August 2007

Behind the Scenes

 Behind the Scenes

As I mentioned previously, a lot goes on behind the scenes when putting a concert together.  One big part of making a show a success is the rehearsals.  I had the opportunity to visit with the band in London when rehearsing for the upcoming next 3 weeks of touring.

All the gear packed into a small room, the band worked out the logistics, choreography, set list, etc. all before the first show.  It was here that the “In It For Love” move was born.  Yes ladies, this is where that move was created.  I’ll be sure to post a series of photos on that at some later point.

I always enjoy getting some of the odd shots, and this was one from the group.  I have posted a batch of photos (available for download and purchase at cost!) at my SmugMug site.

Click here to visit the gallery.

Canon 10D, 28-135EF, 1/45 at 6.7 and 800ISO

Bunking Up With Donny Osmond

Bus Bunks

Sorry, I had to do it. I know that title is misleading and a little edgy for some, but it sounded too good not to post it. Hopefully that will catch some attention on the Google News Alerts! 🙂

I know today isn’t a picture of Donny or any of the band, but hopefully you will enjoy the story behind it as I share a little flavor of touring with Donny over the course of this series.

When I have had the opportunity to be on the tour buses, they can be fun and tiring at the same time. There are times when events are back to back, so you leave one show only to travel all night and arrive in a completely different city for another show the next day. Fortunately the accommodations are pretty decent on these buses, albeit tight quarters for everyone to ride in.

When you first get on the tour, you start out getting last “dibs” on a bunk. Obviously the big man on the tour gets first pick, and there is a bit of a pecking order after that. Everyone has their preference of course. Some like the top so no one is banging their feet through the curtain as they get up high. Others prefer the bottom because there is less sway as the bus travels. Me, I sleep like a rock so I really didn’t care.

There was one time, though, when I had a bunk that for whatever reason had a squeak emitting from the trim on the wall of the bunk. Once my mind took note of it, I could not catch any sleep as that thing kept making noise. I tried a variety of things as did the bus driver who realized how annoying it can be when you really need the sleep. Eventually we got something wedged in there that took care of it, but not before a few nights of interrupted sleep.

Not all buses are created equal either. Some tours we had a standard, simple bunk. Most have power outlets, which is nice to recharge your phone as you travel to the next place. The nicer ones have flip down TV/DVD players in each bunk. You’d think that was living the high life, but in reality typically you hang out in the lounge a bit to wind down after a concert and then hit the sack. Sleep is a precious commodity when traveling on tour.

Canon 10D, 28-135EF, .05 at f/4.5 and 400ISO

One of the Others: Tom Hopkins

 Tom Hopkins

When working with a well known, lifetime star like Donny Osmond, it is often easy to forget there are many people that work behind the scenes to make a performance happen.  A lot goes into a concert just to make it happen.  There are staff members for booking, publicity & promotion, stage setup including lighting and sound, and not least of which, the band.  These people typically go unnoticed, so today I highlight one that has been around for a few years, off and on.

Because Donny does not tour constantly these days, he often has rotating band members based on availability.  Unless road musicians are part of their own successful band, they typically work for a variety of entertainers and try to juggle their schedule to be working as much as possible.  For some time he had mostly the same band members, but scheduling often requires that new members be booked.

Tom Hopkins has been one of those members that has been on and off again a variety of times.  Currently he is “on” and a part of the band.  Tom’s MySpace page gives his background, so no resume to be given here, just that he knows his stuff and from personal experience is a great guy.  I know he has garnered his own fans from the Donny regulars, so this photo is for you.

Canon 20D, 70-200L, 1/200 at f/3.2 and 400ISO

Atypical Shots

 Donny on the speakers

When I first started taking concert photos, I was so desperate to get “the” shot that I often ended up taking hundreds of photos a night that ended up looking much the same.  Not until I had several concerts under my belt did I start realizing that I had all the standard shots taken care of, so I had some creative liberty to look for something new.

This is not to say that the standard shots are bad, those shots need to be taken of course; but, looking for that vantage point that is different or the composition that makes a shot unique can make for a very interesting and often entertaining photo.  Because I have had some special privilege at Donny’s concerts, I have had the ability to take some shots from backstage.  In fact the cover my my book On Tour With Donny Osmond was a shot taken following him through curtains backstage as he came out for the big entrance.

With that in mind, this shot of Donny atop the side stage speakers is one I enjoy.  Rather than move to an angle without the band members, I liked having them blurred in the background.  I felt the shot was better keeping the band members in as it is a reminder of how much goes on behind the scenes of a great performance.  This is one of those shots that looks much better blown up, but hopefully you get the idea with this size on the page.

Canon 20D, 70-200L IS, 1/160 at f/2.8 and 400ISO

Extreme Closeup

Extreme Closeup

I have been holding back for some time on posting some of my concert photos. I usually need to get permission on many of them to do most anything, but for a number of reasons I am going to go ahead and get some online. I would like to start discussing and upcoming project with my friend Donny Osmond, so I figure at the same time I can start sharing with his fans some of the photos I have taken.

As many readers here know, I have had the unique opportunity to travel with Donny and take many photos over the last several years on a variety of projects. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences and am very grateful for everything that has been made possible to me. I have also made mention previously of posting some of these old photos for fans as well over on my SmugMug site, which I still plan to do.

With that in mind, today is a shot taken last week in Salt Lake City and his recent concert. Typically I frame my shots to try and grab some color and background lights, but recently some fans asked that I get more “extreme closeups.” They love to see the detail, and frankly even the sweat. I say ewww, but then I do try to get what the fans like!

So here you go, first of many to come. Thanks again to all the great fans that have supported my efforts and become friends over the years as well. Here’s giving back to you.

Canon 20D, 70-200L IS, 1/200 at f/3.2 and 400ISO

Intensity

Intensity

Last night I had the opportunity to photograph another concert, something I have done for a bit.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself and remembered how much I miss it.  I’ll share some more details soon on the new project I am working on, but because of time constraints I have had to enlist the help of a trusted friend to do the road work.  I am feeling a sense of loss now realizing how much I will miss being out on tour.  It was the right decision though.

I’ll share some concert photos later, but this man was out front of the venue, strategically playing some tunes that fit the crowd.  I was intrigued not only by his choice of music (Mormon hymns for the downtown Salt Lake City crowd) but by his intense stare.  This look you see captured was not one meant to frighten me off; this was the look he continuously gave as he gazed back and forth to the incoming people.  Surprisingly the look didn’t seem to scare people off; he pulled in a decent amount of donations to his bag laid out in front of him.  The man knows his craft.

Alas, I have been off of blogging for a bit again.  I do hope to regain my daily posting schedule, but life has been busy.  I do apologize for those that were coming frequently and hope to regain your viewership!

Mmmm…Greasy

Cooking Sausages

I’ve mentioned before how I think breakfast food never tastes as good as when you are camping.  There is something about being in the great outdoors and obviously the kid of foods we tend to cook when camping that make breakfast a highlight of the day.

We have a neighbor that seems to be the designated cook for most our outings; for which I am grateful because he has a skill for cooking for large groups.  He cooks what tastes good rather than worrying too much about the health content.  Really, when you are camping you need to toss aside the calorie and fat counter for a meal or two.  Worry about your culinary misery on regular days.

Canon 20D, 24-105mm, 1/100 at f4.0 and 400ISO

Rivals Can Co-exist

Rivals

Rivalries abound in college sports, but BYU vs Utah ranks high on the list.  Living smack in the middle of this area, we have a lot of fun plying up the rivalry, but never taking ourselves too seriously (at least I think we don’t).

On a Father/Daughter camp out this last weekend, two of the dads were sporting their colors so I couldn’t resist pairing them up for a photo.

Note: No alums were harmed in the capturing of this photo.

Canon 20D, 24-105mm, 1/60 at f4.0 and 400ISO