How to Capture an Experience: It's Easier Than You Think...
I wish I were a better photographer.I really do. There are so many words contained in a single photograph, and to be able to capture life and passion and heart and meaning, and frame it in a picture, left to tell the story...well, that sort of pursuit deserves a capable hand. I went to the MUTEMATH concert last Saturday nite. Aaron had to work (boo! hiss!) and so I took with me my very stylish, much-cooler-than-I-am, friend and pop culture advisor, Angie Love. [dropcap]Angie is like a great purse[/dropcap] -the very best quality, she's beautiful, practical, and very easy to tote around. And tonite's concert JUST HAPPENED to be at the exact same venue (a coffee house with an über cool back yard stage), where her college student son, of whom she hardly gets to see, works. We were both set on the same goal: to experience a thing of beauty.
We were just looking in different directions.
Because my Love wasn't able to join us, I wanted to be able to capture the show digitally, to share some of the experience with him. So I packed a Canon Rebel EOS because I knew that as much as I love my iPhone, it was no match for the task.
Believe me, I tried. (See for yourself:)
The only problem with bringing the good camera is that in spite of it's abilities, I was the one using it,
And I don't know the difference between the Av, Tv, green square, mountain with the scoop thing, or the flower settings. The lightning bolt with the line through it, I assumed meant "without flash", and I still can't decide if the other setting is Lance Armstrong running mid-stride or George Costanza posing on the velvet couch.
Regardless, I didn't think the MUTEMATH guys would be participating in either activity...so I ignored that setting altogether. I desperately wanted to capture the whole experience- the sights, sounds, scents, feel, and taste of the fullness of REAL music in its most exceptional state. If only I could get the Canon to cooperate. My first shot was taken moments before the MOST IMPRESSIVE DISPLAY OF MUSICIANSHIP IN MY LIFETIME was set to begin. It was of Angie. She was VERY happy to be there to see... her son. She was scanning the perimeter every few minutes for a glimpse of her Handsome. She's a true Groupie.
Moments later, the house lights went out, LEDs and spots took their place, and the Guys stepped on stage, audience exploding with excitement.
And the scent of fresh ground coffee beans intermittently waft through the breezes. I found my happy place.
The lights were a valued addition to the set- with each key or tempo change (which happens quickly and frequently with MUTEMATH), the colors adjusted, emphasizing the difference. I really wanted to capture the ambiance in my photos, but, darn it- my inexperience was in the way!
The shots looked like we were inside a fully lit room (we were NOT), and did not convey the fact that in spite of the heavy humidity that had been looming overhead,
a gentle rain was misting the audience and enhancing the musical sensation that was pouring over us all...It was transcending...
After about 30 pics of a well-lit Living Room, I decided to adventure out, and turn the dial on the camera settings. My first shot, although a floating head surrounded in darkness, and very reminiscent of any SPINAL TAP moment, proved to be promising; At least I cut out the light:
A series of experiments on the Av setting gave me this shot, which I thought was a great visual of the full band:
(ok, well...greater than what I was producing before...) And then I thought to do the trick where you raise the camera into the air and just aim, hoping to hit any target. I've seen the Pros do it before. This is what I got for trying to act all professional and stuff:
Sorry, Paul...Roy...Better luck next time...
Soon after these shots, I got a tap on the back, and a scream in the ear from Angie, saying (at least I think this is what she said- we were standing EXACTLY BESIDE the speakers, and I was beginning to lose my hearing in one ear), "Put down the camera and enjoy the show." But I WAS enjoying the attempt to capture the image of the PASSION and INTENT of what the band was delivering, so I smiled, nodded, and switched the camera setting to Tv...whatever that meant... Althewhile singing, dancing, breathing in the funky groove of that Band That I LOVE...And here's how Tv looks on camera:
And here's Tv without heads:
I have seen Mute Math in concert 4 times before this, and without exception, I can say that every performance is the very best one.
They never hold back- I always know that Paul will invert himself on his keyboard a few times, Darren will duck tape his headphones to his skull out of necessity, and the whole band will end up in a small corner of the stage (UNFORTUNATELY NOT THE SIDE I WAS ON THIS TIME- all those young 'uns knew the drill, too, and got that spot before me...PUNKS!) and they will bang, drum, shake, and diggety-diggety various surfaces that allow for noise, and will ruin it for every other band that tries to captivate my attention.
Year after year, this has been the case. When the show was over, I switched the camera setting to P (????), and walked up to the empty stage. I was hoping to snag the play list, but, again, the young 'uns beat me to it. I settled on capturing a few pics of the very faithful instruments that ushered us all into that moment in time where SOUND WAVES ALTERED AN ENTIRE SPACE, taking CONTROL of the ATMOSPHERE, and bringing beautiful surrender. Paul's unique and tempting, handcrafted "Atari" (I overheard a few guys wishing they could snatch it):
That was the instrument responsible for ratting me out as an old fart. The high-pitched vibrations rattled through my brain, and caused my knees to weaken. I had to plug my ears and steady my stance. Here's the HOT MESS of a drum kit that faithfully becomes deconstructed throughout the presentation of THE FINEST INTERNAL LIQUEFYING EXPERIENCE KNOWN TO MAN. And that guy is their Roadie. He takes good care of 'em.
On the stage, there was also a water bottle that belonged to Paul. Only a creeper would take a pic of that, though.
In the end, I felt extremely accomplished: Angie and I BOTH achieved our goals:
She got to capture a taste of LIFE AND PASSION AND HEART AND MEANING
And so did I.
Thanks for the show, Guys... Can't wait till next time... Incidentally, that MOST EXCITING PICTURE OF THE EVENING- the one with Paul and me-