Schoepf’s Barbeque here in Belton, Texas blesses my home with a double dose of love. Not only does that wonderful aromatic fume drift by my house when the winds are favorable, but most weekends, I have the pleasure of falling to sleep to the thumping of the distant bass drum, some indistinct bass guitar, and cheering crowds at the end of every song. I guess that would be annoying to some, but I enjoy it.
They usually are doing their thing right when I am putting the kids to bed, so I rarely have done anything about my impulse to go photograph the bands. This past Thursday was a little different. I heard the sound checks starting up nice and early, so I took the kids out for a walk. We hung out on the slab of dancing concrete at the foot of the stage while the band members warmed up, and the bass guitarist, pictured above there, even came down and let the kids pick at his hefty strings.
Well, I took the kids home, we did the normal routine of baths and stories and such, and then put them to bed. When it was all said and done, I knew there was a good amount of concert still left, so I bargained thirty minutes from my wife (on the condition I returned home to work thirty minutes on our curtains) to head a few blocks over to photograph the band.
I did not bring an ID, so I had a nice little “X” marked on each hand…no worries, I just went for the photos anyway. Well, ok, I really liked the music I heard in the sound check. I am guessing that was a bit of a look into the personal interests of the band members, more than what I heard in the concert itself…but I was not there for long either.
As for photography, it was the perfect shooting location. The speakers were on nice one foot platforms, which had about a foot worth of ledge open all around. So, I was right on the edge of the stage, blocking nobody’s view since I was right next to the speakers, and I could shoot right over the crowd’s heads. These shots make it look like I was on stage with these guys…and no, I did not have some massive telephoto on my camera, just the trusty, old 85.
Concerts are surprisingly bright. You might think they are dark, but with all those lights it is quite the opposite…just ask the musicians up there. The real problem is how easily that light can jump from indistinguishable shadows (no thanks to the cowboy hats) to staring-at-the-sun hotspots. So, you really have to keep an eye on your meter and be constantly aware to keep from drawing the eye toward a light hotspot and away from the intended subject.
I will have to go out and do this again. Maybe next time I will have bring my ID and enjoy the music with a “cold one” in hand. Here is Kyle Park, the ring leader this night, but I found the musicians with him to be of the best quality as well. Thanks for the tunes, guys. Thanks for the opportunity to catch a few moments in pictures.