Blog

The Rat Pack at the Huddersfield Town Hall

I’m probably a bit young to remember the Rat Pack first time around so now, a tribute act is about as close as I’ll ever get. When we were invited to take photographs at Huddersfield Town Hall of the Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular show it was a great opportunity to practice my live music and event photography all to the soundtrack of some classic swing. Unusually we were given a free run of the hall by the event organisers and freedom to shoot the complete event.

I’m probably a bit young to remember the Rat Pack first time around so now, a tribute act is about as close as I’ll ever get. When we were invited to take photographs at Huddersfield Town Hall of the Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular show it was a great opportunity to practice my live music and event photography all to the soundtrack of some classic swing. Unusually we were given a free run of the hall by the event organisers and freedom to shoot the complete event.

When shooting such an event it is important to understand the needs of the customer and the intended use for the images; this can influence the approach for the evening quite substantially. Our remit as it turned out was quite broad. A few images for their website or Facebook page were all they really wanted. This could be a remit that is too broad! Because of this, I varied my style a bit including some wide shots showing the whole stage together with close ups and detail shots providing a good mix and hopefully telling the story of the evening’s performance.

When shooting such an event it is important to understand the needs of the customer and the intended use for the images; this can influence the approach for the evening quite substantially. Our remit as it turned out was quite broad. A few images for their website or Facebook page were all they really wanted. This could be a remit that is too broad! Because of this, I varied my style a bit including some wide shots showing the whole stage together with close ups and detail shots providing a good mix and hopefully telling the story of the evening’s performance.

Now, with all this in mind I did have a pre-visualised shot in mind. It’s important to do this even if you never achieve the shot you went out with. I wanted a particular low key image featuring a performer atmospherically in the spotlight. Eventually I got the shot I wanted because I staked out a single angle and just waited for the moment. This is a technique that is recommended for street photography and the idea is not to chase the shot but to wait for it to unfold in front of you. Patience is the key and it’s important not to loose your nerve as there will be other shots you’ll miss waiting for the one you want. I think if you can’t gamble on getting your shot during a Vegas Spectacular then when can you?

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular is currently playing around the UK and further information can be found at www.ratpack.biz

The Technical Bit

The big challenge was that I didn’t not know what to expect. The tendency in such a situation is to overload the boot of the car to deal with every eventuality. Very little though could adequately deal with the low light so most of the evening was spent with fast lenses. While we could get close, we couldn’t stand directly in front of the stage so a 70-200mm proved to be worth its weight.

When I started, I used Aperture Priority to cope with the variable lighting. After a the first song or two I quickly realised that there where just a few lighting patterns being used so I actually started to get more consistent results I full manual adjusting my ISO as the lighting pattern changed to control my exposure