Us concert photographers are often faced with a number of obstacles when it comes to getting that killer shot. We have to work in the most unpredictable conditions in dark venues where we’re not allowed to use flash (honestly, it’s better not to), stage lighting can go from one extreme to another, sharing the pit with security who have to do their job in ensuring the safety of incoming crowd surfers, and only have the first 3 songs to get those shots in.
As experienced as I am now, I can honestly say that it doesn’t necessarily get easier but you come to know what to expect when you enter that pit moments before the band are on stage.
However, when photographing The Interrupters at O2 Academy 2, Birmingham, there was one obstacle I really didn’t prepare myself for. It was no surprise that the room was packed out for The Interrupters. This Los Angeles based ska band have amassed a fast growing fanbase within the punk scene that many have been asking if they will be leading the way to a ska-punk revival. When a gig at the Academy 2 is sold out, it can get really hot in there but judging by a few comments made that night, it must have been the hottest that room had ever been. So much so, you could see a light cloud forming above the audience because of the humidity.
I let my experiences of shooting in this room determine the circumstances of which I could be facing. Extreme humidity was one thing I didn’t count on but how did this affect me as a photographer? Well, I soon found that out the moment I removed my lens cap and watched as my camera lens completely steamed up. In fact, the viewfinder and camera screen steamed up as well. It was that bad. Security tried their best to provide some relief to the audience in the room by keeping some doors open but it didn’t help my camera much. Because I never experienced my lens getting steamed up in a concert, I didn’t pack my lens cloth with me, so I had to make do with cleaning my lens with my t-shirt. Not the best solution but I had to clear the fog somehow.
As a result, a lot of my shots of The Interrupters had to be rejected but there were some I did manage to salvage.
My next concert photoshoot will be with Napalm Death at The Mill in Digbeth. I’ll be sure to take my lens cloth with me, just in case.