Anvil

I attended the New York premiere of what will likely be the rock’n’roll movie of the decade, Anvil: The Story of Anvil. For those of you who have been living under a rock, the documentary by Sacha Grevasi follows the the legendary Canadian metal band from their emergence during the height of the 80s metal crazy to the current struggles of original band members Steve “Lips” Kudlow (guitar, vocals) and Robb Reiner (drums) now fifty-something and still reaching for the dream of rock stardom.


The film is completely absurd as well as funny but is most lauded for its touching portrayal of the dysfunctional (and thirty-year-strong) man love that exists between the Lips and Robb.

After the red carpet arrivals and screening, I was treated to a short performance by the band who are now the three-piece, Steve “Lips” Kuldow, Robb Reiner and Glenn Five who joined in 1996.

I don’t think I’m being unduly influenced by how much I liked the film when I say that the Anvil concert was some of the most fun I’ve had shooting recently. As you’ll see by the expressions on their faces, I think the NYC premier was some of the most fun the band has had in a while as well.

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This concludes the “normal set” of images where I try to show the band at its performing best. The following few shots are simply to show how much fun Lips Kudlow and Robb Reiner were having.

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This last shot is to show you how much fun I was having. (Yes, those are my fingers.)

Anvil

Photographer’s Notes

Even though I spent most of my time at this assignment shooting the arrivals which admittedly, I don’t mind, there is always a part of me that finds the entire idea of the red carpet mildly disgusting. I realize that a necessary part of celebrity is being seen and being photographed but that takes the form of a bunch horde of photographers yelling and screaming and blasting away at 10 FPS is sort of depressing. What is actually depressing is that I yell and scream and blast away with the best of them. I participate in it. Luckily, the red carpet wasn’t the real reason I was there.

After watching the movie screening from the back of the house I moved up to the stage. The biggest challenge for this assignment was getting a good shot of drummer Robb Reiner who remained buried in a massive black drum kit at the back. Knowing that this would be a problem, I choose a position directly in front of him and patiently waited.

A couple of songs into the set, Robb gave a blistering drum solo that lasted several minutes. I quickly switched to a longer lens and prayed that he would stand up and give me a chance to get my “hero shot.”

At the end of the solo, the lights flared to white, the crowd roared, he basked in the glory, and I got my shot. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I divided the rest of the short concert between shots of Lips and G5 as they took turns coming to the front of the stage. With plenty of metal moments to go around, I changed between the Nikon 14-24mm and the Nikon 24-70mm every few minutes.

When required, I augmented the gorgeous Gramercy lighting rig with TTL fill from a single SB900 mounted on-camera. My exposure was set around ISO 2000-3200 and f/2.8 to f/4 at 1/200 sec.

End Notes

I want to give a huge thank you and my best wishes to Robb, Lips and G5. You guys rock! (Give me a call if you need a photographer for the world tour =-).

  1. They look like they had a lot of fun on stage. Great work.

  2. Great batch of photos. I usually can’t stand the paparazzi and side of photography, but I wouldn’t mind shooting a red carpet event one of these days just to experience it, and then go back to hating it. I’d have to practice screaming “BRITNEY BRITNEY!!” lol.

    That devil horns photo is great and hilarious at the same time. Good job Chris.

  3. Great batch of photos. I usually can't stand the paparazzi and side of photography, but I wouldn't mind shooting a red carpet event one of these days just to experience it, and then go back to hating it. I'd have to practice screaming “BRITNEY BRITNEY!!” lol.

    That devil horns photo is great and hilarious at the same time. Good job Chris.

  4. Hi Craig, thanks as always. I highly recommend this movie and catching Anvil if they are performing in your neck of the woods.

  5. Thanks Brian,

    Red Carpet gig isn’t the same as paparazzi exactly – after all, the people walking the red carpet *do* want to have their picture taken. It’s just the “feeding frenzy” atmosphere that find depressing.

    Another aspect that I forget to mention is that red carpet shooting does take a good measure of skill. The best photographers know how to set their entire exposure, including the flash, manually based on distance alone.

    I’m sure you’ll get the chance to shoot this kind of thing if you go looking for it. =)

    I’m really glad you like the horns shot!

  6. That’s true, but usually the celebs hate that part of it because photographers are always screaming at them to turn, move their arms, do this, do that, ditch their dates that are standing the background (forgetting sarah marshall reference hehe). It gets quite demanding I think, or so I’ve seen. But if photography was my main source of income, I’d prob. do the red carpet events since they always sell compared to other things.

    I’m sure you’d have to get a few red carpet events under your belt to figure out what settings to use, what lenses to use, stuff like that. I’m sure I’d probably want to punch the photographer next time for getting into my way, bad enough I want to do that to some “Hail mary” photographers in the photo pit. lol

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