Zack Arias: We need to be about our work

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of how Zack Arias expresses many of his thoughts regarding photography and everything around it. Ever since his highly popular guest post/video on Scott Kelby’s blog, I’ve been following Zack’s own blog. Last week he wrote a blog post We need to be about our work criticizing one of many “follow these steps and you will be an instant photographer” programs.

Miss Mallorys Third Time Lucky "Topi"

While I am not a pro (but have some thoughts of maybe being one in the future), I care about the craft behind photography and am generally appalled by the lack of interest in the craft of photography and the huge business of selling ready-made templates etc. for photographers to use in their own work. Sure, many of us are not graphic designers but if a photographer’s process is take picture following current trends, apply actions / presets in editing software, plop in ready-made design and sell to the client, I can’t see where the craft is in the process.

I have a long history of promoting web development and design as a craft and the same to me applies to photography. There are always various technical issues that need honing and betterment in each craftsman’s life, but in addition to the technical the craft should involve finding one’s own vision and style. We all start by emulating the works of others, there is nothing wrong with that but building a business on top of copying and emulating others does not take the craft any further.

But honestly, don’t just read what I’m saying. If you have any interest whatsoever in the craft of photography go and read Zack’s post. And after that, go and look at the excellent Q&A blog on Tumblr that he started to share his knowledge (in addition to what is already on his blog and in his training sessions). And honestly, listen to his critiques. They are insightful and hilarious at the same time.

Just be patient, keep on going. Transformation takes time and from what I’ve seen in my life it really is worth the wait. Zack Arias

P.S. And yes, the obligatory dog photo as the post image. It’s a part of my working on my craft and exploring how to use small strobes to overcome daylight with black dogs as the subject.

Michael Monroe @ Sulo-klubi Ilosaarirock 2012

As stated earlier, the main act for the warmup of this years Ilosaarirock was Michael Monroe. Michael is one of the true legends of Finnish rock – after all Hanoi Rocks is mentioned as one of the first bands of 80’s glam rock and the first Finnish band to be any kind of success outside of Finland.

Michael is known for his energetic performances and his inability to stay still while on stage. The 50 year old (he celebrated his birthday the weekend before in Ruisrock in an incredible gig) didn’t disappoint. As a photographer, I’m very glad I’d done my homework and watched YouTube videos of him performing live. It gave me many pointers of what to watch out for and still I felt like I lost him every know and then.

The crowd was also wild, especially in the front rows. While I can anticipate a circle pit in metal gigs, the energy and wildness of some of the fans really surprised me. The crowd was so lively that we found ourselves moving back from the third row in the crowd to the sixth or seventh during the set.

Right behind us for most of the gig was an older man, who recalled seeing Hanoi live before Razzle’s death and during the memorial gigs they threw in early 1985. We’re young enough to only have seen Hanoi in it’s later incarnation when Andy McCoy and Michael restarted it in the last decade.

For a set that started at 0:45 and ended around 01:45, the crowd sure didn’t show any sign of slowing down. If anything, as the gig neared it’s end the crowd got more and more energy. An unforgettable experience that even the slight problems with the mix can’t ruin.

Shooting notes: As with Viikate’s set, I was initially planning on shooting the first three with the 70-200 at ISO800. However, with the crowd being as lively as they were, the long lens seemed like too much of a risk and I quickly switched over to the 17-55 for the rest of the set. I also bumped up the ISO to 1600 since Michael spent a large portion of the gig in front of the monitor cabinets and thus out of the stage lights. All in all there was plenty of light, but the man just moves around too much ;)

And as usual, more photographs in our gallery.

Viikate & Stam1na @ Sulo-klubi Ilosaarirock 2012

While I’m way behind in editing and posting concert photographs from April, I started work on the photographs I took in Sulo-klubi (a warm up set of gigs for the official Ilosaarirock festival) immediately. The main reason why we went was to see the main act of the evening, Michael Monroe (photos coming later). But Viikate didn’t disappoint either.

To be honest, we missed the first two bands of the evening, but isn’t picking and choosing the ones you want to hear a part of the festival? Luckily Sulo-klubi was held in a very large tent instead of it being outdoors since the weather forecast promised rain. And it wasn’t wrong either.

After Viikate, Finnish trash metallers Stam1na hit the stage. I ventured into the tent to make a few photographs, but other than that we took the opportunity to get some refreshments and stand out in the rain :)

More photographs of both Viikate and Stam1na in our gallery, as usual.

Shooting notes: Viikate started out with lighting that was very strong on blue washes, but still lit well enough that I was at ISO800 through the whole gig. Since I wasn’t in the pit, I was free to shoot through the whole gig, but I started out with my 70-200/f4 for the first three and the switched to my 15-55/f2.8 for the rest of the gig. We were in the third row or so through the gig. With Stam1na I started out near the back of the tent and used the 70-200. Later I moved to the front a side and then ventured out to stand right in front of the pit. Picking up a 70-200 and trying to keep an eye out for the pit denizens is not something I recommend.