My 17 Favorite Photos of 2017

It is really hard to narrow down all of the thousands of photos that I made in 2017 to just 17. The number is arbitrary because of the year. The good news is that with each year that passes I get to add another photo to my year end countdowns. This list is not a list of my best technical achievements. I would rather pick seventeen moments that I really liked from the year. Even doing that it is a hard list to put together.

17. Oh boy he is going to talk about his kids again! Of course this countdown starts with my little one. She is probably the person that is most photographed in my life. Here she has a great time trick or treating in downtown Lafayette. I love the smile and the sense of place of this photo. It is probably my favorite photo of her from last year.

16. On August 21st everyone turned their eyes to the sky. The sun would be eclipsed by the moon. With the sky looking cloudy in our area I made the quick decision to head north to where I saw clear skies. We found a country road that we could park on, and we watched the eclipse. Here my step daughter enjoys the moment. I could have set up gear and shot the actual eclipse, but this seemed more important to me at the time.

15. On our way home from Ocean City, Maryland this year my wife budgeted some time into our schedule to spend in Philadelphia near the Liberty Bell. If you know me then you know that I love American History. This is basically where American history started if you think about it. That is what I love about my wife. She knew I would love this, and she made sure that it happened.

14. The night before our Ocean City, Maryland trip I headed in the other direction to see Metallica play at Soldier Field. I love Metallica, and I had not seen them play live in quite some time. This was a great night listening to my favorite band. This photo also shows just how fluid these top 17 lists have been. This photo wasn’t even included in the Top 17 concert photos post, but it appears here. As I was making this post I realized how much I loved the colors. When viewed larger I think that it looks much better than it did in the thumbnail that I used to choose the concert posts.

13. This photo was made on the way to Indiana State. Here I saw a familiar barn that would allow me to create a starburst through. It was a no-brainer to pull off of the road to make this photo. When you can make colorful photos in the winter you do it.

12. Here is another photo made on the way to Indiana State. This was an early morning drive to cover one of the first football practices of the year. I left a little early on purpose so that I could make a sunrise photo somewhere along the way. I looked fruitlessly for a while. The mist in the air would have made for a good photo, but I couldn’t find anything interesting to put around it. Here I found a scene that looked okay, and then the deer showed up. It ran through the frame and made the photo. This is another photo that looks best larger. Click on the image to see it that way.  Continue reading “Top 17 Photos of 2017”


Hanging Out At The Rathskeller

This past year after seeing Ben Folds play across the street my wife and I went for a drink across the street at the Rathskeller. I had never been, but it was a favorite place of hers from her days in school down in Indy. At this point of the year you should not have been sitting outside, but of course the weather is so unpredictable that it was actually a nice night. We took our drinks outside to enjoy the nice night. At one point it was only a couple of other groups out there, and then soon it just became the two of us. I loved the way that this bandshell looked, and I knew that I wanted a picture of it. Right before we left I made the picture that you see above.

The Best Camera You Have…

I have said many times on this blog that the best camera that you have is the one that you have with you. Here I had my Canon G16 point and shoot because that is all that I could take into the concert. I would have liked a larger file and more dynamic range, but that is what I had that night. I still like the photo as it helps me remember a fun night out on the town in Indy.


My 17 Favorite Concert Photos of 2017

2017 was a fun concert year for me. For the second year in a row we went to Dead and Company, Jimmy Buffett, and Austin City Limits. All three are fun in their own way. The highlight of the year for me though was watching Metallica live again. It was a great Father’s Day present since I had not seen them live since 2009. Another highlight was seeing Ben Folds in concert. He puts on a great show that the audience gets into as well. Here are seventeen of my favorite concert photos from the past year.

17. Few concert venues can say they have the view that you get looking back at the main stage at Austin City Limits. Here I walked over to get this view of the ever changing Austin skyline as the sun was going down behind me. I love this view, and I try and do something with it every year.

16. This year we saw Jimmy Buffett for the fourth straight year in a different state. It is not something that we planned, but the way it worked with our schedule. We have seen Jimmy in Indy, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Cincinnati the last four years. The show this year in Cincy was Jimmy’s 50th in that venue. That is amazing to me that you could play fifty shows in one venue. That is a testament to his staying power. You figure though that after all of these years that venue in Cincinnati would have parking figured out.

15. This year while covering volleyball at Indiana University I had a large amount of time off in between games. I went just south of Bloomington to Story, Indiana to meet my brother who was working the Hoosier Hops & Harvest there. It was fun making some photos there, and this simple concert shot of the Indiana Boys playing was part of a fun break in the action for me.

14. While walking through the crowd one day at ACL Fest I saw this great scene with the sun going down among the flags in the middle of the concert grounds. I didn’t have my camera with me so I pulled out my phone to make this picture. If I remember right I had a sleeping child in my arms which really ups the level of difficulty here.

13. Another shot of the sun and the flags in the middle of the ACL Fest grounds. I love the way that the flags allow for some fun when the bands aren’t the ones you were looking for at that time. I love the ACL Festival. It is a great time that is very well run.

12. This fall Alton Brown put on a great show at the Elliott Hall of Music. As the show was winding down the kids had to use the bathrooms on our way out. I took the chance to make this photo of the spotlight on Alton as he sang his encore. Elliott really is a special place to watch live entertainment.

11. On our way into the Dead and Company show I heard a commotion on the new lawn at Wrigley Field. I looked over, and Bill Walton was playing with the cover band. As I pulled my camera out to make a picture Bill acknowledged the crowd. This was a cool moment that I lucked into.  Continue reading “Top 17 Concert Photos of 2017”

Ben Folds Visits Indianapolis

Saturday we were in Indianapolis to see Ben Folds play live. Ben’s music will sometimes accompany my edits as they are great songs to sit back and chill out to. When I saw he was coming to Indianapolis I was excited. When my football game that I was supposed to cover was no longer a paying gig I decided to treat myself and my wife to the show. It was a fun night out on the town, and a great way to blow off some steam. The Ben Folds crowd is a musical one for sure. At one point I thought he paid a choir to help him sing. I realized that it was just the crowd behind me signing. Well done everyone! I obtained from singing as to allow everyone to enjoy the show.

Checking Out The Soundcheck

Part of the ticket plan was a chance to watch the soundcheck live. This was a cool experience, and a chance to see Ben in a more intimate setting. It was just a few people watching, and we were able to get up close to see him in action. Some of the stories that he told made that short experience a fun one worth seeing just by itself.

Paper Airplanes Spell Out Our Night

The second half of the show was a fun exercise as the songs were chosen by Ben when he picked up paper airplanes that the audience threw up onto the stage. It was fun to see how he reacted to a song, and how quickly the audience recognized it. This was a great idea to take a huge catalog and allow the fans to pick your set for you.

Taking In Some Art

Part of refreshing the batteries for me includes getting inspired. I always try and visit new art museums to expose myself to as much art as I can. Music is another great way to express yourself. Seeing a great artist like Ben is inspiring itself, and it makes me want to keep going. His music is one that I play while editing so it was nice to just sit back and watch him for a while.

Falling For Tall Heights

The opening act of the night was a band named Tall Heights. Listening to them I had the thought that they won’t be opening for others for very long. They were fantastic. I will be watching them to see where they end up next. It seems like it would be hard to keep this kind of a talent down for long.

Bringing the Canon G16 Out Of Retirement

I did not make many photos during the show. I didn’t even try during the opening act. I just wanted to sit back and enjoy it. When the light was right though I did make some photos of Ben Folds doing his thing. I brought my trusty Canon G16 to the show knowing that I would be able to get it into the theatre, and that it would do alright in the low light. I still found myself wanting better gear, but if I had that I would have just shot the show instead of enjoying it.

The Week In Photos

This concert and the trip to Indy is a part of this weeks collection of my favorite photos. I have done this for almost 100 weeks now, and it is still fun to put together. You can see some of my favorite photos from last week here.

Jimmy Buffett Plays His 50th Show at the Riverbend Music Center

When we were getting ready to head to Cincinnati to see Jimmy Buffett play I did some reading up on the concert. I was trying to see who the opening act was. He has had some interesting ones in past shows so I was wondering who I would see here. I couldn’t find anything so I kept digging. That digging helped me come to some cool information. The show we were going to see was the 50th that Jimmy would play at the Riverbend Music Center. That is quite an impressive feat to play 50 shows in one venue. With the age of the disposable venue and the move to playing in ballparks who knows if this will be done again. It was cool to see that we were going to the home of the Parrothead reference and to the site of many good shows.

Seeing Jimmy Buffett Play Live Again

Until 2012 I had never seen Jimmy Buffett play live. My wife went with some friends on a yearly trip to see him, and in that year I tagged along. I did it mainly to just see what it was all about. I figured there would be some good photos in it for me as well. Fast forward to 2017 and I am seeing my sixth show in a row. The last four years we have seen four shows in four states. I don’t know that it was planned, but it was just how all of our schedules worked out. Next year I am pushing to see him play in Hawaii. No matter where we see him play next year I am sure that it will be a good show. One great thing about how the schedule worked out is that I was able to hear ‘A Pirate At Forty’ twice while I was forty. One of my favorite Buffett songs that I always thought would be cool to hear when I am forty. At the time though that seemed like it was so far away. Next summer I will have to change the words to forty-one I guess.


What a Difference RAW Can Make

The photo above was one of my favorites from the show at first glance. It was put into a folder to edit when I had time. When I started editing the photo something was off. I then realized that for some reason my camera only saved jpegs for a short span of the concert. It is not a one button push to switch modes so I am curious as to what happened. Without all of that RAW data this photo was not quite what I thought it should be. The G16 is a good camera, and it can make photos that are good enough for me at these concerts. When I am not in RAW mode though I don’t know that I can trust it. This looks a bit like an old cell phone picture. Something had to be off during this song. I only pulled the camera out a few times, and who knows what happened this time. Continue reading “Jimmy Buffett Plays His 50th Show at the Riverbend Music Center”

Dead and Company Invade Wrigley Field

Saturday we drove up to Chicago to see Dead and Company at Wrigley Field. We ate near the stadium and of course the place was packed with Dead fans waiting to go into the show. The scene around Wrigley though was one that only could be around a show associated with the Dead. It was something to see. The entire weekend everywhere we went we saw fans of the Dead. They really did invade the city of Chicago for the weekend.

Bill Walton Gets Into the Act

As we were walking towards the entrance to the stadium I thought I spied a familiar face on the warm up stage playing a tambourine. When the crowd cleared out a little I realized that it was indeed Bill Walton having some fun. I made a photo that was alright, but I hoped turning the corner a bit would give me a better view of the situation. I was right about that, and as luck would have it Bill decided to raise his hands along with most of the crowd. It was my favorite pre concert photo, and it was just being lucky to walk by at that exact moment.

My Tools to Photograph a Concert

Concert can be a rough thing for me. I am not the biggest dead fan so when I don’t know the song I start to look at the light. Concert light can be some of the coolest light to photograph, and of course I can’t bring a good camera in. I have kind of settled on a plan of attack for making photos at a concert. When the light is good I just use my phone. For what I am doing the iPhone 7 Plus is good enough. For the first photo on this post of the hat I used portrait mode on the phone. It did a great job for me in the native camera app. The Walton photo I made with an app called ProCam. I don’t remember where I heard of this, but it is a great way to shoot in RAW and get some of the manual settings that I am used to using. When the light goes away I have my trusty Canon Powershot G16 in my pocket. This little camera packs a big punch. It only shoots in 12mp form, but it allows me to shoot in RAW which I like. Again for what I am using the photos for this is plenty. Someday I would like to shoot a big show like this with my good stuff. Until then I have a pretty good setup going for me. Continue reading “Dead and Company Play Wrigley Field”

Finally Getting to See Metallica Again

The last time that I saw Metallica live was in 2009 while they were out promoting their new album at that time. It was a great show, and at that time it had been five years since I saw them live. I said that I wouldn’t let that happen again at the time. Of course now we all know how that ended. After seeing them rock again I will once again say that it will not be a long span before I see them play live again.

Music to Drive By

If you read this blog then you know that I like to edit my photos to softer, gentler music. On the way to photograph sporting events though I like something heavier. In fact if you look at my top 25 songs on iTunes most of them are Metallica. The top ten is all Metallica except for one song by Avenged Sevenfold who opened for Metallica Sunday night. It was a great night and a great rock show for sure. I can’t wait to do it all again.

Some Beautiful Light

As Metallica took the stage the light was nearly perfect. It was blue hour meaning all of the ambient light was even at the time. It was perfect conditions to photograph in. As the orange light came over the crowd I knew that it was my time to make pictures. I did not make many pictures during most of the show. When the light was great though I had to make a few. I need something cool to hang on the wall after all. Continue reading “Metallica at Soldier Field”

My Favorite Sixteen Concert Photos of 2016

This year was a great year seeing live music for me. We didn’t get out to as many concerts as we probably would have liked, but with our schedules and the kids we really saw more than I would expect. Highlights of the year included the Eaux Claries and the Austin City Limits Festival. The only concert that I was in the pit for in this countdown as the Lettuce show at the Lafayette Theater. Everything else is just a matter of me documenting the fun from my seat. With no real ins for the concert business that is where I sit. The light is so good though that I really can’t help myself during the show.

16. One fun thing that I found this year was the concerts at the Mallow Run Winery. They put on a good show, and of course you have the wine as well. This is a fun time that allows me to spend a little time with my brother as well which is always a good thing.

15. I had so much fun at the Austin City Limits Festival this year that on the final day I was already started to miss the festival. As the sun set on the final day I turned my phone into the sun to document it. I was using the new iPhone 7 Plus and testing out some of the features during the weekend. It really did a great job for a phone, and gave me some lasting images from the weekend.

14. This past summer I wanted to photograph the band Lettuce when they came to Lafayette because they looked like a very interesting band. Of course during the three songs the band was never front lit, and the singer never came out front. With that in mind I moved to the back of the room to make the image above. I liked the way the light was moving around the room, and it was my favorite image from the night.  Continue reading “Top 16 Concert Photos of 2016”

Seeing Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats Live

One of the highlights of the Eaux Claires was seeing Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats live. This was the last show on the main stages of the event, and I was not sure what I was in for. What I found was that they were a great live band that really engaged the crowd. The songs were easy to catch on to, and fun to sing along with. I ended up really enjoying them. It will be fun to see them at the Austin City Limits Festival now that I know a few more of their songs. They are hard to put into one category. I have described them to people as the Blues Brothers mixed with Larry the Cable Guy as the lead singer. That may not sound like the best combination, but it works.

Music Festivals and Their Camera Policy

One thing that drives me crazy is the policy of no dSLR cameras allowed into a music festival. This issue affects so few people, but really bothers me. Maybe that is because of the way that they all word it. A dSLR is a “professional camera” in their eyes. A small mirrorless camera is not though. I guess it is time for me to find a mirrorless system for concerts to use as in many cases they are just as good or better as some of the dSLR’s out there. I know there are times when I need to just sit back and enjoy moments, but when the light is good at a concert I want one of my Canons in my hand.