A riproaring rollercoaster of a journey through time, space and that side road just over there...

Category: "Music related"

Al Dodds (Deceased)

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on July 30th, 2009 @ 14:45:46 , using 111 words,

Al Dodds (Deceased) at Salwa Rocks II - 2009

Since this shot was taken on 30 April 2009, I have been informed that Al Dodds (above) has sadly died following a coronary incident at work. He died on 19 July 2009 before they could get him to the hospital for treatment. He leaves a wife behind, who has been provided with a hi-res copy of the picture above, a print of which will be placed on the coffin at Al's funeral. I'm told that his wife has said that this is "an incredible shot that captured his fun loving nature". Rest in Peace Al, and I'm sure we'll all be thinking of you when Salwa Rocks hits the stage again next year.

Braveheart is in for surgery

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on July 19th, 2009 @ 00:09:22 , using 246 words,
Posted in Music related

To be honest, it's more of an outpatient thing, so nothing series. A little brush up with some wet & dry for its fret ends, a tweak on the truss-rod to take some of the relief out of the neck, a mild fettling of the bridge saddles to allow the strings to sit closer to the fretboard camber, some new strings and a final check up.

The first two are already done and already I can tell that there's an improvement in the way it's playing, though now, the strings may be a fraction too low over the 12th fret, and taking a little more out of the outer saddles would only exacerbate the problem. This is good as I'd got almost no where to go with the bridge adjustment were they still too high.

I love the way this one came together, it looks like it could stun a charging rhino at a hundred paces, mucho kudos to Warmoth who made all the (wooden) components that went into it. I've put some feelers out about taking part in something for next years' Salwa Rocks - no idea whether that will come off, but I can promise that 'Braveheart' will most definitely be putting in some live air time should anything happen.

This is she, perched in the back of the Durango - ain't she purty?

Braveheart's Battleaxe

Actually, a much better image of this one is long overdue - time to get the camera out I think.

I think my iPod is broken

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on July 17th, 2009 @ 23:13:21 , using 22 words,
Posted in Music related

it's the only explanation I can think of as to why it started playing Ronan Keating's "Love is a Rollercoaster" this evening...

The Boxtones and a Dedication

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on July 15th, 2009 @ 23:23:06 , using 193 words,
Posted in Music related

It's not every day you get to give your better half a public declaration of devotion, but that's what I managed this evening. We're over in Bahrain as a bit of a treat for our 9th wedding anniversary (yesterday) and staying once more at the Diplomat up in the DQ area of Manama. As is our won't, we were down in the Fiddlers' Green where The Boxtones are playing once more (must find out when they leave). They were asked to come up with something suitable for an "old married couple" and chose Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours". Nice choice I thought.

So far, we've always enjoyed them as they really do seem to enjoy what they're doing and are far from mechanical in their performances. This evenings' stand out performances were a song we've never heard before (last one on first set) and a cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Freebird' on which Gary pulled off an absolutely blazing guitar solo. I've no idea how much longer they'll be here in Bahrain, but I'm hoping this won't be the last time we'll see them.

Now how do I get them into Riyadh for Salwa Rocks?

Most Viewed at Flickr

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on May 11th, 2009 @ 00:56:12 , using 90 words,

This guitar, a Yamaha SA2200, is now my most viewed picture over at flickr. Oddly though, it has very few comments on it and even fewer favourites on it - just 1 as I write. It would seem that most of the views originate from search engines such as Google images as opposed to views originating within flickr itself. I don't mind people looking, but it would be nice if they could at least acknowledge that they like what they see.

Yamaha SA2200

...or maybe they don't :(

Nah! I don't believe that... :crazy:

On reflection

Written by:Chris of Arabia
Published on May 6th, 2009 @ 16:23:48 , using 810 words,

It's now almost a full week since I did the shoot at Salwa Rocks II and I think perhaps time to reflect on what went right and more importantly, what I could do better next time. It's probably fair to say that Salwa Rocks II wasn't quite Knebworth, but then again Knebworth isn't set less than 0.5 Km from my front door either. Considering that it was mostly put together by a volunteer staff of compound residents with little to no experience of setting up a sizeable live music event, it was bloody marvellous. There were too many good things about this to start nit picking on the way the day was organised and run. It's also worth remembering that the musicians were (I think) all of amateur status - this is not their real job.

The point of this post really is to look at what I as a photographer (also amateur) could have done better to ensure I had the best chance of grabbing some top notch shots from the day. With that I'll make a little list of things I can think of that would help.

  1. Firstly, at a maximum ISO of 1600, the Canon 350D really isn't up to doing the nights shots. The only way I got away with what I did was because the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM does such a good job of image stabilisation. So long as the performers didn't move at all, I could get away with some ridiculously slow shutters speeds - at one point as low as 1/8s. I do though need that shorter focal length, so perhaps another 5DII or 5D body might be in order, with the non-IS (boo) 24-70mm f/2.8 L might be better - more moolah!
  2. There were times when I needed a better view of things and found myself climbing on things I perhaps shouldn't have been, particularly so at the sides of the stage. Next year I think taking the household step-ladders would be a good thing. Easy fix - no cost either.
  3. What next? I know there's something, but seem to forget what... Oh yes, memory cards. The 5DII eats them for breakfast and spits out their wirey entrails. Even with 4Gb cards, I was getting wary of running out of space and taking less shots than I might have done, because I didn't want to run out of options for 'the next band'. I even used up two 2Gb cards and with that body they only hold around 57 images as I was shooting in RAW. This is an easy sort, before the year is out, I reckon I'll have at least two 8Gb cards and perhaps a couple more 4Gb ones too.
  4. The next thing I think I need to do is not to zoom in too close at times. There are quite a few images, where for the want of a few more millimetres of zooming out, I'd have got 'the whole guitar' or 'the whole performer' on the image. With the 350D and its 8MP sensor, you tend to want to squeeze every last pixel out of the shot and really fill the the frame - with the 5DII, there perhaps a little more latitude there and you have the option to crop without throwing too much away in the process
  5. Next, I need to concentrate more on avoiding the stage furniture; music stands, mic stands, dangling cables and so on. Towards the end of the day, I did get better at predicting where a performer was going to move, but before that I collected any number of fantastic shots of singers and guitarists with mics, cymbals and assorted other sundries just at a point where the shot became pretty much unusable
  6. The last couple are things that I think the organisers could look at: Firstly the lighting - from a photographers perspective they just weren't bright enough to work with reliably. There were times when the row of lights over the front edge of the stage weren't being used - not sure why. Whilst there were lights either side of the stage, they were just a bit too far back from the plane the performers tended to be standing in, which meant faces were often in shadow. Those side lights were a bit too far away as well, which left the light rather weak at the centre of the stage. All easy fixes, they just need a little thought.
  7. The stage itself could have been placed around 12-18" further back from the front barrier. This would have given me a working space in front of the audience and would have helped with getting jostled at times - not what you want when you're stretching the limits of the camera equipment anyway
  8. Finally, next year I'll just pick up a guitar and perform, it's over so much quicker...

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