  Not that I expose them anymore than they already are, but I do fall into thecategory of "guy with camera", so they're nice and they pose.

The above shot is my wife with Living Colour bassist, Doug Wimbish.   The man is an incredible player.  He's such a great solo performer on the bass guitar, I would imagine playing in a band must be a little stifling for him - he can carry a whole show on his own with a four-string bass.  Remember that rap song "White Lines" with that crazy repeating bass part that was really the whole song?  That was him.  He's done alot of things since then, but that's probably the biggest music standard he's known for.   In Living Colour the man is THE bottom end for that band.  The man lays down some mean bass with those guys.

Anyway, the shot above is an embarrassment shot.  He was doing a small concert at the DOD Electronics booth, and I was shooting away while he played - it was incredible.  I'm wearing a Canon EOS-1D with a 20-35/2.8 Tokina zoom lens, totally playing the part of pro photographer, and this rig without a flash is about 8 pounds.  After he's finished, I managed to get him to pose with the wife for a shot, only thing is, after we're done and he's having a meet and greet with others, I discover the camera decided to act up on me and it didn't take the shot!

Mortified we hang out a little bit longer, and while he's trying to pack up his bass to go get something to eat, he notices that we're still lingering.  I told him the shot didn't happen and could he please pose again?   He's cool, he does it and we got the shot.  It's not perfect, but I'm not gonna bug him any more than I have to, and then he's gone like the wind.  

This was the event that got me mad at my gear - for not working when it should have.  I know it happens - but a Canon EOS-1D should not glitch.  I'll admit it could've been operator error, but who the hell knows?  I was shooting everything beforehand just fine - I got all those shots.  The one of him and the wife is a big deal, and the camera glitched

Part of me is angry because the camera did this to me.  Part of me is embarrassed because I may have done it to myself.   Had I known my gear a little better, it might not have happened at all.  This is what makes me embarrassed.   If there's anything you can glean from this experience, it's learn-and-know-your-gear.  You never know when that incredible shot will present itself and when it comes, you need to be able to solve the problem fast and get 'er done!  

After this incident, I started studying my owner's manuals with camera in hand and seeing what button pushes do so you can concentrate on running the shoot.   I'll tell you this much, that ain't happening ever again ;)

1 comment:

  1. Found this via the Drummerworld forum.

    Nice to see a fellow drummer with a photo habit! I use a D800 at work a lot. A LOT. I still do stupid stuff with it all the time, even when I should know better. We were unpacking a critical component one time and I was supposed to document the entire process. As I was reviewing the shots afterwards on my computer I realized I had left the bracketing mode on and two out of every five shots were simply unusable because they were either over or underexposed. I normally shoot Manual but things were moving quickly and I had to get the shots as they were happening. I also shoot RAW almost exclusively, but again during another unpacking from JPL, I decided color wasn't critical so I shot in JPEG. I never shoot in jpeg, and didn't realize beyond the "FINE" setting, there was also a size setting beyond that, so I ended up shooting 8MP images on a camera capable of shooting 36MP! Normally it's not a big deal and most images get reduced in size, but serial numbers were important and I got lucky they were legible in a few of the shots.

    On another note, I've been saving up for a Tama SC Bubinga in the Volcanic Red Burst. You've owned a few Tamas, right? What are your thoughts? How about their hardware? I had a double chained, progressive cam double pedal for almost two decades (not an iron cobra) that has held up beautifully, needing only basic maintenance for squeaks. Have you played the new SpeedCobras at all?