The highlight of my first official day of CMJ07, was the New York based indie-rock quintet Tigers and Monkeys. At the time, it had been a while since I had seen a female-fronted indie band that rocked as hard as T&M. It had been even longer since I’d seen an indie band whose lead singer was also a lawyer and a sketch comedian.

Despite the aforementioned thin crowd, singer Shonali Bhowmik and crew churned out a tight rockin set with grit and class. With their first LP, a couple of music videos, and favorable reviews from CMJ, Vice, and Time Out NY, the band, seems poised for a break. Check out their album Loose Mouth here.

PHOTOGRAPHER’S NOTES

Similar to the Breaking Laces and The Hollow Sound sets earlier in the night, the crowd was fairly sparce and scattered throughout the open floor-plan of Williamsburg’s Luna Lounge. As is almost always the case for this venue, there was neither a photo pit nor a song limit for any of the acts.

With no shooting restrictions save jumping onto the stage, I was able to move freely around the venue taking shots from both front-of-stage as well as from the wings.

Lighting

The lighting at Luna Lounge consists of a few rows of standard colored cans that line all three sides of the stage. Front-lighting is supplied by a stage-length set of lights between the tech booth and the front of the house. Though the quality of the light is better than many NYC venues, the overall quantity of light is often lacking. I continually find the need for high ISOs and f/2.8 or faster lenses when shooting at Luna.

Camera Settings

You wouldn’t know if from the web snaps, but this entire set was shot at ISO 6400. Generally speaking, I find ISO 3200 on the 1D3 acceptable but ISO 6400 starts to get questionable.

Shonali’s frantic guitar playing made a shutter speed of 1/100 and an aperture in the rage of f/2.0 – 2.8 a necessity. As usual, auto-white balance and single focus rounded out my camera settings.

For all Canon concert shooters who have the option of turning On/Off your Auto-Focus Assist Points:

I’ve noticed that turning off AF assist points greatly increases the fine accuracy of low-light critical focus. When I first started to customize my 1D3, I assumed that turning on the optional AF assist points would speed low-light focus by helping the camera determine the actual point of focus. I was wrong.

The AF assist points seem to broaden the possible area to include nearby and unintended areas of contrast even when the camera is capable of attaining focus with the single selected AF point. This is a problem when the camera focuses on a point of greater contrast, the microphone instead of the performer’s eye for instance, even though the camera was capable of focusing on the eye in the first place.

Gear

I relied on the pairing of my Canon 1D3 and 24-70mm f/2.8L for nearly the entire set. The Canon 135mm f/2.0 provided the extra reach needed for the drummer and tight shots of the lead singer.

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