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Shooting Photos at Summerfest 2009: Rodrigo y Gabriela

11 Days 11 Stages over 700 Bands. If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what I can add.

This was my first time in the photographer’s pit and though I didn’t access to the big Stevie Wonder show, I don’t feel too bad because neither did the Summerfest photographers themselves! What’s THAT all about? And the handful of approved photojournalists were allowed SIXTY seconds to shoot. I applied for permission to shoot the amazing Rodrigo y Gabriela. I’d seen them before at an international music fest in Madison. Formerly in a Mexican metal band they packed up and set out on their own landing in Dublin, Ireland. Hard work and a bit of luck and they were a smash and their CD became the first instrumental album to top the charts there in a long while.

I was surrounded by experienced concert shooters one of whom offered me a lot of advice just before we got started. We were given the traditional “first three songs” and danced around each other to find the best angles. As one of the other guys said, unlike ohter photography this is a sport. “Even in sports you know where they are going – to the end zone.” On stage the constant movement of musicians and the changing lighting in color, angle and intensity, create a real challenge for getting the proper shots. I just shot a few hundred photos using both cameras as there was no time to switch lenses.

Afterward I was told by another photographer – don’t beat yourself up over this one: the lighting was terrible.

Plenty more shows coming up. I’m going to see Elvis Costello and for a bit of 80s retro, The English Beat. Have a look at some of my sample photos from Sunday here at my website. They look pretty good until you can zoom and see the faulty focus and a bit too much noise. Oh well. Learning!!!

Here’s a site that was recommended to me for concert photography. Todd Owyoung has some pretty fine stuff! I’m inspired, but a very long way to go to even begin to get such great shots.

Kevin Revolinski

Author, travel writer/photographer, world traveler. Writes about travel, hiking, camping, paddling, and craft beer.

3 thoughts on “Shooting Photos at Summerfest 2009: Rodrigo y Gabriela

  • I love Rodrigo y Gabriela!! Lucky you 🙂 And nice concert photgraphy–come out to Seattle for a show….Pearl Jam…September?

    Hope u are well Revo and it sure looms like life's been good 🙂

  • I saw them a couple years ago at the International Music Festival at UW Madison and they were just starting to hit. We were blown away by what looked like a couple of street musicians. To see them now and they look a bit more polished and star-like. It was endearing actually. They earned it.

  • Pingback: Summerfest 2012 Photos with Ben Folds, Robert Francis and Gary Clark Jr.

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