Reel Big Fish

January 20, 2009 – As the security staff on the barrier of Tuesday’s Reel Big Fish concert will tell you, the Third Wave is alive and well. Performing in support of their new release Fame, Fortune and Fornication, the band whipped crowd into a sweat drenched, crowd surfing frenzy. There were aloha shirts and irony aplenty (including their well known cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman) during the band’s 1.5 hour set.

Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish Reel Big Fish

Photographer’s Notes

The group shot was taken back stage with the guys just seconds before they started their set. Once all of the band was assembled, I had only enough time to introduce myself, position them and get off a couple of frames.

Time was short so I kept it simple – a single diffused Nikon SB900 on camera and bounced into the wall behind me. The recycle time of the speedlight was dramatically shortened by the use of the Nikon SD9 external battery pack I had picked up the day before. I’ll be writing a mini-review of that product shortly.

The live shoot was very straight forward. Three songs, no flash and try not to get hit by the surfers. The band was lit from behind by a mix of yellow, purple and green with a decent amount of neutral fill from the front. I stuck with the 24-70mm for this set.

End Notes

A huge thanks to Tom, Aaron, Scott, Dan, Little Johnny Christmas, Ryland and Derek for spending time with me and for being generally awesome.

  1. The portrait shot looks great, bro. Nice use of the mirror and small space.

    The inclusion of the wall you’re bouncing off in the mirror gets awesome double-usage, because it’s faking as a backlight. Nice.

  2. Good shots, really sharp. The portrait is great too. I need to buy a new flash (Right now I have crappy SB-80dx speedlight) for my D300, which do you recommend? The SB-800 or SB-900? I want to learn how to do CLS and stuff like that. I’ve been avoiding it for too long haha.

  3. Get the SB-900. I’ve owned both the SB-800 and now the new SB-900, and the latter is flat out better in almost every single respect.

    It’s the one speedlight to rule them all.

  4. Sweet! SB-900 it is. The CLS and just flash stuff in general confuse the hell out of me. Not knowing what settings to put it on, why isn’t the flash working when I shot just a picture, basic stuff like that, how can I get rid of that ugly shadow in the background. lol.

    I just have to save up my pennies and nickels first haha and then practice :)

    Thanks guys

  5. New blog post: Do you like aloha shirts and leather driving caps? Reel Big Fish is calling you. –

  6. Brendan

    Wicked cover shot! Impressed.

  7. Splendid as always, got to say that the orange sneakers air shot is my fave! It’s got sort of a TKD cover-punch feel to it ;)


  8. Dan


    My boss sent me to these photographs because I was shooting at that show as well, (it was wicked and the photos came out well). Great job! Just thought I’d introduce myself.

  9. Thanks Todd. I’ve been really encouraged by your portrait work recently. The shot happened on a whim and I was very happy to have had my flash, a small room, and a big wall to bounce the light off of. In hindsight, I should have chosen a slightly lower angle to obscure my flash head better (you can still see it barely in the mirror).

    The thing I love most about this shot is how well the personality of each of the guys comes across. I also like that Aaron, the frontman, decided to stand on the outside.

  10. Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for the comment. I’d recommend the SB900. It’s expensive and it’s huge, but it’s the best performing speedlight on the market right now.

    The funny thing with CLS is that there’s not a whole lot to “learn” it just sorta works, even when you think it wouldn’t. It’s weird like that.

    I talked to a Nikon Technical Sales Rep over the weekend. He said that the SB900 knows when you’ve got the diffuser on, when you’re bouncing, and what kind of gel you’ve got on top automatically. Hell it might even know if you’ve been naughty or nice!

  11. Also, if you’re REALLY going to go deep into Nikon CLS, you’ll probably want to use the Nikon units over radio instead of IR.

    The new RadioPoppers give you TTL exposure over a football field away.

    The SB900 offers a much better mounting surface for these than the SB800.

  12. This is going to sound stupid, but most of the time I just dial a nice exposure for the background and turn the flash on TTL =-).

  13. Thanks Brendan!

  14. Hi Paul. Thanks for the comment as always. Let’s get together soon.

  15. Hi Dan,

    Sorry for the late reply! I seem to remember someone from the Village Voice at the show. Please introduce yourself next time!

    Out of curiosity, who is your boss? Ivy, Camille, Rob?