Music Monday: The Young Dubliners on Alaska Live

Alaska, Black & White, Music, Photography, Portraits

In an effort to increase the regularity of posting I will be creating a few themes for Far North Light. Today is the inaugural day of Music Monday, where I feature photos of the various venues and concerts I’m involved with around Fairbanks.

Capturing the essence of music in a photograph is no easy task. Obviously the biggest hurdle is lack of auditory signals. What is possible is trying to capture the symbiotic relationship band members share with one another, as well as audience members. Much like a sound wave reflecting off ceilings and walls, energy fills the studio or dance floor, it’s that energy that is possible to photograph.

Often to capture the intensity a plethora of obstacles must be navigated. Studio settings don’t offer audience members, or the added energy they bring, to incorporate into the photo. Bright spotlights accompanied with dark surroundings can easily lead to blown out highlights or indiscernible shadows. My technique is expose so no highlights have lost information, then bring back detail in the shadows. Rarely is ISO set below 1600. Another common impediment is a cramped enviornment: instruments, bodies and microphones can easily decapitate an important figure in the background. Thanks to the near unlimited picture taking ability of digital, shoot enough and there’s bound to be good frames.

As I mentioned in a previous post I’m doing a professional media internship for KUAC, Public Radio of Alaska. I assist Lori Neufeld in the production room for her show, Alaska Live, a live-music radio program feature Alaskan and visiting artists. The most recent band to play in the studio was The Young Dubliners. This Celtic-Rock band played a mellow version of their stage show. Check out the podcast here. 


The Young Dubliners perform on Alaska Live in KUAC’s studio at University Alaska Fairbanks.


Tractor and barn illuminated by norther lights

Alaska, Landscapes, Photography

For one reason or another, the northern lights are something I don’t photograph enough. Being a heavy film shooter until recent probably played a factor, digital cameras are more cooperative in cold weather. Cold, lack of tripod, poor location  and early-morning hours have all played a role in deciding as well.

As the wind whistled and the lights danced overhead a few weeks ago, I said, “no excuses.” Less then a mile to get to my house I had a revelation: the hay field about half-a-mile up the road. Seems silly I had never though of it before.  Not wanting to miss a second, I decided to forgo finding my tripod and zipped to the field. I used the two-second self timer and the roof of my car. Directly off Farmers Loop Rd. subsequent cars driving by helped illuminate the farm equipment and barn. Foreground helps any picture, especially northern lights.

The image is actually two pictures placed next to each other. Photomerge, which creates panoramas, wouldn’t blend the images. The color is off and the horizon isn’t perfect, but I like it.

Worth noting, the Big Dipper is noticeable,  just up and to the left of the barn.

Northern lights dance above a hay field off Farmers Loop Rd., Fairbanks Alaska.