Rediscovering An Old Friend

When I first got into shooting with a digital camera, I picked up the Sony A100 and the 50mm f/1.4 lens. Due to the crop sensor on the A100, the 50mm translated to a 75mm focal length making it just a little too tight for the kind of photography I was doing so it really didn’t get all that much use. A shame, really. This lens is fast and sharp and the images were outstanding. Even so, I found myself leaning on my Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for that added wide focal range (equivalent 45mm on the cropped sensor) that allowed me to capture more of the scene I was shooting.

Now that I have upgraded to the full frame Sony A850 the Sony 50mm f/1.4 is finding its way back into rotation and I am reminded of how great this lens is.

KISS Alive 35

There is no band I know of more iconic in terms of sound AND appearance than KISS. Love ’em or hate ’em, you know ’em when you see ’em and you won’t confuse KISS with any other band in existence. In the mid 70’s I went to every single show they toured, starting in 1975 and ending in the 1983 when they showed up with Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics as an opener.

When I heard they were coming to Houston for their 35th anniversary show I really, REALLY wanted to photograph the event. It took some wrangling, but I eventually scored press credentials to provide photos for Craig Hlavaty’s review in The Houston Press.

I’ve shot a lot of small and mid-sized concerts, but this was my first big rock show. I was really appreciative of Technology Bytes co-host Groovehouse’s presence at the show. He had an extra photo release form which I needed to fill out plus an extra set of ear plugs which really made the difference.

The opening act was a band called Buckcherry and we got to shoot their first three songs. I wasn’t all that interested in their performance, but it was an opportunity to get a feel for the layout and I treated it as a warm up. We were only allowed to shoot the first three songs by KISS and I was sweating it a little. The typical scenario is three songs and even it’s not a lot of time to settle in and get your shots.

For this show I carried both my new Sony A850 and my Sony A700. The former mounted with my Zeiss 24-70 and the latter with my Tamron 70-200. Both lenses served their purpose and I was glad to have them. Overall, though, the A850 with the Zeiss wide angle was the most useful rig for this show.

I gotta hand it to KISS, they really put on a show. For the first two songs they played it up for the photographers and gave us plenty of opportunities to get some fantastic photos. I’ve never had a band do that before and it was a real treat. Be sure and read Craig’s review of the whole show at The Houston Press for the set-list and other observations.

Here are a few of my favorites from the evening. Click any image to see a larger version.

Additional photos in my Flickr gallery.

Fab 40

The Fab 40 pay tribute to the original Fab 4 with a free, live performance of “Abbey Road” on Saturday, September 12 at Discovery Green.

40+ (probably closer to 50) local musicians – handpicked by Beatles enthusiasts David Blassingame and Steve Candelari – performed the Beatles’ album “Abbey Road” from beginning to end.

It was an ambitious project. Nearly felled by illness, loss of critical instruments and the weather, it went very well despite all this.

You can see a slideshow of all the photos I took that night by clicking here.

Minolta 100mm f/2

Just beginning to play with my recently acquired Minolta 100mm F/2. It’s an amazingly sharp lens and the IQ is on par with anything I have ever shot with. Considering this lens was made in 1987 it holds up well when used with the modern day digital Sony Alpha 700.

I would go so far as to say that this lens is easily as sharp wide open as my Sony Zeiss 135 f/1.8 is when stopped down to f/2.0. Similar in focal length (100mm vs 135mm) this lens is considerably smaller and more light weight. That means it’s easy to carry around in my small bag with a few other lenses where the Zeiss requires a bit more of a commitment to lugging around some heavy gear. A huge plus.

I can easily see this lens becoming one of my heavy rotational favorites, espeically for low light portrait work