KISS Alive 35

There is no band I know of more iconic in terms of sound AND appearance than KISS. Love ’em or hate ’em, you know ’em when you see ’em and you won’t confuse KISS with any other band in existence. In the mid 70’s I went to every single show they toured, starting in 1975 and ending in the 1983 when they showed up with Wendy O Williams and the Plasmatics as an opener.

When I heard they were coming to Houston for their 35th anniversary show I really, REALLY wanted to photograph the event. It took some wrangling, but I eventually scored press credentials to provide photos for Craig Hlavaty’s review in The Houston Press.

I’ve shot a lot of small and mid-sized concerts, but this was my first big rock show. I was really appreciative of Technology Bytes co-host Groovehouse’s presence at the show. He had an extra photo release form which I needed to fill out plus an extra set of ear plugs which really made the difference.

The opening act was a band called Buckcherry and we got to shoot their first three songs. I wasn’t all that interested in their performance, but it was an opportunity to get a feel for the layout and I treated it as a warm up. We were only allowed to shoot the first three songs by KISS and I was sweating it a little. The typical scenario is three songs and even it’s not a lot of time to settle in and get your shots.

For this show I carried both my new Sony A850 and my Sony A700. The former mounted with my Zeiss 24-70 and the latter with my Tamron 70-200. Both lenses served their purpose and I was glad to have them. Overall, though, the A850 with the Zeiss wide angle was the most useful rig for this show.

I gotta hand it to KISS, they really put on a show. For the first two songs they played it up for the photographers and gave us plenty of opportunities to get some fantastic photos. I’ve never had a band do that before and it was a real treat. Be sure and read Craig’s review of the whole show at The Houston Press for the set-list and other observations.

Here are a few of my favorites from the evening. Click any image to see a larger version.

KISS
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KISS

KISS

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KISS

KISS

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KISS

KISS

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KISS

KISS

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KISS

KISS

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KISS

Additional photos in my Flickr gallery.

Zappa Plays Zappa – 2009

Zappa Plays Zappa, a concert where Dweezil Zappa plays the songs of his father. This show gets better and better each year.

Dweezil Zappa

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Dweezil Zappa

Dweezil Zappa

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Dweezil Zappa

Dweezil Zappa

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Dweezil Zappa

Dweezil Zappa

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Dweezil Zappa

Dweezil Zappa

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Dweezil Zappa

Additional photos are here in my gallery

Fab 40

The Fab 40 pay tribute to the original Fab 4 with a free, live performance of “Abbey Road” on Saturday, September 12 at Discovery Green.

40+ (probably closer to 50) local musicians – handpicked by Beatles enthusiasts David Blassingame and Steve Candelari – performed the Beatles’ album “Abbey Road” from beginning to end.

It was an ambitious project. Nearly felled by illness, loss of critical instruments and the weather, it went very well despite all this.

Fab 40

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Fab 40

Fab 40

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Fab 40

Fab 40

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Fab 40

Fab 40

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Fab 40

Fab 40

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Fab 40

You can see a slideshow of all the photos I took that night by clicking here.

Roy Head

Roy Head is one of my all time favorite performers. He’s a local legend due to his 1965 hit single “Treat Her Right”

Check out the moves on the young Roy Head in this video from 1965

He’s about to turn 70 next month but you’d never know it from the energy level of his live performances.

All shots below with the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 on the Sony Alpha 700

Roy Head

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Roy Head

Roy Head

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Roy Head

Roy Head

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Roy Head

Soul Fest – 2009 – The El Orbits

The current line up of The El Orbits is Thomas Escalante on vocals, Jim Henkel on guitar, Allen Hill on the bass and Eric C. Hughes on the drums. On Saturday night they opened for Roy Head, Barbara Lynn and Archie Bell. They also served quadruple duty as the backing band for each of the acts throughout the entire evening.

For this show I used three different Sigma lenses on the Sony Alpha 700, each of which is represented below.

Sigma 20mm f/1.8 – Click for larger image
The El Orbits

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The El Orbits

Sigma 30mm f/1.4 – Click for larger image
The El Orbits

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The El Orbits

Sigma 10mm f/2.8 Fisheye – Click for larger image
The El Orbits

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The El Orbits

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

This weekend has been a lot of fun photographing the hummers. At one point we had as many as 4 battling for supremacy in skies over the feeders. The most interesting has been what I assume is a male Ruby Throated Hummingbird who comes in much less frequently than the others.

These birds are fiercely territorial. The hummer in my initial batch of photos has laid claim to the feeders. He will sit atop the crook that holds the feeders or in the nearby Meyer’s Lemon Tree and chases off any interlopers that venture into his domain. Sadly, the Ruby Throated gets chased off every time he shows up so we don’t see him often, and when we do see him he only stays for a few moments.

Still, I have managed to capture a few good shots as evidenced in the previous post and here are two more.

In this picture will notice how he strains his neck as he scans for the dominant hummer

Ruby Throated

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Ruby Throated

And In this picture you can see he doesn’t even land on the perch, choosing instead to hover for a better chance at a quick getaway should the Bully of Hummertown return.

Ruby Throated

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Ruby Throated

Be sure and click the above images to see a larger, more detailed photo.

I can’t say enough good things about the Sony SAL-70300G lens I have been using. Sharp as a tack and the IQ is phenomenal when using it to focus and track such small and fast moving targets.

The Honeypot

Hummingbird Honeypot

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Hummingbird Honeypot

Once the feeders have been up for awhile you get a sense of which of the perches they’ll tend to favorite. This allows me to setup the camera on a tripod, take aim and wait with the wired remote in hand.

This was shot with the flash and using the 70-300G lens

Hummingbird w/flash

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Hummingbird w/flash

This was shot with no flash using the 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens

Hummingbird w/macro

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Hummingbird w/macro

And this was with the 500mm Reflex and no flash.

Hummingbird w/Reflex

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Hummingbird w/Reflex

Squabble Of Wrens

Cynthia and I were in the TV room when we heard a commotion outside the front window. We looked out and spotted an adult Carolina Wren herding 3-4 fledglings through the front garden. After a bit they moved past the window and out of sight. I grabbed my camera and threw on the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

When I opened the front door I was surprised to see the mamma wren on the Bottlebrush tree right next to the porch.

Mamma Wren

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Mamma Wren

Right after I snapped her picture she chittered loudly and flew off only to be replaced by one of the fledglings

Baby Wren

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Baby Wren

Who soon departed only to be replaced by another

Baby Wren

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Baby Wren

And this went on as the family continued moving from one side of the front garden to the other. It was a sight to see and noisy! The adult Wrens were fussing at the babies and at us as we watched and the babies were making the usual “feed me” noises…