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Concert photography

Dushanbe jazz festival

Dushanbe was bubbling with Jazz last weekend. Once a year the ethno-jazz festival takes place in town. This year was no different. Concerts were organized on concert photographyFriday, Saturday and Sunday in various places in town. Bands flew in from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and of course Tajikistan to perform their best. With concert halls fully packed and a bunch of enthusiastic musicians it turned out to be a great event. Great opportunity to shoot some nice concert pictures. My first steps in to concert photography. I was curious to see what I could get away with.
The first impulse was concert halls are dark, so we’ll need to add some flash. Wrong! I tried it and didn’t like the results. The flash was giving nasty reflections on the instruments and threw ugly black shadows on the background. Since there was nothing I could bounce of the flash I gave up on that idea. Plan A trashed. Concert photography Plan B was required. In my case that meant cranking up the ISO to a 1000 and more, and opening up to the biggest aperture possible. With my lens, a 70-300mm zoom, that meant aperture f5 or so. I point measured the light at some bright spots and ended up with a shutter speed of around 1/125. I decided to shoot everything in manual mode at that speed. If you keep the camera really steady pictures will be pretty sharp, even when zoomed in over 200mm. In aperture mode I’d risk shooting at too low shutter speeds. Plan B turned out to work pretty well actually. No at least thanks to the brilliant ISO performance of my Nikon D700. With a DX camera results would very likely be less exciting. You can check out the full photo series here.

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