The photo at right, which I shot during Wilco’s Friday-night set at Solid Sound, is currently featured on the homepage of the band’s official website, WilcoWorld.net. It’s been there for about a week.
I’ll be thinking of this frame the next time I’m weighing whether to leave a piece of gear at home. I shot it with an 80-400mm lens, which I quite nearly left out of my bag. I figured it’d be more weight than I wanted to carry for a full weekend, with limited applications — with an aperture of f/5.6 at the long end, it’s far from an ideal low-light lens. And, I figured I’d do most of my shooting with wide- to medium-range primes and an 80-200mm f/2.8.
A member of the band’s management team, though, told the festival photographers they were always in search of fresh concert shots that show the entire band — a challenge to shoot, since there are six members occupying quite a wide area on stage. The view from the photographer’s pit right in front of the stage seemed to offer few chances to hit that shot from close up with a wide lens; there were monitors and video crew members and band members’ faces obscured by mic stands and other pieces of gear.
So, my workaround: stand on a hill way at the back of the audience and try like heck to hold the long lens steady.
The 80-200mm and a 24mm prime did end up being my workhorse lenses for much of the weekend — but, I was glad to have that 80-400mm on hand.
A quick shout-out here to the folks at Tony Margherita Management, who pour a ton of sweat into organizing the festival and who were simply awesome to work with.
And, an equally loud shout-out to the other photographers I had the honor to shoot along side, including Austin Nelson, Mark Ludak, Keith Ladzinski, Zoran Orlic, Bill Wright, Joanna Chattman, and Rick Levinson.