The Knox-Galesburg Symphony put me to work on Saturday night, December 8th, to photograph the first of two “seasonal” performances, the Holiday Pops Concert. The symphony uses my services from time to time. Its always a good experience, combining two of my loves. Music and photography. The symphony is very good at allowing me “artistic license,” and to be able to roam and have access to almost any area during the performance.
Photographing a symphony during its performance is not so easy. Most venues have great acoustics. And a symphony is not rock and roll. The sound of a camera shutter can easily be heard during quiet moments. And it’s distracting. A photographer has to be aware and respectful to the performers and audience. I do my best. They do make a device called a camera blimp that is said to reduce shutter noise by 99%. I have never used one. They can cost $1,000. That may be why I haven’t used one. A specialty item for sure.
Photographing a symphony is like photographing professional golf. There are moments it is fine to make a photo. And there are moments it isn’t. The quiet moments of the symphony are like the back swing of a tee shot. Quiet, please!
For the Holiday Pops Concert, with it being seasonal, my thought and goal was to make sure to make photos that show that it was! To use any color or decorations in the beautiful Orpheum Theatre, to tell the story that this show was different than any other symphony show. Using the two zoom lenses, and the 300mm 2.8 lens, I kept moving, and worked the theater from almost every angle. I have found one “sweet spot,” stage left and on the floor, where I can see most of the stage, but hide behind a wall and shoot through an opening. This position hides me, and reduces the shutter noise.
As I photographed the symphony on Saturday night I thought about the contrast of the beautiful music I was listening to, to the intensity of the music I was listening to exactly 39 years ago to the day. Saturday, December 8th, 1979. The International Amphitheater in Chicago. The Who!