Dave Terry's picture

Long Exposure Shutter Drag Experiments of Live Musicans

So I have only attempted this a few times, but here are some shots I've done using the shutter-drag technique using a 3-4 second shutter speed while manually popping off an off-camera flash (using a remote) randomly throughout the exposure. I have shot a lot of shows in very low-light over the years and wanted to try something different and more abstract. It's not for everyone, but I like abstraction. I'm looking for motion, color, and interesting shapes that convey the fluid, visual-echo-filled nature of watching live music while under the influence of ones recreational substance of choice. =)

These are probably my 8 favs (out of nearly 300 shots... a lot of garbage captured too!) If you dig any of these, which one do you like best?

Everything you see is captured in-camera. I process the color and exposure in Lightroom and these images never touch Photoshop. No compositing, no overlaying of multiple photos, no fx. Just the result light interacting with the camera sensor.

If I remember right, I think I'm using my Sigma 35mm Art 1.4 on all of these attached to my Nikon D800. Settings vary a little among this group, but typically the f/stops are all at f/16, shutter 3-4seconds, and ISO between 50 and 150. Two different venues, both with very low lights. The flash is pre-placed a few feet away from me (so as to get something more dramatic in the lighting) and the power is set very low so it doesn't overpower anything. The low-power results in the ghostly nature of the musicians... brief, flickering manifestations of light from the ether (or some pretentious artsy fartsy BS like that)

Like sports or dancing, live music is full of motion (just in smaller degrees). I hope these capture something interesting for those into experimental images.

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5 Comments

Bart Ingraldi's picture

The energy in these images is palpable. Beauty and excitement blended perfectly.

I love them !
I'm having a really hard time to pick a favorite, but if I have to, it's going to be the first one. You can feel the energy of these pictures.

You might want to take a look at this group: https://fstoppers.com/groups/230825/minimalism-abstract-experimental

Dave Terry's picture

Thanks for the recommendation! I will probably wait a bit and post these there too!

Ric Szczepkowski's picture

Like the last one best, bass players don't move much and the multi neck shot shows great movement, i might try to darken the guitar player to give the bass player more emphasis.

Sonny Sluiter's picture

Wow, these are amazing!!