The KROQ Weenie Roast Festival was such a great event. It has become one of my favorite. Access is a big part of my job and most artists who play Weenie Roast don’t seem to care where I go. I do have the most All-Access pass you can get, but that doesn’t mean I can just ignore a bands’ wishes/rules. I follow them, I never break any – I really value respect and am a true believer in karma/fate. If something doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be. For example two years ago I was able to photograph Muse from about 10-20 feet away, for the whole set. It was an honor. This time around the only artist who cracked down on me was Lorde. It was so much fun.
Check this video out if you want to see me discuss the lenses a little bit more in depth, also GoPro POV video at the end!
This is how I used my gear at this festival, it doesn’t apply for every fest. Gear can be pushed in so many different directions and claiming this is the only way and best way to use them – would be silly. So come join me on the least techy gear talk you will ever have.
Canon 5D Mark III
It usually lasts for about 4 years until I break it, that is pretty good lifespan. No complaints. Love this camera.
Sigma 85mm f/1.4
The 85mm is one of the newer additions to my lens collection. I have gradually integrated more prime lenses into my collection over the year and I am almost 100% prime now (with the exception of the 120-300). I love this lens. Its ability to separate your subject from their surrounding is unmatched. I used it when I could get on stage but not get incredibly close to artists.
It is also great from the pit assuming you don’t want full body, it can be a be difficult to get a nice full body shot unless you back up pretty far, and then you lose a lot of your depth of field.
Sigma 50mm f/1.4
I tend to use this the same way as the 85mm, to capture the artist but separate them from the surrounding area. It is better for full body images as it is a bit wider. You usually need a lower stage to include feet in your shot so keep that in mind. I had a low stage at this fest and I was able to get close enough to the artist to make this lens effect.
It can also be useful for image shot on stage with the crowd in the background. It is wide enough that it will include the environment you would usually be able to see with an 85, while at the same time still giving you a solid depth of field.
Sigma 20mm f/1.4
This lens is very difficult to properly focus. Certain lighting situations fool its efforts – most notably, back lit images concert settings. But I still love it and try to make it work when it makes sense. It is the most effective at making simple shots look a little bit larger than life by making them pop a bit. It has some distortion to it, but not as much as a fisheye lens, and I like that. It keeps it realistic while at the same time making you go…. ooo that looks cool.
Sigma 120 – 300mm f/2.8
Haha this is honestly just a dream come true. 2.8 at 300mm? I can basically stand far away from every other photographer and still get my shots. If I want something artsy and close up, I just go in front of all the other photos. It is great. Your artist might as well be in a studio with how much depth of field this bad boy can give you.
I have always struggled with how the heck can I attach this GoPro to my camera discretely, grab effective footage, and not look like I am in an artist’s face being obnoxious and recording video. I am especially aware of this during sound check, I will usually remove it during sound check shots, or purposefully obviously face it in another direction so that no one thinks I am recording them behind the scenes. I have a lot of respect for the artists and want to make sure they know this without even talking to me.
I think this works.
Think Tank Retrospection 10
For the Weenie Roast Festival I just put all my gear around my shoulder and then set it down when I either got to the photo pit or stage. It is a very relaxed festival so I wasn’t too worried about someone stealing my gear and I could easily keep an eye on it at all times.
Here are all the photos I was able to snag. Enjoy!