FOCUS : Snake River Overlook

28 01 2010

Webisode ONE of my FOCUS series. This webisode highlights a photograph I took of Kristina while I was attempting to recreate Ansel Adams’ famous Snake River Overlook photo.

If you have a photo that you would like featured on FOCUS please drop me a via Email

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com

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10 Bands To Photograph

26 01 2010

Here is a list of my 10 favorite bands to photograph and a couple of words in summary…

10. Mickey Avalon: Unpredictable on stage (photo)
9. Crowfield: New band to me & great music (photo)
8. Black Carl: Emma’s vocals (photo)
7. Death By Stereo: Hardcore from the crowd (photo)
6. Rusted Root: Great vibe (photo)
5. Agnostic Front: NYHC Legends (photo)
4. What Laura Says: Great on stage (photo)
3. Cage The Elephant: Next generation punk rockers (photo)
2. Rev. Horton Heat: Perfect lighting (photo)
1. Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers: Always a challenge – Great stage presence (photo)

I am proud of my list’s diversity. Each show was a very different experience which is why they stand out in my mind.

Agnostic Front : Yucca Tap Room / Tempe, AZ

What bands do you like to see live? Have you ever photographed their concerts? As always, we want to hear from you. Leave a comment and if you shot photos of the show add a link to share them.

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com





Concert Photography 101 : Basic Camera Settings

22 01 2010

Death By Stereo : Yucca Tap Room / Tempe, AZ
Taking great photos at concerts has everything to do with knowing how to use the proper settings on your camera. I don’t care if you are shooting with a $750 camera or a $7,500 camera. If you don’t know how to use it under specific concert circumstances – you will not get the shot.

Before the show there are a couple of things I think about. Have I ever seen a show at this venue before? What access restrictions do I have? Is there a photo pit? These questions all lead up to the final question: What is the lighting like at the venue?

Light dictates all of my decisions regarding camera settings.

ISO: The simplest definition of ISO is the measure of film’s sensitivity to light. In digital photography ISO measures the digital sensor’s sensitivity to light. (For a complete explantion: click here)

I set my ISO to the lowest available setting that produces a properly lit image. I don’t like to shoot at ISO 1600+ because of the noise or extra grain in the photo. With that being said – there are situations where it can not be avoided.

How Do I Know What ISO Setting Is Right? There are two ways to quickly determine ISO settings – Test shots or live view. Use your camera’s live view mode to see when you need to push (increase) the sensor’s speed. Live view is helpful to confirm settings before and during all my concert shoots.

Shutter Speed and Lens Aperture: As I mentioned in my previous Concert Photography 101 post, before I was comfortable shooting in manual mode I relied on TV (or shutter priority mode.)

Why? For most venues I tend to max out my lens’ aperture at 1.8 or 2.8 – so there is very little thinking about aperture. When shooting in shutter priority the aperture is automatically adjusted by the internal light meter (we’ll get into metering in the next post) as I alter the shutter speed. Again use your camera’s live view function to preview the photograph. It’s typical for me to change shutter speeds as the stage lights change. Often I go from 1/125 to 1/45 during one or two songs.

These three things (ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speeds) are the simplest way to get on the right path to taking good concert photos. I suggest you practice at your house and get a feel for how your camera reacts to different light. A good experiment is to turn on all the lights in a room – take a couple of photos with different settings. Do the same with medium and dim light. Review the photos and document the settings. Why would you wait until the night of the event to experiment?

If you visit my Flickr gallery you can view my camera settings for every photo posted – take advantage of this information and get a feel for what settings you’ll need at the next show.

As always, I want to know how you do things – leave a comment and share some of your knowledge with everyone.

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit www.grtaylor2photo.com

GRT2 Self Portrait July 2009





FOCUS : New Photography Web Series

20 01 2010

Here’s a quick preview of my new web series that starts next week! If you are a photographer or an artist and you have a specific photo or project you want highlighted please contact me via email. GRT2





Five Photographers That Rock

2 01 2010

Everyone who has ever been successful has mentors. If mentor is too formal a word for art than people they admire and look to their work for inspiration. The access to online portfolios, flickr and tweets about photo shoots has expanded my view. But ultimately there are a handful of photographers over the years whose work has stuck with me – so here is my list of FIVE Photographers that I respect and admire their work. (In no particular order.)

Stevie D of the Raging Lamos by Ben Cornish

BEN CORNISH: Who is Ben Cornish? Ben is a filmmaker that lives in Denver but growing up he was one of my best friends. Ben was the person who always had a 35mm camera or a video camera with him. I know somewhere there are umpteen boxes of VHS tapes and photographs from our high school days and thereafter. I’ve always liked the diverse subjects Ben shot. One day it would be a skate session and then maybe a concert we were going to later and probably along the way he would pull the car over to take a picture of a cool tree by the side of the road. Ben made it ok for me to take photos and to have a camera with me often.

GLEN E. FRIEDMAN: If you don’t know who Glen E. Friedman is – look it up. Glen documented two groundbreaking subjects in history (and my life) – early days of skateboarding and the east coast music movement (both punk rock and hip-hop.) Glen’s unique composition and powerful portraits are the envy of many photographer. Often before going to shoot a concert or a portrait I will look at one of his amazing books to get ideas on position, lighting and composition. I know I am not alone when I say – Glen E. Friedman has influenced me more than any other photographer. (Period.)

TODD OWYOUNG: Todd is a Concert Photographer from Los Angeles, CA. The thing that always strikes me about Todd’s work is the amazing colors. Concert photography is usually a fight with light. He is able to make the lighting work for him and produce excellent work. What I admire most about Todd is his transparency. Usually his posts include what lenses were used and his camera settings. As I refer to Glen’s books I also refer to Todd’s website to gain insight on technical aspects of concert photography. He has helped my progression as an artist.

CHADWICK FOWLER: I have known of Chadwick for a while now – but I first met him spring of 2009. Chadwick is a professional photographer from Phoenix, AZ that specializes only in great shots. His business is segmented into Commercial Photography, Concert / Music Photography and Portrait Photography. He has a passion for getting the best photo at the perfect moment. More than that he has a passion for his craft (photography) – I know because I have seen him in action. Chadwick sets the bar high for us photographers in Phoenix and we are all better for it. Check out his work. www.chadwickfowler.com

CRAIG BLANK: I’ve known Craig since the early 80’s. Craig was one of our best friend’s (older) brother. I don’t know what to say about Craig’s photographs – whether it’s about his architecture work, product work or portraits – His photos always capture that thing. (It’s difficult to put into words.) Again, these are the shots I am continually seeking. Craig is probably one of the most technical photographers I know (graduated from School of Visual Arts in NYC.) When I see Craig’s work it always makes me pick up my camera and photograph something.

There’s my list. These are the artists that I work to be named with at someday. Who are your favorite photographers – I want to know so I can expand my circle influence. (Happy 2010 to everyone.)

To view my complete photography portfolio please visit: www.grtaylor2photo.com





When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series – Part THREE

10 12 2009

Sometimes there are situations in photography that the moment is instant and spontaneous. Capturing that moment, that feeling and making a great photograph is the only thing that is on your agenda. There is no time to get familiar with the subject or the location. – click or it may be gone.

There are rules to photography. There are rules and there are suggestions. I try to know the rules and suggestions (I am not the most technical photographer I work on instinct with settings etc.) and when it comes time to make a picture – go with what feels right.

Central Ave Boxing Gym is a place I had never been before. I never really knew what a boxing gym looked liked or what it felt like to be in one. (I can tell you now that it’s very hot.) I didn’t know what the lighting conditions would be like or spacial restrictions. I went and spoke to some people and observed for a couple of moment before shooting anything. This photo was taken from a balcony above the training floor. It was the place that I could get the best exposure and the best composition.

Moments like this are great when you walk into a situation without knowing anything and leave with a photograph that you really like.

The more you know about something the better your end result will be but don’t let that limit you. The best way I’ve found to familiarize yourself with a subject is immersion. Go out and shoot something, then go photograph it again. Measure your progress – keep notes. What do you wish you did differently? Go and repeat. Great photographers are made by shooting photographs.





When Is Familiarity Important? Three Part Series – Part TWO

8 12 2009

Concert photography is like gambling in a casino – the odds are mostly against you. However, there are those times that if you know the game well enough and see an opportunity to come up and have the nerve to follow through – the payoff is huge.

My favorite band to shoot is Roger Clyne and The Peacemakers. Local act gone national, great rock-n-roll and it’s always a good time. I’ve seen RCPM tons of time but I have just started photographing them seriously.

Although I’ve seem them a lot it wasn’t until I saw them as a photographer did I realize how hard this band was to photograph. With every shoot I started to realize how the stage presence and gestures were dictated by the song or tempo. Roger has a great stage presence and is very energetic (someone commented on a photo of mine and said it was trying to photograph a moth in a bright light.) After a while and after watching and after missing shots – it all clicks. Ok here comes the song (Mekong) ok he’s probably going to do this…ok here’s this song (Counterclockwise) I should be positioned over here a little.  Believe me it makes getting shots like this one (taken on 11/21 in Tempe, AZ) a little easier. Going back to the initial gambling analogy – you’re able to stack the deck in your favor a little.

I’ve never shot soccer before – let alone kids soccer (or kids for that matter.) I was bored one day and I wanted to take photos and I ended up in Snedigar Park in Chandler, AZ. It was hot that day and I decided on setting up in a corner under a tree with a telephoto lens. (Truth be told I never use my telephoto lense – I don’t know why.) After reviewing my action shots which were good – not great I saw this photo. A picture of a bunch of kids waiting for play to start. 7, 8 and 9 all in a row. That’s what makes the shot. If I was little more familiar with kids soccer or more specifically I may have shot a great action photo – but this is what I came away with. A numeric composition.

Next post will deal with something that I briefly familiarized myself with a left with making a great photograph.