Grace Potter and The Nocturnals at Terminal 5, NYC. November 20, 2009. (photo by Chris Owyoung

The only thing better than the music at a Grace Potter and The Nocturnals show is the amount of love in the room (the band has some seriously devoted fans). Grace and the gang performed at Terminal 5 ahead of their next studio album due out in 2010.

GracePotter_012.jpg GracePotter_007.jpg GracePotter_028.jpg GracePotter_026.jpg GracePotter_019.jpg GracePotter_003.jpg GracePotter_010.jpg GracePotter_015.jpg GracePotter_024.jpg GracePotter_014.jpg GracePotter_013.jpg

Concert Photography Notes

Grace Potter puts on an an amazing show. In fact, it’s amazing for several reasons; it’s musically amazing, visually amazing and as you can probably tell by the preceding shot, it’s amazingly hard to shoot.

The “proper” exposure for the lighting was roughly 1/80 at f/2.8 and ISO 3200 – not good considering that Grace and The Nocturnals are often moving around at a speeds that exceed the stopping power of 1/80.

For concert photographers, this leaves a few options (assuming you want to minimize motion blur):

  1. Shoot in bursts to increase the chances of a frozen frame
  2. Switch to a prime lens like the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 and shoot at 1/200 at f/1.4 and ISO2000
  3. Set your exposure to a motion-stopping (but underexposed) 1/200 at f/2.8 and ISO 3200 and pull up the exposure in post.
  4. A combination of #1 and #3.

Since I like the flexibility of zoom lenses over mid-to-wide primes when the stage is crowded, I opted for option four. I steadied myself on the stage edge and shot in bursts at a slightly underexposed 1/100 at f/2.8 and ISO3200 when the lighting was stronger and a less comfortable 1/60 at f/2.8 and ISO3200 when the lights went down. As you can see in the photos of Grace with the tambourine, this worked well.

  1. Jeremy

    Glad to see I wasn’t the only one that had trouble with this shoot.
    Between the tough lighting, the fact that I hate to take the D300 over 1600, and the flare that made auto-focusing a bit tough. I actually found I liked a few of my long shots better…

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Yeah. This one was rough (so rough that I didn’t know whether I had taken anything great until I got the shots home; even then I really need to look through carefully to see which files had the most potential. A lot of my photos, though great moments, were just too underexposed or out of focus to use.

      The AF and flare situations were definitely difficult.

      I agree about your long shots. Nice work.

  2. Photo Gallery – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals —