Cradle of Filth

2.27.09 – Unleashing wave after wave of piercing shrieks and wailing guitars, the UK’s Cradle of Filth took the Nokia Theater by extreme metal storm. The house was packed with black by the time Dani Filth lead his corpsefaced crew through a crushing set that spanned Cradle’s massive eight album catalog.

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Photographer’s Notes

From a technical perspective, Cradle of Filth at the Nokia Theater was one of the more difficult shoots I’ve done. The pit was narrow enough to keep each of the six photographers nearly stationary in addition to dodging the 4 or 5 security guards tasked with pulling surfers over the barrier.

It was a metal show, what did I expect?

The band was lit by blue backlighting and green frontlighting for most of the first three songs. The combo is a rock photographer’s worst nightmare. The lighting on Dani tended to flare white whenever he took center stage.

I shot with the 14-24mm and 24-70mm zooms on the Nikon D3. I would have liked to have shot a few closeups of Dani with the 70-200 but could not get far enough to the side to capitalize on the extra reach and flatter perspective.

My exposure varied wildly by remained around ISO 6400 and 1/80 at f/2.8 when the lights were down and went as low as ISO 1600 at 1/250 and f/4.0 when the bright backlights flared.

  1. FG

    Ouch! Looks like an orc horde straight from the LOTR. Nice shots, particularly the first one.

  2. Damn it must’ve been frustrating, I’ve always hated the look of just blue or green in a concert set-up.

    You survived with useful pictures none the less.
    I don’t know how I would’ve fared, even with the D700 or D3.

  3. Eesh! Icky, icky lighting. What were they thinking? Well, I guess it adds to the metal feel… ?

    When the lights flared, no problem there! I love white lights. Also looks like you’ve taken a liking to that 14-24 :) Do I have two Owyoungs to be jealous of now? :-P

  4. Man I have gotten old, it used to be spandex and lace, now its Pinhead from Hellraiser ….

    Excellent images, I kinda like the blue ones. And the green wash one is killer. Gonna show my kid that one and ban her from these concerts. LOL

  5. Great shots from what seems like some very, very difficult shooting conditions.

  6. adam

    ISO 6400 and 1/80 at f/2.8?! My god man. That camera of yours must truly be a gift from the Lords of Kobol.
    Shots look great. I especially like the crowd shots with the “horns” silhouetted. Great work!

  7. amazing photos! first time i see cradle in such wonderful pictures. photography is something i really like, but almost impossible for me to master with.

  8. Thanks FG. I think the whole “we look dead” thing is exactly what they were going for.

  9. It’s a total grin and bear it situation. Actually, I was looking forward to processing this set of images just to see how the D3 would handle the weak colored light. The image quality of this set is lower than usual, but not by as much as I feared. Go Nikon.

  10. Hi Chris,

    Yeah, I much prefered the lighting for Satyricon’s set. The 14-24mm has been great so far. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Hi Rene,

    Thanks for stopping by. I’m afraid it’s all chrome spikes and knee-high shit kickers out there.

    I would not allow your child to go to this show (see massive cross with skeleton on it).

  12. Thanks Craig,

    The lighting for this set was as bad as it gets. On the bright side, I didn’t worry about it too much while I was shooting. I figured, I was capable of getting better stuff with my D3 than anyone else shooting with a lesser camera. Sad and arrogant, but true!

  13. Haha. I do the same with my 5D mkII when shooting in near darkness in clubs here.

  14. Yeah, 6400 is totally insane. I pretty much know that if I have to use something higher than 3200 that the actually quality of the light is poor enough to be a real problem. It’s sort of the difference between getting nothing and getting “something usable.”