Despite sweltering heat inside the Good-Shepherd Faith Church at Lincoln Center, Sigur Rós played an intensely intimate concert at the Wordless Music Series. Though it was rumored that the band might play a few short sets while screening their film “heima” in NYC, this appearance was officially “unannounced.”

Beginning with the title track from its 1999 release Ágætis Byrjun, Sigur Rós’ three-song set was punctuated by alternating silence and raucous applause from the the standing room only crowd. The remaining two songs, Heima and Njósnavélin, were marked by the aching grace of lead singer Jónsi Birgisson’s voice.


The band was lit from the rafters by a small set of angled incandescents that generated a weak, but usable, amount of light. Falling more strongly from house-left, the lighting produced deep shadows on the faces of the band. Since this wasn’t a moody rock show, I decided to overexpose slightly to open up the shadows and recover some of th detail lost to the darkest tones.

The entire set was shot at f/2.8 using either the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L or the Canon 70-200IS f/2.8L. The intimate venue was no place for the uzi-like chatter of the 1D3 at 10 FPS, so I switched to silent shooting mode and shot sparingly. Since camera shake and a low shutter count are never a good combination, I decided to push the sensor to ISO6400 to ensure steady shooting at a comfortable 1/160 to 1/200 sec.

There were no rules against flash, but I opted to use the ambient light for all except for couple of shots before and after the set. The following shot was exposed for the ambient with the flash set to TTL +1 1/3 using spot metering. The light is bounced off of the wall to my left and the white ceiling of the church.

The band was even kind enough to pose for a quick group shot after the show. Again, this was image was made with the flash spot metering skin and set to TTL +1 EV.