For my day one post: Brigalow Beatz Music Festvial Day 1 Post
For the pics, scroll down to the gallery, click on the first one, and it should come up in a lightbox style slideshow.
After a significant amount of time, I’ve finally finished processing images from Brigalow Beatz Day 2. Perhaps it was to be expected, but there was a significantly higher success rate on day 2 than on day 1, after Stacey and I spent most of the Saturday night reviewing day 1 images and seeing where we went wrong. As a result of the mistakes I made on Saturday, I came to the festival on day 2 a lot more confident, and with our cheap EF 50mm 1:1.8 lens, instead of my beloved 24-105mm 1:4 L lens. The extra light the 1.8 aperture let through made all the difference, especially since I was trying to avoid having to use a flash.
Anyway, our actual morning started at the relatively uncivilised hour of 10:30am with a photography workshop being run by John Elliot. I’d never heard of Mr Elliot before, but the program told us he had been a preferred photographer for Slim Dusty for many years, and he has since written/done the photography for a couple of books on Slim Dusty that went on to be best sellers in Australia. I wasn’t expecting much from the workshop, but I ended up taking away a lot more than I initially thought, especially after taking the time to think through some of his comments. One of his recurring themes seems to be that someone who shoots on an iPhone or camera phone but actually goes out to interesting places and events is going to get better and more interesting photos than I person with a Hasselblad or Leica that sits around at home talking about photography on the internet. I can’t remember the exact way he said it, but it was words to that effect – tip #9 on his Top Ten Tips For Better Photographs handout was “Show up.”
He also repeatedly emphasised that, whilst the technical aspects of photography were important (aperture, shutter speed, rules of composition, etc), they are not the be all and end all of taking good photos. Interesting subject matter, interesting people, interesting events and interesting scenery will always produce a better photo than following technical “rules” to the letter with an uninteresting subject. I’m not sure why but these two points in particular seemed to stick in my brain. Other topics discussed included the importance of remembering to keep your batteries charged and memory cards cleared, and that taking great portraits has more to do with understanding and dealing with people than it does with photography. Also good points. Near the end of the workshop John also talked about coming back to the Isaac Region next year to run full day photography workshops, and after this short talk, I think Stacey and I will be going to them when they happen.
Anyway, after the photography talk we made our way back to the concert tent at around about the same time Chasing the Jeffrey started playing their Day 2 slot. My first priority was to get some drinks and sit down to think about things, so I actually ended up missing shooting them (for the second day in a row) because their set was shorter than I had thought it was going to be. Again, I’ll have to get them next year. Stacey managed to get some good shots of them, which can be found on her blog.
Next up on the lineup was Mace and The Motor, a three piece indie rock outfit originating from Toowoomba. It was about this point that I said “fuck it” and got up to actually start taking photos. Luckily for us, being so early in the day there wasn’t much of a crowd, and owing to the heat most of the crowd was just sitting down and chilling in the shade, so Stacey and I had free access to the area in front of the stage, which made for some great photos. I was quite impressed by the effort Mace and The Motor put into their show, despite remarking at one point “Hope you’re having fun, all fucking 37 of you!” or words to that effect. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s always good to see bands that don’t seem to care that they’re performing for a small and rather uninterested audience. Also, I’ve said it for just about everyone who performed, but great energy on stage for such a hot mid afternoon time slot.
After Mace & The Motor came singer/songwriter Neda. Much like Gossling from the Saturday, I have a lot of respect for this woman’s talent, but her music falls outside the very broad band of music that I enjoy listening to. I wouldn’t turn it off the way I would the pop shit you hear on commercial radio, but at the same time I wouldn’t go out of my way to listen to it. Also, it was whilst I was taking photos of her that I realised that singer/songwriters who play kind of indie soft rock just aren’t my type of photography subject. Of course I don’t mean to say her performance was disappointing in anyway… it just doesn’t inspire my photography in the same way as some of the other bands have, especially Pigeon and King Cannons. Stacey on the other hand seemed more inspired. Different strokes I guess…
Speaking of Pigeon, their day 2 set was next up, and I was looking forward to it, especially having seen some of the shots I “almost got” the day before. I don’t really need to elaborate what I think of these guys, except to say that, if possible, their day 2 set was even better than the day 1 edition. So much energy, so much enjoyment, and great music combined into one. My 50mm 1:1.8 served me well, I and took literally hundreds of shots of these guys, and I after getting home and going through the pics, I’ve had trouble sorting through and picking out the best, because so many of them turned out better than I had hoped. Can’t wait to see these guys again, so hopefully we’ll see them next year.
After Pigeon left the stage I was feeling rather exhausted – something about standing inches away from a huge bank of speakers whilst supporting a rather heavy camera (I had a battery grip and external flash mounted even though I wasn’t using it) wears you down quickly, especially in 34°C+ heat, so I ended up sitting out the next act, which was another singer/songwriter by the name of Emma Louise. I don’t really need to say it, but her music wasn’t really my cup of tea, even though she was amazingly talented. Stacey on the other hand took heaps of great photos of her, and really enjoyed her show.
It was around this time that I got a little bored whilst checking my lenses for dust.
The final act we saw on the Sunday was Busby Marou, an indie rock duo made up of Tom Busby and Jeremy Marou. I’d been looking forward to seeing these guys since I’d watched a YouTube clip of Biding My Time in the lead up to Brigalow Beatz. Their performance did not disappoint, but the lighting they were using was an absolute nightmare for photography. White balancing was near impossible, and by this time the sun had set and we had next to no natural light to help out. Their playing was amazing, and I can honestly say if you get a chance to see them live, do so.
Anyway, the loss of light, our less-than-ideal equipment, hunger, running out of money, and the fatigue that goes hand-in-hand with Stacey being pregnant all combined with a phone call from Stacey’s mum saying she had just finished cooking fried rice and sausages to have us heading for the gates. We would’ve like to stay for some of the later acts, but it was a Sunday, we both had work on Monday, and considering that up until this weekend the most we’d done for the past few weekends was sit around on our computers and gone for a bit of a drive, we were just too damn tired.
Aside from a quick glance through our photos on the Sunday night, we both crashed pretty much as soon as we walked through our front door.
Neda Official Site: http://www.nedamusic.com.au/
Pigeon Official Site: http://www.pigeonofficial.com/
Emma Louise Official Site: http://emmalouise.bandcamp.com/
Brigalow Beatz Official Site: http://www.brigalowbeatz.com/
Chasing the Jeffrey Official Site: http://chasingthejeffrey.com/ (Hasn’t been updated since January, and the link to buy the album doesn’t work)
All of the above can be found on Facebook, Twitter and other social media as well, links from their respective sites.