Photos from the Pit: Frank Turner at the House of Blues

January 27, 2017

So, I got lucky enough to get a media pass to the Frank Turner concert at the House of Blues this past Monday. I've never done anything like this before, and it was definitely a learning experience.

There was a mix of other photographers in the pit with me and quite a few more than the previous night's show (which I was in the second row for). Some of them were professional concert photographers that had obviously shot many shows before while others we amateurs like me. There was even a girl there who seemed to use the pass just as a way to get a closer seat and take a few photos with her iPhone.

Will Varley playing guitar Will Varley playing guitar

Will Varley is an fantastic lyricist, I highly suggest checking him out.

I brought four of my lenses but really only ended up using two, my 50mm f/1.4 and my 24-120mm f/4, both Nikons. If there had been a few fewer people in the pit and I had a bit more time to play around I would have liked to try my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 just to see what it would get me, but I didn't really end up with time.

We were allowed into the pit for the first 3 songs of each artist, which seems pretty customary from what I've read online. It seems that some places will then let photographers shoot from elsewhere in the venue during the rest of the show, but apparently that wasn't the case here. I got a shot or two of Will Varley from the side, but I was asked to stop so I didn't really take any more.

The pit itself was pretty busy with as many photographers as were there, but it didn't seem to me like we were getting into each other's way at all. Everyone was really good about not cutting in front of you and waiting until after you'd taken a shot to scoot by.

Arkells at the House of Blues Arkells at the House of Blues

Arkells put on an amazing show every time I've seen them

I ended up taking over 2600 photos. After the show on my way to the train I stopped to take a few photos of the city but only got off one before my cards were completely full. Of those, I narrowed it down to around 350 that I thought were worth taking a stab at editing. After that process I ended up with 73 photos. I narrowed those down to 55 I ended uploading to Flickr. I could probably narrow that down even further to really focus the album, but I don't want to make any more decisions.

Officer Bradford Officer Bradford

Officer Bradford watching over the criminals of Masked Intruder

A lot of the photos ended up being dumped into the 'blurry' pile. With some the focus didn't end up where I wanted it, some because of motion blur due to my shutter not being fast enough with the available light. If I end up getting the chance to go this again (which I hope I do) I'm definitely going to try and rent a 24-70mm f/2.8. One of the other photographers there I talked to was using one and it seems like the perfect range while still being fast enough.

Frank Turner at the House of Blues Frank Turner at the House of Blues

Frank Turner knows how to rock, even though his doctor says he shouldn't jump around as much anymore.

The show itself was fantastic as well. I'd seen everyone the night before so, while there were little differences, I was able to focus more on the photos instead of the show. Masked Intruder was especially great as I'd never seen them before but they put on a heck of a show. A lot of fun to shoot. They're also from Madison which is great. I'll have to make sure to catch them again sometime.

I didn't have a lens wide enough to get all of the members of Arkells at once from that close, but I did manage to get at least one shot of everyone. Max, the lead singer, is constantly all over the stage so getting a non-blurry shot of him was a difficult but rewarding experience.

Frank Turner and the Sleeping souls put on a great show as always, and his new protest song "Sand in the Gears" will surely be stuck in my head for the entirety of the next four years.

Frank Turner crowd surfing at the House of Blues Frank Turner crowd surfing at the House of Blues

Frank surfing the crown during his last song of the night.

Since I was one of the only photogs to stick around for the whole show (most ducked out right after song 3 of Frank's set), security even let me take a few more shots of the crowd towards the end which I was really grateful for.

All in all it was a great experience. I've always tried to capture the best pictures I can at shows with just my phone. In 2015 I even had one of my 52 project photos end up being one of Frank Turner from the first show of his I ever went to, taken on my iPhone 6s. Using my DSLR obviously allowed me a whole different level of quality. I learned a lot and already want to put to use all of it.

Hopefully I'll get the chance to try this again soon. Not all bands are as easy as Frank Turner to get a media pass for, but I have a few other shows I'm thinking about reaching out for. We'll see how it turns out.

You can find the Flickr album with the rest of the pictures here.