Thursday, March 22, 2012

Singer-songwriter Ellis Paul revisits
the Indy Acoustic Cafe Series

I'm finding myself in "catch-up" mode once again, at least as it pertains to this blog. I'll start with the older shoot here. That was this past Saturday's installment of the long-running Indy Acoustic Cafe Series at the Wheeler Arts Community Center in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis.

This night's featured performer was Ellis Paul, a singer-songwriter out of Boston when he first appeared in the series in 1998. Paul now makes his home in Virginia.

He ran late for Saturday's show and jokingly blamed the recent change in time from Standard to Daylight Saving. He made up for it with his music, his passion in the performance and with some pleasant stories between songs, including one that transitioned into a cover of a Roy Orbison classic, for which he borrowed sunglasses from a member of the audience to add a touch of reality to the Orbison "look." It was the Orbison tune he was singing when I took this post's lead photo (above).

He even had a couple of audience participation songs -- one in which choreography was a key component; you'll see a shot below of audience members participating in that. You'll also see, at the very end, a frame from his last song, when he left the stage and filtered out into the audience and performed "Annalee" without the benefit of microphones and stage lights. In fact, lighting right smack dab in the middle of the crowd was almost non-existent, so I did what I'd never done before on my Canon 7D -- I pushed the ISO to its maximum level,12,800. I filtered the image through noise-reduction software in post-processing.The shot of the crowd in the front row participating in the choreography was a challenge as well. I was seated on the floor at stage right, and stage lighting drops off dramatically when it hits the crowd, even in that front row. I used aperture priority at wide open at 1250 ISO and rested the camera on my knee, using the live view fuction to compose and focus then waited till I saw the crowd movement would hit a freeze point then tripped the shutter. The shutter speed on the shot below was 1/6, not something I could have done ordinarily hand-held, even with my image-stabilized 70-200mm f/2.8L lens.

A full gallery of shots of Ellis Paul's show can be found in my gallery. For those of you who haven't dropped in there recently, I've photographed 11 shows in the Series now, so I've created a separate sub-category for them in the Music folder.

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