That first photo – Favorite Show Photos #2

3480848669 21c50a1c4c b    That first photo   Favorite Show Photos #2

This photo was the first favorite show photo. It’s of Tyler from HS10 at Pinetree Tavern in Jackson, MI. Surprisingly, it is almost six years old now, but it feels like I took it a few weeks ago. These photos are the reason I keep doing what I do.

Lightroom Presets Series #1

In an effort to not just show you the photos I am taking, but show you how I get to the end results too, I am starting this series of before and after photos with an Adobe Lightroom preset download of the effect used in each picture and why they were used.

So, instead of me yapping about what I am trying to do, just let me say that these photos are of The Paul Collins Beat from August 26th in Madison, WI. The first is from an in-store at Mad City Music Exchange and the second is from their concert at The Frequency later that night. .example.1    Lightroom Presets Series #1

The Paul Collins Beat, or The Beat for short, are a power pop rock ‘n’ roll band that’s been around for quite a long time. Before The Beat, Paul Collins was in The Nerves, who were the originators of the song “Hanging On the Telephone.” The photos I took this day needed to reflect that vintage, late 70′s rock look without straying into black & white punky territory. That’s how this slightly washed out, vintage effect was born.

  • I reset the white balance from the “as shot” to the standard tungsten, which added a bit more blue and green tint. From there, I pushed up the fill light, blacks, and contrast, as well as maxing out the recovery and clarity (just a personal preference for those two).
  • Adjusting curves to brighten the darks and shadows on the regions sliders was the next step.
  • To get the colors closer to end results, I used some split toning with a puke-ish yellow for highlights and a springtime, little girl lavender for the shadows (a match made by someone watching a fabulous sunrise from the roof of The Wisco).
  • From there tweaking the individual color saturation sliders to adjust for any blown out or just plain annoying areas of the picture was in order. Oh, and dropping the luminance slider of magenta, because that’s the magenta haired step child of colors.
  • Since I shot this with a 50D, and they’re kinda bad with the kit lens and color noise, I blasted that slider to full reduction and added some masking to the sharpening of the photo, because I wanted you to be able to read Paul’s shirt even on a web version of this image.
  • With the image almost done, I dropped the vibrance slider just a few notches to deaden the color a bit more. That was it.

You may want to tweak out the vibrance and exposure sliders after applying this preset to get better results, but that is about it. You can download the preset at the bottom of the article. .beforeafter.1    Lightroom Presets Series #1

This is just a slight tweak on the previous to make things a bit better for dark concert venue settings by cutting the amount of the blacks slider in half, but as you can see, the preset is quite versatile in regards to settings. With some exposure adjustments, and maybe some slight white balance adjustments, you can push it for other types of settings too.

Download the Lightroom Presets Series #1 presets now.

To view more of The Paul Collins Beat photos, take a look at the set on my flickr.

Take a step back

jbalt faves 5663    Take a step back

Sometimes you just need to take one step back to get a whole different kind of photo. Sometimes you have to run if there’s no protective glass, even if it is asleep.

Favorite show photos – Monotonix

I’ve been going through the archives as of late, setting up some business cards at Moo, and wanted to post some of my favorite photos with a brief explanation of each. So, to begin:

jbalt faves 7320    Favorite show photos   Monotonix

This picture of Yonatan Gat, guitarist for Monotonix, was taken at the High Noon Saloon in Madison, WI, during a concert on October 2nd, 2009. It captures the mass chaos of a Monotonix show quite fully. Members of the band playing in the crowd, separated by fans that are half into the band and half there because of word of mouth of the insanity that had been conveyed to them. Guitarist separated from drummer by what looks to be some old punk rock dude that didn’t expect the noisy garage rock band to have a CBGB’s on a good night style crowd. Young kids surrounding them that wouldn’t even know what CBGB’s was if it hadn’t been for Lane’s band trying to gig there in Gilmore Girls (but is that too old for these kids too? maybe…)

In order to get this photo I had to crank the flash up and still go with 1/250th and a jacked ISO, because there’s no way I am taking the good camera into the middle of the fray. Last time I tried that I found my flash on the floor on the other side of the bar after the show was done (sticky and still working, to my surprise). Then I did post in Lightroom to get the Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll circa-1985 black and white style of the photo… Perfect for that zine I’m never going to print.


4838930647 0f9a11e4a2    Synesthesia

The photo above really works well with the song on this page. Almost to the point of confusing them in my mind.

Call Me Lightning poster

CMLPoster 623x1024    Call Me Lightning poster

Just completed the digital version of the poster for the Call Me Lightning / Zebras / The Hussy / The Transgressions show at The Project Lodge on Thursday, August 19. This show should be over the top, with one of the best local lineups of the summer opening for one of Milwaukee’s best bands in a tiny little venue.

In case you missed Call Me Lighting one of the last times they came through town when the opened for Monotonix at the High Noon Saloon, here’s a pic from their set:

CML.monotonixshow    Call Me Lightning poster

If you want to see more of the photos from that show, I’ve got them on flickr, otherwise see you at The Project Lodge!

An alternative film to digital process

MG 4921    An alternative film to digital process

I’ve been taking lots of pictures with my newest camera, a blackbird, fly twin-lens reflex (TLR) 35mm camera. The problem with film is getting it to digital in a high resolution file. Yeah, stores will give you a CD full of 1-2Mb scans of your film, but when you’re used to a 15Mb+ camera, those files just won’t do. They don’t edit well in Photoshop or Lightroom, and usually are done with a fairly poor quality scanner in the first place (ie. color noise on par with shooting 3200 ISO with my digital). So, what to do?

You could buy a film scanner (which will run you hundreds of dollars), use a lightbox and photograph the negative (then crop it, resize it, process it, blah blah blah) or do something a bit different like the above photo.

The process is quite simple and taken from many graphic designer’s portfolios, where they display images of their physical work in the environment around them (usually on wood texture or something funky that will match the thing being photographed). You can view an example in my portfolio if you’d like (shot on a tile floor).

  1. Find a spot in your house, apartment, dorm, whatever, that has a sufficient light to see your print.
  2. Then, because you probably have glossy prints like me (I always forget to check matte at the developer), you’ll want to block out any light that may be causing reflections on the surface of the print.
  3. Arrange your tripod and camera above the photograph as close as you can get to it while still having texture of what the print is on showing toward the edges of what you’ve framed.
  4. Set up the camera so that you’ve got a low ISO, high f-stop and longer exposure (1/10 to 1/100 or thereabouts). This is so that you can avoid as much noise as possible in the photo of the photo. If you have an off-camera trigger, great! If not, just get as close as you can without any visible camera shake.
  5. Take your picture.

Now, if you’re really ambitious, you could mark the floor somehow so that you can process a bunch of prints in this manner or start carrying around your camera/tripod setup and get photos of your photos on different backgrounds.

This is just a little trick I picked up, and by no means is it the best method for getting the sharpest, highest quality images in digital from your film. But, it’s quick and it’s cheap and doesn’t look like garbage, so I wanted to present it as one of many methods to get to an end result of the film to digital process.

Busy busy

I’ve been really busy as of late, sorry for the lack of posts. I had to revamp my design portfolio site.

I intend to change that, and I intend to change that today. Get ready.

Oh, and with the upgrade to WordPress 3, I’m debating adding a true photoblog section to the site. Should be interesting.

The Deftones – May 25, 2010

The Goodnight Process – The Stereo Flys

jbalt.GP .Poster    The Goodnight Process   The Stereo Flys

Kurt, from The Leftovers, is coming back to town again. This time with The Goodnight Process, a band that he just joined recently. They’re a power-pop band that I could imagine hearing on the radio in the not-to-distant future. Sloan, in my mind, is a good comparison band.

This tour with The Stereo Flys (Boston, MA) started out in Portland, ME, with us in mind as the furthest west point. Hopefully you’ll come out and take a listen, maybe dance a little, and bring some beer if you want some.

Check out the Facebook event page