This blogpost started with a Facebook message from Joe Montagna. Joe is a musician and elementary school teacher who played the “Brian May” part in a Queen tribute organized by the Sitka Fine Arts Camp. I attended the Friday performance, shaped some shots from the audience and posted them on Facebook to promote the concert for the next night. (The Friday night concert had over 500 people in the 630-seat theater. I thought they should be able to fill the hall.) Joe saw them and asked me if I wanted to wander around backstage and in the wings taking pictures the second night. I had tried to buy tickets for Saturday night earlier in the day and found Old Harbor Books had sold out. I jumped at the chance to wander around back stage and to see the concert again.
But I was also nervous. I normally take pictures outside in natural light. Indoor low light pictures are not my strong point. I told Joe this but he said “If you get that one shot, it will be worth it.”
I showed up and Tyler Eddy, who was also taking pictures backstage, gave me some tips on low and artificial light indoor pics. I had three cameras with me and I set them on different ISOs and different apertures and shutter speeds.
Just after scheduled curtain time the crowd started to stomp and clap to the vamp of “We will rock you.” This audience was primed. Roger Schmidt came on stage and asked folks to fill in toward the middle and to hold up your hand if there were empty seats nearby. The process took a few minutes but every seat was filled, a full house ready to rock.
In an hour of music, I shot around 1,000 pictures. You see here the 34 pictures I’m willing to share. Some are grainy because of the high ISO but I thought, especially in the case of pictures of the audience, they picture the excitement of the show. It was a learning experience for me.
It was two-way excitement. Audience members were one their feet cheering, stomping, clapping and singing along, waiving the glow sticks they got when they came in, then tossing them on stage. And the performers responded to their community by putting out even more energy. At one point some kids started shouting “Mr. Joe, Mr. Joe” calling out their teacher wearing a big curly black wig. Joe shouted back “No Brian May!”
At the end of the show, backstage, it was high fives all around. They nailed it!