Shooting Warsons – Metal Delight

I recently had the chance to shoot a concert by one of Hamburg’s underground metal bands, called Warsons. I got the opportunity because the bass player is also a colleague of mine. (You should listen to them on Spotify here)

I used to play in bands for around 15 years, I was socialized on metal by my brother, who, in the 1970s listened to Scorpions a lot – and I liked it. „You see ze microphones in the air, you see zem? We’re doing a live recording tonight!“ – Klaus Meine still rings in my ears, complete with his German accent.

Later on I listened to AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Megadeath, Slayer – you get the picture, go to Spotify and get a whiff of that. My bands ranged from metal to surf-metal to funk-metal (sort of), but as I’m a workaholic who can’t get up from the sofa once work is over, I no longer felt I had the time or energy for bands. That’s a real shame, making music was my first creative love.

Now the drug of my choice is photography and so everything came sort of full-circle, when Björn said that it was ok for me to shoot the concert at the Headcrash club. I prepared by watching tons of videos on how to shoot concerts, what lenses to bring, how to set up the camera, how to behave(!) and so on. I’m very thorough. I actually bought a lens for the occasion, so that I had three prime lenses that open up to f1.8: 35mm, 50mm, 90mm (all equiv., I shoot on a 2x crop). I knew that I’d have to crank up the ISO, which is the only problem that my OMD-EM1 II has. Micro-four thirds cameras let in less light in total and have a very pixel-cramped sensor, so that ISO 1600 is my regular max and I go up to 3200 if I absolutely have to, but that’s about it. Any higher than that and I feel that my images fall apart in terms of grain. The only saving grace is that the grain is almost film-like and does not look too digital.

Anyway, when I arrived at the location I quickly found out that my lenses were really suited, especially the new 35mm one. The club isn’t huge, so 35mm really helped me capture full-body portraits from just in front of the space with enough space to think about composition. But once the concert started, the lights actually went down! So my plan of using 1/100th at ISO 1600 went bust and I had to settle with 1/20th to 1/80th at ISO 6400(!!). Thankfully autofocus tracking still worked under these conditions, but I was deeply worried about image quality once I imported them into Lightroom.

But while shooting I did not have the time to think about all of that too much. I had learned that running around without a plan would lead to disaster, so I had the plan to stick to one lens per song and divide the stage into four positions (left, right, centre, centre-back) that way I had something like one minute per position to find the shot and shoot. Then I would step up to the next lens, repeat until I had gone from 35mm up to 90mm and back down. After that, the set was over.

By the way: the concert was nothing short of amazing. The band rocked hard and loud and there was a generous amount of headbanging and grunting and growling.

In the end, I had 20 good shots and I’m going to show a selection all in Black and White, which has actually more to do with colour-grain that with anything else, but I think that the images have a very classic, 80s feel to them, which is just what Warsons is all about.


There’s something about Madeira

There was a lot for me to unpack when I read and saw Sascha’s post last week. I was wondering how he could not like Madeira as much as I had and naturally assumed that he had done something wrong. What could that be? Having been ill might have been part of that and would naturally bias someone against an experience. Then again, I lost twothousand euros worth of camera equipment there (into a ravine – I won’t go into the hows and whys of that here) and though that sent me down a phase of depression for a couple of days, I liked the island just as much.

Another aspect was how different our experiences were. My friend and I were there for only a week and we did a lot of roadtripping along the meandering cliff-roads, went on whale-watching trips and Saskia went canyoning while I explored Funchal. All in all I guess we spent very different days there and that – for me – gives an idea of how varied the possible experiences are on Madeira. I thoroughly enjoyed the clouds and the weather, the sun and the driving-around. I do agree that Funchal will not make it into my top 50 of cities, probably not even the top 100, I just don’t think about it that much, apart from the cable-car up the mountain. But as we saw such different things and because I lost a whole day of nature images because of gravity and a healthy dose of clumsiness, my selection looks decidedly different and are mainly shot on a 50mm prime lens, the only one I had left and not the worst, I might say.

My main goal was to shoot nature, especially whales, and I did not lose my telephoto lens, but that is a project I will pursue more in the future. So here are some shots from Funchal and our main roadtrip and I think that they are quite different from Sascha’s, simply for the reason that we did not hike as much and thus got very different imagery. I made them black and white, cause I felt like it and because I wanted to renew my take on Madeira as the images have sat here for three quarters of a year.

I hope you enjoy them!

Oh, and before I forget. I know we are both busy at the moment, but how about a fine art/abstract image of food?