Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘music


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Metric at the Great American Music Hall. Need I say more? My x100 was actually taken from me during the show. They said it was “too professional looking.” So I whipped out the XPRO-1 to take some shots of Emily and crew, and somehow I got away with that. Hmph!

Metric rocks!


All Images: Fuji XPRO-1 + 35mm f/1.4 XF R and 18mm f/2 XF R

Written by Jonathan

June 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Jenny At Cafe Du Nord

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The incredibly talented Jenny Lewis played this weekend with the Watson Twins, Johnathan Rice, Farmer Dave, and Nik Freitas at the Swedish American Hall in Cafe du Nord here in San Francisco. It was Jenny at her best, and this show was probably one of my favorites ever, right up there with the concert she did at the House of Blues. Front row seats are awesome for taking a few photos and grabbing one of the set lists at the end of the show.

Just a word on the Fuji XPRO-1. This thing has some staggering low-light performance. Just give the AF something contrasty to lock on to, and the camera returns some amazing files! ūüôā


All Images: Fuji XPRO-1 + 35mm f/1.4 XF R and 18mm f/2 XF R
Out of camera files using the XPRO’s B&W film simulation (green filter)

Written by Jonathan

June 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm

The Google Indie Artist Meetup

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A few images from the recent San Francisco¬†indie artist meetup at Brick and Mortar Music Hall. I’m proud to say that among those who performed that night were my wife Bridget and my cousin Jasmine. Great job you two!

Photographically speaking, there was no light in this venue. ISO kabillion in there. Most of these are jpegs from my Fuji X100, processed with the camera’s black and white film simulation mode (red filter).

The folks from Photobooth were on hand, offering beautiful instant photos of each artist:

Awesome ūüôā

Images: Fuji X100

Written by Jonathan

March 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

A Girl in a Tree – Priscilla Ahn at Slim’s

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Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 1600

Even though I’ve been listening to her music for a long time, I’ve never actually had a chance to hear Priscilla Ahn sing live. So I was pretty stoked when family treated us to tickets to see her at Slim’s in SF last night.

Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 2500

We pretty easily got a spot right in front. Yessss.

Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 2500

Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

Her performance was phenomenal. I always thought her voice was awesome just from listening to her albums, but hearing her live brought me into a whole new understanding of the incredibleness of her instrument. Her singing has got to be one of the most special, beautiful sounds I’ve heard in my entire life.

And she totally rocked out on that kazoo. =P

Fuji X100 | 1/40 sec, f/2, ISO 3200

My little Fuji did great here with its silent leaf shutter. This wasn’t exactly a rock concert, so I know the loud shutter slap of my DSLR would have been a distraction. High ISO performance continues to impress as well.

Fuji X100 | 1/60 sec, f/2, ISO 1600

Hope she comes to see us in San Francisco again! Check her out:

Her blog is pretty cool too.

Written by Jonathan

December 2, 2011 at 10:18 pm

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!

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

The Jazz Jam

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Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

Bridget was recently a featured artist at a weekly Jazz Jam here in San Francisco! It was pretty exciting for her to be able to sing for about half an hour straight with a very talented band.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | 1/80 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G | 1/640 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G | 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800

Each of us has our own creative passions. For me for course, it’s visual art through photography. Bridget’s creative outlet is music. She studied musicology and jazz vocal performance in college, and now enjoys writing her own music as well as jamming with other jazz artists.

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | 1/200 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600

Jazz is a fascinating art form. There’s a lot of improvisation involved, and yet each band member cooperates to ensure harmony. If you watch carefully, you can see the band members communicate with one another. Sometimes, it’s a simple nod to another player, letting him know he’s up for his solo. Other times, it’s a hand signal or some other cue.

The beauty of a jazz ensemble is that a good band doesn’t necessarily need to rehearse beforehand. In this case, Bridget simply handed the band a set of charts that let them know what chords are¬†involved¬†in the piece. Seconds before they’d start a song, she’d snap her fingers and count her desired tempo, and they’d just go. ¬†No¬†rehearsal, completely impromptu. It was amazing.

It’s always fascinating to see her work with a band. As a jazz vocalist, you don’t simply sing while the band follows your lead. You’re just another instrument in the ensemble. When jamming on the fly, you have to be aware of what’s happening within the band at every moment, and know how to communicate with the members during the song in order to execute certain portions of the piece at the right time. Bridget is completely in her element in this regard…I always find myself thinking “how in the world does she know what to do!!!?”

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G | 1/40 sec, f/1.4, ISO 5000

Nikon D700 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G | 1/400 sec, f/2, ISO 800

It was a beautiful performance. Bridget sings a lot at home, but you can really see her passion ignite when she’s on stage with other Jazz musicians. Couldn’t be more proud =)

Written by Jonathan

May 10, 2011 at 10:12 am

Jazz at Douglas Beach House

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This beautiful sunset was the backdrop for a lovely evening with the wife last night.  We headed to Half Moon Bay in the late afternoon, and enjoyed the sunset from an old beach house that happened to be a wonderful venue for live music.

One thing I noticed, sitting up there in the balcony at Douglas Beach House, was all the grey hair! Bridget and I were among the youngest people in the crowd, and by no small margin. It made me think about the state of Jazz music these days. It’s such a beautiful art form, and yet over time, seems to be becoming less and less appreciated, especially by today’s youth. Indeed, Bridget and I often go alone to these shows, as many of our friends just aren’t that interested in Jazz.

That being said, it sure was refreshing to see people my age up there on the stage keeping Jazz alive. These guys were absolutely incredible. We had Josh Nelson (above) on the piano. ¬†Had a quick chat with him after the show. Great guy, extremely talented. He seems to have played with all of today’s Jazz greats, even Natalie Cole, with whom he told us he’s arranging to perform with yet again.

Dayna Stephens on the tenor sax. What a sound… I don’t think I have any more words beyond that. Simply amazing.

Dave Robaire on the bass. If you look at the lower left of this image, you can see the top of a black music stand that, for most of the performance, completely blocked my view of this musician. Fortunately, Dayna lowered the stand towards the end of the show, which helped me get a clear shot.

Dan Schnelle on the drums. The ensemble played a song that he wrote last night. Each of these musicians were just oozing with talent.

When sunlight was no longer pouring in from the west-facing windows, all I had to work with was the stage lighting. The lights were gelled orange and yellow (with the exception of one un-gelled spot on the pianist), which created a color cast that seemed to work with Dayna Steven’s darker skin tone, but made the rest of the band look decidedly yellow-skinned. Hence, the black and white conversion on select images.

When the show was over, we enjoyed some light conversation with the artists, and Bridget rushed to the stage to take a look at the Piano:

What’s so special about this Piano? It’s the same piano Bill Evans himself played at this very venue many years ago. ¬†A Jazz musician who had a huge influence on the genre, the work of Bill Evans is a source of continued inspiration for Bridget’s music.

Don’t let Jazz die, people!


Nikon D700 | 24mm f/1.4G | 50mm f/1.4G (roll over images for exif)

Written by Jonathan

February 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm