These photos of the band Zhain were taken at The Cat Club in Hollywood, CA on January 19th, 2006. Technically, I lost my concert photography cherry to Zhain. I practiced on them prior to Magic Christian's set (I feel so dirty!). Not my best shots, but they mean a lot to me because they are the first concert photos I ever took.
I had been asked to shoot a Magic Christian show by Sugarbuzz Magazine that night. I was prepared to do my best with the gear I had at the time, but I really wasn't ready for shooting in the dark recesses of The Cat Club.
Zhain was a great rock band steeped in the 60s and 70s hard rock tradition of bands like Led Zeppelin and Free. A big sound out of three guys. I was interested in the band, so I started shooting about half way through their set.
Boy am I glad I did, because I knew nothing about how to get good shots in a room like that. While there was decent illumination in certain spots on the stage, the band tended to play just outside of those well lit zones. I just didn't know the right settings for shooting it. I had a quick 30 minute crash course on the subject before I started producing reasonable images.
I had brought a flash to the show but I was told I could not use it more than a couple of times during the show. I didn't want to use it anyway because I hate the look flash gives in a concert setting. I want to capture what I see, give the experience I had in the image if possible.
So Zhain taught me my first lessons in shooting in low light. Work in manual, try to keep your aperture wide open, bump up the ISO and shoot at the fastest speed you can. Considering the glass I had with me, this lesson worked. I have revised over subsequent shows, and gotten better results. I hope I continue to get opportunities to shoot more shows, even if it is just for fun.
By the way, Zhain has apparently broken up, but they do have a couple of records out there, including a live disc that is supposed to be quite good. Look them up and buy a copy if you can. They had a great sound.
Enjoy the images below.