Brett Dennen performs at Terminal 5, NYC. November 20, 2009. (photo by Chris Owyoung)

Teaming up with Grace Potter & the Nocturnals on tour, Brett Dennen delighted New Yorkers with his deliberate stage presence and poignant songwriting. Definitely keep your eyes and ears out for Brett, the concert was beautiful.

BrettDennen_017.jpg BrettDennen_020.jpg BrettDennen_011.jpg BrettDennen_014.jpg BrettDennen_028.jpg BrettDennen_008.jpg


BrettDennen_010.jpg BrettDennen_029.jpg

Concert Photography Notes

Brett Dennen’s set was one of the easier shoots I’ve had in recent memory. His songs are nicely paced, the lighting was ample and Brett is as expressive a folk singer as they come. The key to photographing this concert was listening for the solos and making sure to be on the Brett’s best side when they happened.

My exposure fell within one stop of 1/200 at f/2.8 and ISO2000. I shot mainly with the Nikon 24-70mm.

End Notes

If you’re into contemporary folk music, definitely visit the website and give Brett a listen there’s some really great songwriting to be found.

  1. Photo Gallery – Brett Dennen —

  2. @cricketkate you like this guy, right? RT @chrisowyoung Photo Gallery – Brett Dennen —

  3. aaron

    Nice set. I shot him at Bonnaroo this year and his dancing is hilarious

    • Thank Aaron,

      When I first saw Brett dancing I was like – “wait, what?” Then I realized that it totally works for him. =)

  4. Jim Levitt

    Hi Chris,

    Can you describe how you focus with your D3? The lead photo in this post has great focus on Brett Dennen’s face, despite the presence of the mic, the neck of the guitar, etc. Are you selecting a specific AF point? Do you use any assist points? Do you find the 51-point 3D tracking useful or a hindrance when dealing with all the assorted clutter on stage?



    • Hi Jim,

      Now that you mention it, the lead image does have some seriously accurate focus going on. This is going to sound silly, but I don’t even pay attention to this type of thing anymore – the accuracy seen in the first image is simply the level of performance I’ve come to expect from the D3 AF system.

      My technique is really simple:

      I use only 11 of the 51 possible focus points with no assist (not sure Nikon even has “assist” the way that Canon cameras do).

      I either focus and recompose or move the focus point to the closest point to the subject. The AF points on the D3 are accurate enough not to be confused by the mic stand or the headstock of the guitar. Keep in mind that I also use exclusively Nikon glass, which definitely has a positive effect on AF accuracy in harsh conditions.

      In the end, I’m not sure how much the success of the lead image is based on my specific technique since the camera is so accurate to begin with.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


      • lindsey

        What type of camera do you use?