Saturday, September 18, 2010

Photo Carousel #1: "Slam Allen"

"Box of Tricks"

This is the first image that I'm posting as part of my "Photo Carousel" feature.  I'll occasionally grab an image that I've recently taken and put it up here with an explanation of what I was trying to achieve, and how.  Through this process, I hope to communicate important tidbits of shooting knowledge that I've accumulated over the years.  If you like the photos, please comment.  Thanks!

I call this picture "Box of Tricks".  When I was on a cruise recently, the Slam Allen Blues Band was playing each night in a great little blues club on the ship.  When I took my camera one of the nights that we went to see them, I decided to shoot a series of "concert atmosphere" photos where I took pictures of the musicians, what they were doing, and their instruments but didn't include any faces or large sections of body.

In this shot, I wanted to emphasize the lights on the Marshall amplifier, the guitar, the pedal board at Slam's feet, and most importantly the little box in the left side of the frame in the orange light.  I was not interested in exposing for the shadows because I wanted them to go dark, so I metered off the light parts of the scene and let the rest go almost black. 

Every time Slam reached into that little box and pulled out a new pick or slide, he sounded like he was playing better than the song before so I called it his "Box of Tricks".

This photo is intentionally dark and you have to look at it to see what's going on, but that's precisely the point.  My goal was to highlight the equipment and make you wonder......."What's in that little box"?  This is a good example of using exposure to control what the viewer looks at in the image.


  1. nice photo john. a little too dark for my tastes but i see and can appreciate the intent of what you were trying to do. did you shoot this in raw? can you use that file to open up the shadows a touch?

  2. Hi Nick,

    Thanks for looking...I didn't shoot this picture in Raw, but even with just a JPEG I could open up the shadows a bit if I wanted to without adding too much noise. I didn't want to do that though....I wanted the shadows to go near black to draw attention to the lighter parts of the photo.


  3. Hi. Nice photograph. Concert photography can get boring sometimes but you found a new angle and idea. I like it but as someone above said it is just a little bit too dark.

  4. Leave this picture just as it is! I'm a photog in Daytona Beach during high season and shoot all kinds of local bands so I know what I'm talking about. This picture is unique and offers a cool view of the action. Stay true!