02.19.09 – For his first show in the US in over fifteen years, one of the greatest writers of our time, Leonard Cohen, performed a thee hour set to a sold-out crowd at the Beacon Theater, NYC. Leading an immensely talented backing band that included musical talents Roscoe Beck, Javier Mas, Sharon Robinson and the Webb Sisters, Cohen sang with incredible emotion.
The historic performance kicked off Cohen’s 29 date North American tour.
At around 5 minutes (the length of the first song), this was one of the shortest assignments I’ve ever had. The venue staff distributed the horde of photographers around the extremities of the venue. I was positioned at the very back of the hall house left of center. The approximate distance to the stage was 100 feet.
Cohen was lit by a bright white spot for almost the entire first song.
Though other photographers were shooting with fixed 300mm and 400mm lenses, I shot entirely with the 70-200 and the 1.7x teleconverter on the Nikon D3. This put my exposure at ISO 3200 and 1/250 at f/4.8 with an effective focal length of 340mm in FX mode and 510mm in DX crop mode.
The ideal lens for this shoot would have been the Nikon 200-400 f/4.0 VR. Since none were available on short notice, I opted for the 70-200mm with the 1.7x TC in order to have more flexibility with my composition than I would have with a fixed focal telephoto.
Unlike my normal work, the photos in this post have been cropped to about 3/4 the size of the original capture.
I’d like to give a special thanks to Briele and he rest of Leonard’s representative team for helping the shoot go smoothly and treating the media so well.