By photographer Kim Matthäi Leland
Rickie Lee Jones has always been one of the icons in my world. Most people know the song “Chuck E’s in Love”, but she’s just so much more than that. I’ve heard her live twice before – once was good, the other one… trippy. I find her albums throughout her career of varying quality – some are pure gold, others are so-so. So I was excited to find out, what she had for us this October evening in Lutherkirken (Church of Luther) in Copenhagen. The church had booked Ms. Jones via personal contacts – quite a scoop.
The concert was sold out, and I was lucky enough to be there shooting for the Danish music magazine and website GAFFA.
A church is somewhat of an unusual venue for a pop/folk concert, so I guess an establishing shot is appropriate.
By now, I have shot a few concerts with my Fuji X-T1 (with X100S as second camera until the arrival of the X-Pro2), so I can hardly say that it’s a new experience anymore.
When I shot with Canon gear, I used a telephoto lens (70-200), an ultra wide angle lens (16-35) and a fish eye lens. This was good for most concerts, and I have tried creating a similar setup with Fuji gear. Because of the crop factor, the focal lengths are not the same, so in Fuji terms, my setup is a 50-140, a 10-24 – and then there’s the question of the fish eye. There’s no Fuji fish eye, but luckily there are third party brands. The Samyang 8mm f/2.8 II is an excellent one. Small, good build, sharp – only downside is that it only works with manual focus. But at this focal length that’s not so much of a problem.
I hadn’t brought a tripod, so I used the side mirror of a car parked on the opposite side of the street, and with the two second timer I managed to get a sharp image on 1/10 of a second shutter speed. With the long shutter speed I managed to get more of the sky visible than you could actually see with the naked eye.
The image has been de-fished in post using the the Photoshop plugin Fisheye Hemi 2. That way the image doesn’t appear too fisheye-like, and in a way you can use the lens as an ultra wide angle.
OK, to the concert itself. I was given a great seat on first row. But I was “locked” to my chair unlike at other concerts, where you as a photographer can move freely around in front of the stage for the first three songs. The fixed position unfortunately doesn’t give a lot of possibility for varying the images (which I always try to do). But you just have to see it as a challenge!
Fortunately, Rickie Lee Jones was in great shape, and her band was tight and very present.
The Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8 telephoto lens is great. At least as sharp as the corresponding Canon 70-200 f/2.8 II which was my faithful concert partner for years.
I have to admit, the auto focus speed of the Fujifilm X-T1 is not on par with that of the Canon 5D Mark III, but at a concert like this it’s quite all right.
The almost-silent shutter sound of the X-T1 is great for quiet concerts like this one. Yes, the Canon 5D Mark III and the 6D altso have a silent shutter mode, but the X-T1 is even more silent than that. And if you need more silence, the X-T1 has an electronic shutter mode that makes it completely silent. Completely. Stealth. And with the tilt screen it’s possible to shoot with the camera in your lap without anyone being disturbed by it.
The audience is an important part of any concert, and I always try to get some nice shots of the audience (I actually won the prize for Denmark’s best audience photo in 2014). At this concert it was a bit tricky, because I was seated on a chair next to the first row of benches and of course didn’t want to cause annoyance for the audience.
So I just quickly stuck out my arm and shot a couple of images with the fish eye lens.
Well, by now my three songs were up. I didn’t want to have brought the X100S in vain, so I took this shot with it. Then I put the gear under my chair and enjoyed the rest of the concert with my old idol.