Stay Sharp

Sunday, April 29, 2007

LR's Direct Positive With A Twist

Dusk in the biggest city on earth i.e. "In comes 5D & LR, out goes the common sense..."

Tokyo Metal : Pulling Teeth And Friends

EARTH DOM is a small, airtight dark bunker in the dingy Korean area of Tokyo. It's here, and at numerous places like this you will see the best live performances on a any given day in the royal capital of Tokyo.
I have been following Pulling Teeth with a camera for a couple of years now and to the guys in and around the band as well as all the other DIY bands playing in the same league I owe a big thanx. I entered this scene as a complete outsider but have now after a couple of years got accepted and this has opened up doors to take more and better photographs of the people involved. It's a scene I love to be in and it's great to be able as a non band member to contribute with something that these people appreciate.

Tonights gig was shot entirely with Canons 15mm fullframe fisheye lens, f2.8. Had to be really close not to get too much stuff going on in the composition. The light was shifting constantly so the reading of both strobe ( -1/2 ) and camera (-1/3) had it's up's and downs but in general this wide angle view worked out better than I thought. The live venue was also really packed and the stage as usual, not bigger that an average phonebooth helped as well to get that "packed" mood as well as the comunication between the band and the moshing audience.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The New Work Flow

I never liked to sit in front of the computer, still I don't even if I actually do it for hours everyday. I have a very comfortable well organized small but effective office where I have all my camera/photo gear, my slide stock, my collection of photo books, scanner, printer, a very nice soft chair with wheels and arm rests to spend many long hours in and of course, my iMac G5 with 10GB of pure Heavymetal and Hardcore (plus some Wagner and Madonna). There is also a gas heater for cold winter days and a brand new airconditioner for hot summer nights, the coffee machine is just in the next room and there isn't really anything more to ask for exept this urge to actually be outside shooting. Since I have always respected and regarded the simple in life a priority I have for some time now been waiting for Adobe ( Abode with a twist...) to finally release the new software, i.e Lightroom. Well, to buy this was not as easy as you might think, seemed like the Japanese version which came out month behind the "world release" was only available in Japanese. I need to work in English so I ordered one on the internet. But there seemed to be some WTO conspiracy in the air cos this was not possible from either Adobes homepage or Amazon where I buy lots of stuff (mainly books).
Then I found a solution, there is a shop in N.Y.C called Adorama that worked pretty smooth when I ordered some 4GB FlashCards, and yes, I had the software in the computer a week after I sent them the order on the net. So what was this all about, why couldn't I get this very famous piece of Adobian engineering in a less timeconsuming and smooth way? Anyways, Lightroom, or LR as it's called officially might be the solution for m.w.c.p. If I can find the right workflow in RAW I can spend less time in my super nice and cozy office and more time carrying around tons of equipment in some 3rd world shit hole (to quote Trevor, a travelling Aussie I met on a bus out of Bangalore in India once) or on HardCore venues with stagediving misfits, just the way I like it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Always The Hard Way...

No comment...

The Final Step

I asked a photographer friend to shoot my body suit for an upcoming article in a British magazine. Looked best in B/W.

Thank you Saito Sensei ( ), you did a nice job with that 5D.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nippon "Live House" kulture

The Japanese "live" scene is cool. It's not a huge metal/hardcore scene here but it's never the less here and it's intense, very intense. The Japanese moshpits are fun, most of these light featherweights are doing their best to kick the shit out of eachother but always with a murky smile on their face. I have seen many times "westerners" trying to make themselves understood in the circle pit by doing what they do home in Bavaria or Kentucky or where ever they come from. The lokal kids just gets shit scared and will either try to fight the aggressor for real (!?) or just from a distance keep aways from that lonely frustrated white man, all pumped up, standing there alone in the pit looking just plain dumb. The thing with Tokyo is that most bands pass by here for a couple of gigs on whatever "world tour" they are on, and most of the times they play in really small venues, makes it easier as photographer to get close to both the bands and the kids but there are usually no place to shoot from except from in the middle of the pit or on stage, fine with me. Next month we have MADBALL, H2O, SICK OF IT ALL here in Tokyo (in one of the oldest and smallest venues there is, great...) and even metalcore gods LAMB OF GODS will play a gig or two (also in a tiny place).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Agnostic Front V.S Aggressive Dogs

Grand Fathers of New York Hard Core i.e AGNOSTIC FRONT versus the real Old timers of Japanese Hard Core i.e AGGRESSIVE DOGS. Man, was this a gig we all just had to go and see. I was as always jumping around with my gear in a tight grip both on stage and in the pit and I even managed to squeeze in a stage dive while a buddy held my camera. Had the day before made an interview/group shoot with the bands and they were all really cool people with no wierd attitudes what so ever,see, that's what I'm talking about. Hard Core people just don't have to play hard and be funny (funny!), it's all in the lifestyle and the lifestyle is real, as real as it comes. I Like to meet people from all walks of life but it's when you meet people like these guys that you can relax and let your guard down.

Technically, it was hard to find that flow in light settings between the on camera flash and the camera settings. I am used to shoot with 35mm slide film and you don't really have the same shit to struggle with on a film camera as you do on a digital. Just so much more light sensitive. Seems like all that crazy light at a gig just fucks some digital chip up and gives you often a very over exposed image. I was shooting the whole range of settings during the sets, M,P,Tv,Av, flash on auto and manual. Used a 22-70 f2.8 the whole evening and that lens is just great for this kind of work. And with the camera attached to a sidegrip you get that extra security in holding the stuff in the mosh pit and around the crowd. All in all, it worked out pretty nice in the end and from now on I have to use my 4GB cards instead of the usual 1GB, was running out of data space (man, what is this world coming to, can't belive I just wrote space..if you didn't know I was sXe you would think I was stoned or something?)

Always the Hard Way, the H.C way!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why Not....!

Just a couple of pics to liven up the blog a bit, too much fucking tattoos and choppers at the moment...

New Tool Vol.V

When I went on a road trip through the states of Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California last year and brought with me a FujiFilm GA645i (fixed 60mm, f4 Fujinon lens), a camera a friend lent me for the trip. It was more like a test for me to bring this extra piece of equipment including film, to see if this camera I have heard so many talk about was really up the the task of the way I shoot. To be honest, not much of a camera to shoot with, like a toy really. Close to sound free shooting and almost full automatic in most cases, but the quality of the images turned out way over my expectations, with sharp, clear reproductions of the moment with the color balance where it should be and a depth of field that came to be what I was looking for. It took me some time to decide what to go after (was looking at the 6x7 as well) and to chase down a high ranked one in one of Tokyos many superb seconhand camera stores. Secondhand in Japan means many times that the box the camera comes in has got a scratch on it or maybe the camera has been out of it's original box once and then being ranked "used" after that, a true paradise for us on a limited budget and also if you are after a model that isn't being produced anymore, like the GA645i. I know that this camera will be with me on most assignments from now on. Nice to slip back to the roots of photography for awhile as well, to get back some of the "feel" of shooting, i.e be able to trust your abilities without knowing right away what took place like you would on that LCD screen on your digital humdinger. Rise above!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Day Out...

A tattoo convention here in Japan is somewhat different from what people in Europe or the States might find the norm , it's many times just a phrase or slogan that is being used to get people buying tickets. A whole range of different cultures and styles always shows up and this is a great chance for any photographer to find interesting topics. I was shooting one event the otherday and there were many up-level tattooists there but also kickboxers, hairdressers (?), skateboarders, punks and B-boy Chicano wannabees (these guys are the best, very funny) all mixed up under one roof. An anthropologist should be there for some field studies. Fun in a way but also pretty sad to see the shallowness shining through the facade most of times. As a serious freelance photographer I get more and more un-inspired to do a god job at events like this and start shooting from the hip, which is a bad sign (for me anyway), that a lack of interest is lurking in the depts of the day.