Back in February of this year (2016), I upgraded from the Canon 30D to the Canon 70D, with one of the main goals of shooting my first concert.
I chickened out and didn’t take the camera with me to the Fit For An Autopsy concert in March because I didn’t want my brand new camera to get broken. Sadly, there were about 50 people at that concert, so that would have been the perfect “first concert” to shoot.
In May, The Acacia Strain announced a headlining tour that would come through Michigan on July 12, 2016. The show was originally scheduled to be played at The Sanctuary in Detroit, but was changed a couple days before to The Ritz in Warren.
The last time I was at The Ritz was when I saw Walls Of Jericho there back in 2006. I knew the stage setup and sound were awesome there, so I had hoped it was still the same, and it was!
One of the two main issues I was worried about was getting into the venue with my camera bag, and if I did, dealing with the camera bag once I was in. Luckily, getting into the venue was a breeze. Security checked my ID for a wristband and I walked through. No check of the camera bag or anything, which was kind of disturbing.
Anyways, I was in the venue, so I got my camera out to test just how good it was going to perform without flash. A band had just ended their set, so I walked right up to the front and snapped some test shots. As I suspected, the 70D performed to my expectations, shooting at a steady 1/60, f5, ISO 4000, and allowing me not to have to use flash.
Oceano was on before The Acacia Strain, so I decided to use their set and an actual “live” test to make sure I was ready for when The Acacia Strain came on. I didn’t want to be fiddling around with settings while they were performing. Every second counts!
Now that I was fully prepared for The Acacia Strain to come on, I could leave my bag in the car and only come back in the camera around my neck. You might be asking yourself at this point, how did you go back to the car and get back into the venue? These days, you can come and go as your please at all ages shows. This works out really well, and allows you to go back to your car to drink quality beer and medicate whenever you want.
The second of the two main issues was now on my mind. WATER!
The lead singer for The Acacia Strain likes to spray water from water bottles all over the crowd during shows. While making sure I was focusing on getting the shots, I also needed to be vigilantly aware of Vincent. I spotted the case of water bottles next to the drums while they were going through sound checks, so I knew that if I saw him going over in that direction, things were going to get wet shortly after!
Luckily, I was able to dodge every water episode except one! A small about of water got on the side of my lens as well as on the top/side of the camera. There was nothing I could do except wipe the water off with my shirt and hope that it didn’t penetrate the lens or the camera. As far as I know, no water penetrated, and the camera kept shooting the entire duration of The Acacia Strain’s set.
Along with Vincent popping bottles of water, the inside of the venue had to be close to 100 degrees! After all, it got up to 95 that day. I was completely soaked with sweat from head to toe no more than 10 minutes into the set. The humidity inside of the venue started to worry me a bit, but I knew the camera made it through 2 trips to Belize so I kept pummeling the shutter.
This was the best photography experience I have had to date, no questions asked. To be able to crouch side stage and get up close and personal with a band that I love was simply awesome! Roaming around backstage without being questioned, or having any type of press credentials was also pretty crazy. Sitting right next to the drummer as they were performing was surreal.
Enough with the words! Here are the photos…