Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008

As a steady stream of DeVotchKa fans entered the venue, the fingers of a young Canadian folk singer flew in a pale blur across the strings of an Autoharp. Within moments of Basia Bulat’s first notes, over a thousand talking people stopped, looked towards the stage and listened.

Even though many in the audience had never heard of Basia Bulat (let alone knew how to pronounce her name; “BASH-a BOO-lat”), they were immediately taken with her smokey voice and radient personality.

Trading autoharp for guitar throughout her set, Basia performed mostly songs from her 2007 release Oh, My Darling. While her performances of the quicker tunes “Snakes and Ladders” and “In the Night” struck chords of joy with the audience, her somber renditions of “Little Waltz” and “The Pilgriming Vine” were equally moving.

Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008 Basia Bulat @ Terminal 5 - 20.05.2008

PHOTOGRAPHER’S NOTES

I first encountered Basia Bulat when she opened for St. Vincent at Bowery Ballroom on February 29, 2008. That night was like many others for me in that I was only concerned with getting shots of the headliner. It was also typical at Bowery that the chatter of the early arriving crowd of NYU students and Village hipsters completely filled the room. More often then not, the opening band of three acts is doomed to suffer through this racket their entire set. Not Basia Bulat – she stopped the chatter dead in its tracks within one song. I was completely captivated.

Her perfomance of “In the Night” that evening is indicative of the kind of wholesome energy that makes me want to run around in a field on a summer night.

Since I was too lazy to write a full entry for her show at the time, here are a few unpublished shots from her Bowery gig.

Basia Bulat’s at Bowery Ballroom, February 29, 2008

Basia Bulat @ Bowery Ballroom - 29.02.2008 Basia Bulat @ Bowery Ballroom - 29.02.2008 Basia Bulat @ Bowery Ballroom - 29.02.2008 Basia Bulat @ Bowery Ballroom - 29.02.2008

Lighting

The lighting for Basia’s set was very simple. A small amount of red and blue backlight with a modest amount of warm spotlight from the front.

Gear

As always, I shot with my Canon EOS-1D Mark III. I alternated between the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS.

Exposure

My exposure stayed locked at ISO3200 and 1/160 at f/2.8 for her entire set.

As the video is evidence, Basia rocks back and forth a lot while playing so I could have used a higher shutter speed to increase my yield. Since I was happy with the photographs I’d taken of Basia at Bowery, I decided to stick with zooms for the versatility and keep my ISO at 3200 to keep noise down.

End Notes

I learned before the show that Basia is actually a friend of a friend of mine from Toronto. It’s a small world.

  1. Nice Basia shots. She’s a super nice girl, too. Who do you know in Toronto that knows her (you can email that to me, if you want).

  2. chris

    Thanks Carrie. My fiancee is from the Toronto area, so I have quite a few Canadian friends now. I’m actually hanging out with 4 Toronto/NYC transplants right now. I’ll send you an email later.

  3. Awesome sets here, Chris! Such good moments and closeups. Definitely a different style than other shoots. Todd seemed to take a similar approach too huh? Again, props!

  4. chris

    Thanks a ton Keith. Basia has a lot of mic stands, chairs, and stuff in the way when she performs. When you’re standing right in front of her, it makes sense to to try to cut a lot of that stuff out.

  5. Hey Chris. Keith was the first to tell me about your site, but soon met Todd when he shot the 2nd gig at the Chaifetz Arena with Chingy and The Starting Line (although, I can’t even compare to the both of you..).

    Great set, though. The expression on her face in all your photos are great. You seem to use the longer end of the 200 more than Todd does, which gives a tighter look and a different feel to the photos. Great work!

  6. chris

    Hi Chris, thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! I to tend to use the longer end of the 70-200mm more than Todd does. Generally speaking I shoot slightly tighter than he does, although this is often not a good thing.

    Neither of us really crop the images afterwards, which is fine, except that if I shoot too tight, I get screwed if the artist moves slightly and I end up cutting off an arm or guitar head!

    Cheers,

    Chris

  7. It’s also worth noting that the different multiplication factors of the cameras Chris and I are currently using – 1.3x and 1x, respectively.

  8. Chris

    Ohhh yes, that would make a difference as well — I didn’t take that into account!

  9. Hey Chris. Keith was the first to tell me about your site, but soon met Todd when he shot the 2nd gig at the Chaifetz Arena with Chingy and The Starting Line (although, I can't even compare to the both of you..).

    Great set, though. The expression on her face in all your photos are great. You seem to use the longer end of the 200 more than Todd does, which gives a tighter look and a different feel to the photos. Great work!

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