Tag Archives: bands/musicians

Tuesday Viewsday: One Night with The Goo Goo Dolls

Aoki (2011)

Aoki (2011)

You may have heard this from me before, but I believe if you talk to most photographers in the world, they will each tell you a similar story about how they discovered which genre of images they love shooting.

Almost every one of us started off shooting everything and anything we could – weddings, engagements, glamour, fashion, families, landscapes, nature/wildlife, etc. – and slowly, particular types of photography rose to the top of what they enjoyed shooting. While most photographers will say they enjoy everything about their craft (and most of us do), they gravitate toward a particular set of images that meet their personal vision.

This is the case with how I realized the types of images I enjoy creating best: portraits (of all kinds), landscapes that focus on the lack of the human element or themes/scenes of a past generation long abandoned, painterly HDR landscapes that are driven by color and texture, and music.

Why music? Long before I was a photographer, I was a musician and always will be. I could elaborate a bit more on how I got into music and rock photography, but I’ll save that for another post. Let’s just say that in these parts, these types of images are my small “claim to fame.”

I’ve even written a few guest posts on the subject.

Johnny Boy (2010)

It’s been two years since I saw the Goo Goo Dolls perform at the Peoria Civic Center so the image you see here is long overdue. Let’s just say I’ve got some items in my unedited images folder that haven’t seen daylight in a few years, but I’ll get there… I hope.

This concert was a gift to myself for my 25th birthday. The Goo were performing here in Peoria during the same week and I have yet to miss one of their central Illinois shows since I was in high school.

Lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, Johnny Rzeznik, plays acoustic guitar onstage during a live performance in Peoria, Illinois

Johnny Boy (2010)

The Goo Goo Dolls hold a special place in my heart as they were one of the first bands I connected with a dear friend over.

My good buddy, Charlie, who is now an airline pilot in St. Louis, and I first saw the Dolls together back in high school. Since that time, both him and I have seen their show together for three performances.

The show I captured here, the only Dolls show I’ve seen since I started my photography career, was also the first one I saw without Charlie there. I can’t hear one of their songs or performances without remembering good times with my friend and knowing there are many more to come.

This image, entitled “Johnny Boy,” was taken near the end of the show, during “Iris” if I remember correctly. I love the composition here and the blue color really gives an added layer of emotion to the scene. Most times, concert lights are set to warmer colors like reds and purples, but I find cooler colors can add a different type of imagery to a concert and bring out the mood.

If you’ve seen the Goo perform, you know they jump back and forth between rock and acoustic material so the ups and downs of the performance are vital when capturing a band like this; lighting and composition is about the only way to show that in a two-dimensional environment.

For those who are curious, I shot this with my trusty Nikkor 70-300mm f/35-5.6 VR lens and I was sitting in the stage left box seats. When I know there is a show I want to capture at the Peoria Civic Center Theatre, I always get one of the box seats; they have a railing I can use as a makeshift tripod, I’m usually close enough to the stage for the 70-300 to work, and there are no obstacles (like the back of someone’s head) to get between me and the performers.

Got a favorite Goo Goo Dolls song? What is it? Drop a comment below!

Tuesday Viewsday V

On Sunday night, the fiancé, her parents, and I headed over to Bloomington, Illinois to catch Thompson Square, Darius Rucker, and the always-awesome Lady Antebellum. Simply put, not many bands who are still active today rock as hard as they do. Caitlin and I have seen Lady A perform three times; it would have been four, but it was rained out (first show Lady A ever had to cancel too!).

If you couldn’t tell already, I’m obsessed with music and Lady A ranks right at the top of everything I feel is good and right with music. They give me hope that rock and country will one day live in harmony together and that the future of country music is not losing sight of its roots.

Lady Antebellum also holds a very special place in my heart. See below for the story.

All We’d Ever Need

All We'd Ever Need

All We'd Ever Need

As you may or may not know, both Caitlin and I are musicians; we actually met at a band rehearsal. When we decided to start singing together, we worked up “Lookin’ for a Good Time.” After we started dating, we quickly found out that we were both obsessed with the band. I found out that Lady A was playing at the Sangamon County Fair near my hometown so I knew I had to take her. I love surprising Caitlin and I was able to keep the entire thing a secret right up until we walked into the fairgrounds and she saw one of the concert posters; the look on her face and total excitement are still vivid in my memory.

Aptly titled after one of my favorite Lady Antebellum songs and the one they were performing at the time, I shot this image during that show. Combining my passion for photography and music, I had started shooting live concerts and musicians/bands only a year before. Most music photographers will tell you that a great venue is half the battle when it comes to good images and I knew that Sangamon County Fair was pretty wide open in terms of setup. The stage was big and so was the grassy field where we were standing.

I snapped this shot with my 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6. That lens didn’t have auto-focus or vibration reduction as I couldn’t afford it at the time, but I still wanted to shoot concerts. I’m happy to say I’ve upgraded to the AF/VR version of this great Nikkor lens in 2011; I’m still pretty proud to say I “cut my teeth” on that lens. Living without auto-focus and vibration reduction in a low-light situation definitely made for steadier hands and a quick shutter finger.

Even after many more concerts, this remains one of my favorite live music photos. The connection between Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley can easily be felt. Anyone who has been to a Lady A show can tell you that those two have a very deep, electric connection when they sing together (and no, they aren’t romantically involved… at least, not with each other). The look in Hillary’s eyes is amazing and the stage lights only add to that electricity.

The Proposal

Like I said, Lady Antebellum holds a very special place in my heart. Not only did Caitlin and I sing a Lady A song as our first duet (and many more after) and see them as our first concert together, but this past August at the Illinois State Fair during Lady A’s opening song, “Our Kind of Love,” I asked Caitlin to marry me. She was upset that she couldn’t concentrate for the first half of the band’s set, but she said yes.

We haven’t missed a Lady Antebellum concert in central Illinois since we’ve been together and we probably never will. They have been, and always will be, “our” band.


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