Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Concert

Two Feet From Jenny

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 50mm f1.4G : 1/250 sec, f/2.2, ISO 3200

We always make sure to get a front row spot when we check out Jenny Lewis in concert (see past posts about Jenny here), but this recent show in the SF Bay Area the absolute closest I’ve ever been to her on stage. She could have swung that fret board around and smacked me in the face!

As always, I try to keep the gear minimal at shows like this. My DSLR with one 50mm prime, and the E-PL2 in my pocket just in case the venue gives me a hard time for having a “professional camera.”


Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 50mm f1.4G : 1/80 sec, f/2, ISO 4000

Taken at 50mm on a full frame body, you KNOW this was close!

Would have loved to have the 24mm f/1.4 with me to get more context and to achieve some different looks, but I left it at home. That’s ok. Depending on the lighting, which was changing constantly, all you could see behind the performers from my vantage point was a lot of f/0, ISO kabillion.


In typical Jenny and Johnny fashion, though, the performers moved around the stage enough to let me vary my shots a little.

A very cool show, as always!

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Nikon D700 + 50mm f/1.4G
Olympus PEN E-PL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 (used only for that shot of the “Jenny Keys” plug…hah.)

Written by Jonathan

June 2, 2011 at 9:55 am

Jenny and Johnny, Live! @ the Great American Music Hall

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I adore Jenny Lewis. Been following her work for a while, from going to concerts here in SF to see her with Rilo Kiley, flying to Louisiana to see her at the House of Blues during her Acid Tongue tour, and last night, seeing her perform at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco…from the front row no less!

Bridget may be a big Jenny fan, but she’s small in the height department, so getting the front row is critical for viewing the show (and killing your ears…agh). I thought I was close to the stage at the House of Blues, but wow, this time I was REALLY close.  Close enough to set a drink down on the stage or even get a clear view of the set list. Awesome!

I’m never sure if cameras are allowed at venues that I have yet to visit, and this event was no exception.  I therefore decided  to limit myself to two of my smallest prime lenses to stay inconspicuous. Well, turns out photography was permitted without flash, so I was stuck to one shooting position in a sold out crowd with only two focal lengths at my disposal.

So it was either really really wide or moderate telephoto for the night. But hey, nothing sucks in light better than a fast prime, so I wasn’t complaining. =)

This is our “oh yeah, front row!” look.

The concert was a blast. Jenny was cute as ever, and her vocal talent and song writing is just amazing.  Come back to San Francisco soon, Jenny!

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Camera Specs: Nikon D300s + Nikkor AFS 50mm f/1.4G // Nikkor DX 10.5mm f/2.8

She & Him at the Fox Theater

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I’ve had a major crush on Zooey Deschanel since first seeing her in the movie Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, and that’s when I thought that all she did was act. After discovering her musical talent, I flat out fell in love with her. Her style, her voice, her everything! So I was thrilled to be able to snag tickets to her concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland over the weekend.

We arrived early enough to get a spot up front, although off to the side of the stage. I brought my DSLR along, but I found out upon arriving at the venue that no cameras were allowed during the performance. I was so disappointed! Convinced that it would be the ultimate tragedy to not be able to photograph dear Zooey my first time seeing her in the flesh, I smuggled my little Canon S90 in and used it during the performance. Certainly not the most ideal equipment for the job, but its performance was impressive for a compact.

Shot between ISO800 and 1600 all night. Noise was definitely apparent in the photos, but it was a more pleasing grain than any compact I’ve had prior to the S90. Of course, running the images through Lightroom 3 Beta 2’s amazing noise reduction tools was a big help. Since I was further from Zooey than I expected to be, I appreciated the extra 45mm of reach the S90 gives me over my Panasonic LX3 as well.

Taking photos of the concert was a real challenge, however, as I had to spot meter (easier to do on the LX3), time my shots when lighting and subject placement were both ideal, AND keep an eye over my shoulder for Fox Theater staff. A few less careful photographers around me were scolded by security and forced to put their cameras away. I somehow never got noticed. Whew!

Once thing I really wish is that Zooey moved around the stage a little more. She sort of stayed in the same spot the whole time. Oh well. Maybe she’ll loosen up a little bit on She and Him’s next tour!

Ok enough of my babbling. Here are a few more images from the night (below). Enjoy!

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Canon Powershot S90

Top Image: S90 at 22.5mm f/6.3 ISO1600 1/60 Second

Metric Concert, San Francisco

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Panasonic DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

I’m a big fan of the group Metric, a really cool Canadian indie rock group. Last night, my wife scored some last-minute tickets to go to a secret show in San Francisco where they played some of my favorite songs from their latest albums. The lead singer Emily Haines is really cute, and put on a very electrifying and energetic performance.Unfortunately, while I had my Lumix LX3 with me, I had left my memory card in the car, and I only figured it out when I started taking pictures as the show started! Fortunately, the LX3 has a small amount of built in memory that let me take about 10 pictures, but it meant I had to keep deleting photos during the performance as I continued shooting! The lighting was pretty dim on the stage (they played at the famous Bimbo’s in North Beach), making sharp shots difficult, even at the camera’s maximum f/2.0 aperture.

I kinda like the shot above, despite the awkward crop. I think it really gives a sense of the energy that was on stage during the performance.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Here’s a blurry, grainy image that I really love for some reason. I think it’s the lighting and the sense of movement in her hair. I would have loved to be in the front row, but I got to the venue a little later than I wanted to. Oh well!

Metric 3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Being behind other people meant having to lift the camera into the air to get a straight shot of the stage….not the most steady way to hold  a camera! After shooting for about 10 minutes, I decided I didn’t want to keep deleting photos to make room for more. I grabbed a drink, and enjoyed the rest of the performance without the camera.

Written by Jonathan

November 8, 2009 at 6:48 am

Jenny Lewis at the House of Blues, New Orleans LA

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

I don’t think I’d ever buy plane tickets only weeks before flying out for a one night stay halfway across the country where temperatures easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, only to spend hours in various airports along the way because cheap tickets mean many connecting flights. Unless of course, I’m going to see Jenny Lewis.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

My wife orchestrated this whirlwind trip after we missed seeing Jenny in concert at the Fillmore in San Francisco (it was my fault, but that’s another story).  Jenny performed on June 26th 2009 at the House of Blues in the French Quarter area of New Orleans. Yes, this is old news, but hey, I just started this blog! We landed in Louisiana at dinnertime, had dinner at the venue’s own restaurant, enjoyed the concert, which ended around 11pm, woke up at 5am the next day and flew back home. That was it!

No cameras were technically allowed in the venue, which ruled out bringing my D90 to the event. But stealthy use of

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

my Lumix LX3 allowed me to grab some decent shots of the performance. Most of them I recorded in black and white, processed by the camera. There seemed to be too much of a mixture of color on the stage from multiple light sources, and so I felt that black and white captures were much more pleasing to the eye.

One thing I wish I could have done was do a photo walk through the French Quarter. But I had absolutely no time to do so unfortunately. One day I’ll have to return to gorge on some real southern cooking, and capture some great images of this interesting area. But NOT during the summer!

I couldn’t remember all of the songs that Jenny sang, but my wife remembered the following, in no particular order:  See Fernando, Jack Killed Mom, Pretty Bird, Rise Up with Fists!!!, Happy (a slow version), The Charging Sky, You Are What You Love, Handle With Care, Trying My Best To Love You, Carpetbaggers, The Next Messiah,  and an acoustic solo version of Silver Lining. The Encore was three (or 3.5) songs: a brief “Man in the Mirror” acapella tribute to Michael Jackson (RIP), Acid Tongue, a new song (didn’t catch the title), and Born Secular.

P1030595

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Though we were exhausted after our return home, and sick of airports (there were TWO connections on the way back), the experience was worth it. Life needs crazy spontaneity  sometimes, and Jenny’s performance was stellar and unforgettable. She has an incredible stage presence, a great personality, and of course, a beautiful and unique voice.

You know what else was unforgettable? Losing my $500 dollar earphones somewhere along the trip. Ouch…

P1030616

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3