concert ∙ Sarah McLachlan 2014 · Victoria BC

In photography by webmeister Bud

Sarah McLachlan at the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0001Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
200 mm · 1/250 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200

Technical tangent: Y’know those words in the little tag shapes at the bottom of the page, such as arenas, Canon 70-200, and SOFMC?

Those are tags, and you can click on any of them to see, for instance, more arena shows, other photos shot with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 telephoto lens, or more shows from the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

Well, there’s a new tag down there, before-after. This is the first post tagged with it. What that means is that I’m gonna show you what a particular shot looked like before and after I worked on it. In this case, the shot above.

Scroll down to the next bright freakin’ yellow photo to begin your journey into technical digital photo processing gunk, or click here to skip all that and just go to the next shot from the concert.

Still with me? Cool. Sarah’s stage was often awash with yellow spotlights, leading to many captures which looked like this:

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0001-before

No, that big panel wasn’t floating on the stage. That’s from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, which I use to give my photos a spit-polish before they are introduced to the world. The panel above is zeroed out, meaning that this is what it looked like straight out of the camera.

Here’s a secret: wanna know why concert photos often appear in black and white? It’s not always an artistic decision. Often, it’s because coloured lighting hit a performer with such a level of saturation that it can’t be faithfully or realistically rescued to look natural.

So, down goes the Saturation slider to rip all the colour of of the shot. It’s not generally my favourite thing to do, but if it’ll save the shot, wahoo!

In this case, just taking the colour out wasn’t enough, ’cause it still looked like Sarah was awash in nuclear fire, and there was barely any contrast. So, after some experimentation, I dropped the Highlights (which helps reclaim blown out areas) all the way down, as well as crushing the Blacks to -100.

I’d never normally be so extreme in my post production, but that was all I could do to recover any sense of depth from the photo. A little nudge of Clarity (which is kinda like Contrast, but with added texture), and I was really happy with the shot.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0001-after

That concludes our technical mumbo-jumbo. And look! We’re back to, y’know, the concert.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0002Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
11 mm · 1/200 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

Were I to ever admit to a celebrity crush, it would’ve been Sarah McLachlan, from the moment I first heard “Into the Fire” in 1992.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0003Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
110 mm · 1/500 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200

Some 22 years later, Sarah’s voice is still just as solid as it was back then.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0004Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
10 mm · 1/250 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

Her onstage energy, while devoid of headbanging and stage diving, is about the same as it was when I last saw her live in 2005.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0005Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
90 mm · 1/500 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200

Sarah’s a big believer in breaking the “us and them” wall so, through social media contesting, she selected a few lucky folks to sit on her couch, stage right, for a few songs, to get an up-close experience of the show.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0006Canon EOS 550D (T2i) · Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM
10 mm · 1/200 s · f/3.5 · ISO 1600

I’m very glad I was approved to shoot this show (it’s a crap shoot 90% of the time), having never shot a Sarah show before.

20141021 - Sarah McLachlan 2014-0007Canon EOS 70D · Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8
110 mm · 1/350 s · f/3.5 · ISO 3200