Sunday, February 20, 2011

The B52s

B52s - Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011
"B52s at Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Mk2
1/60s, f/4.5, ISO 1000, 48mm, Manual

On a night much more pleasant than the Saturday night of a week ago, the wife and I once more headed out to Universal Studios for another dose of Mardi Gras and the B52s.

The B52s is probably the only decent thing that's every come out of Athens, Ga. It's a shame they didn't come out of Macon like the Allman Brothers Band, but I've long since forgiven them their unfortunate place of origin. Although it's hard to believe now, I actually followed the B52s before they showed up on Saturday Night Live in 1980. I was a twenty-something during the latter half of the 1970's/early half of the 1980s, and felt that the B52s were my band. They were a band I discovered on my own, not a band like the Allman brothers that was essentially handed to me by my older friends in high school.

Which was not to say I was particularly enamored with all their work. My wife and girls like to tease me because I can't stand the Doors and the Stones. My music taste runs to the aforementioned Allman Brothers, the Beatles, CSNY, Led Zeppelin, Yes, The Who... When the B52s showed up, they kind of fit into my musical sensibilities, and then at times they didn't. They were a musically 'challenging' band, and I would pick them up, then after a time drop them, then repeat the process. Right now they're back on my 'like' list.

My wife has always liked the B52s, and both of the girls like them as well. Which makes for interesting times when they all get together and gang up on me during our family discussions of rock-and-roll. Oh well...

B52s - Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011
"B52s at Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Mk2
1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 150mm, Manual

Tonights show, like last weekend's show with Frankie Valli, was excellent production-wise and in execution. After experiencing these two consecutive shows at Universal, I have to say kudos to the whole Universal team as well as the acts that play there. There wasn't a bad song in all the music I heard. The B52s kept up a constant well-timed delivery throughout the show.

The crowd was a lot more varied this time, and a lot younger. It was kinda cute to see parents lift their children up on their shoulders to watch the aging rockers up on stage. It was kind of scary to see boyfriends lift their girlfriends up on their shoulders and then watch them slowly swaying to keep from falling down together.

As I wrote earlier, the music was continuous. No sooner would they finish one song, than 30 seconds later they'd launch into the next. The crowd came to listen to B52s music, and the band delivered like a well-oiled, well-tuned machine.

My only complaint was the volume (yes, I have become an Old Fart). I was well back from the stage (I had no choice, really), yet the music was loud enough that for the first time I felt it physically in my chest. I even believe I felt it in the E-P2. I was using the consumer-grade 40-150mm Mk 2 on the E-P2, and I swear I felt the lens barrel vibrate during some of the louder passages. I should have used the E-3 with the 50-200mm, but they seem to get squirrelly out there when you show up using serious gear. Nobody looks at me twice with my little ol' E-P2.

Mardi Gras - Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011
"Mardi Gras at Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Mk2
1/10s, f/4, ISO 1000, 40mm, Manual

This is the second time I've seen the Mardi Gras parade out at Univeral. I tried to capture a little bit of the energy of the parade and the interaction of the crowd with the festivities. I don't know if I succeeded or failed, but I at least like these two. The photo above is of a group passing by on stilts. I just happened to see somebody using their phone to take a photo, and I waited until he was taking his photo before I took mine. I deliberately shot at a slow enough shutter speed to deliberately take advantage of motion blur.

Mardi Gras - Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011
"Mardi Gras at Universal Studios 19 Feb 2011"
Olympus E-P2 with Zuiko Digital 40-150mm Mk2
1/10s, f/4, ISO 1000, 40mm, Manual
This shot was of the police riding by on their motorcycles. Once again, I wanted to show the action and concentrate on how the crowd was reacting to the officers riding by.

Looks like we'll be heading out to Universal Sunday evening for KC and the Sunshine Band. At least that's what the wife wants to do. I'm going out earlier to practice more low-light photography, and to find a better spot to photograph the Mardi Gras.

Lessons Learned

So far, I've learned to really run the camera in manual mode. This means manual aperture and shutter speed, and near-manual focus. When I say near-manual focus, I enable focus long enough to lock it into place, then turn it off and just take photographs. I trust to luck (the luck of finding the right focus point) and then waiting for the right moment to trip the shutter. Practically speaking, the E-P2 is far more responsive in manual mode than any of the automatic modes, and a lot more fun to use when it is in manual mode.

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