Sunday, December 25, 2011

Las Vegas Concert Photography: Top 10 Pics of 2011


As 2011 comes to an end, many people will look back and give pause to all the events that happened to them and around them. Photographers will dig through all the images they've captured and highlight the ones they best feel portray their perspective of 2011.  Be it a portrait, a landscape, something abstract, or even architectural; whatever the photo, it captures a moment of the year that was 2011.  It's the (billions of) photographs taken during the year that will allow us to look back and reminisce in those fond and/or tearful moments.  Hence the beauty of the art of photography.

As for me, I look back on 2011 and the work I've done as a photographer, and think fondly.  This was my first year as working as a professional photographer.  I received my first large scale recognition by having a photo featured on the Popular Photography webpage. I had a photo receive place recognition in my first photo competition.  I also begin working as a contributing concert photographer for Las Vegas Seven Magazine, which allowed me to really begin to peruse a part of photography that I'm extremely passionate about.  I covered some pretty amazing artists, both mainstream and local, and was awarded the opportunity to capture some pretty incredible moments.  It's a rewarding experience to be able to capture a moment and then share it with others through both published and online media outlets.

One of the best parts about this job is that photography has also introduced me to some new friends.  I'm extremely grateful for the opportunity to pursue a passion, making money while doing so, and enjoy the gift of friendship on top of it all.

So this post is supposed to be about my top 10 photos of 2011.  Would that be my top 10 photos, overall?  Perhaps it should be.  But being that I work as a concert photographer, my concert photos are where I feel I've been able to capture and contribute to the memories of 2011.  So below, in no particular order, are my top 10 concert photos of 2011.  I still have one large gig coming up, in which I'll be covering Guns N Roses at The Joint, so there may be one photo swap from these pictures after that show, but for now, these are my top 10.


Poison at the Red Rock Hotel

Motley Crue at the Red Rock Hotel

Rise Against at The Joint 
Grace Potter at Red Rock Hotel
Minus the Bear at The House of Blues

Neon Trees at The Joint

Duran Duran at The Joint

Ted Nugent at Sunset Station

Blink-182 at Red Rock Hotel

The Cab at Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas

I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see these and additional photos from all the shows.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Las Vegas Concert Photography: The Nines

The local music scene!  Every city has one.  It's the reason the various dive bars in any given town exist.  Granted, certain bars do gain a cult like following—probably the result of some delicious libation with a rather foul name, like the pretty darn tasty Ass Juice served up at the Double Down Saloon here in Las Vegas.  Regardless of a dive bar's source of popularity, the local bands and the dive bars maintain an almost symbiotic relationship—each benefitting from the other.

Sometimes a local band is really, really good; conversely, sometimes, not so good.  I've seen bands take the stage and have been blown away—wondering why they're not on the radio yet.  I've seen bands take the stage and have been blown away—wondering who, in their right mind, would book such an awful act.   Most of the time, in a situation where the band sucked, it really wasn't the band as a whole.  It was the lead singer.  They either had no stage presence, or couldn't sing, or they suffered from the unfortunate combination of both.

But this weekend, I got to meet a group of guys who have been playing together for many, many years.  They play funk, jazz, soul, blues, and everything in between.  And they're AWESOME!  On Saturday afternoon, the Double Down Saloon hosted The Nines.  Unfortunately, they don't have much of a web presence, with the exception of their MySpace page, so predicting when and where these guys will pop up next is pretty difficult.  But, I highly recommend checking them out if you can find where they'll be performing next.  Order up a bucket of beers, or the cocktail of your choice, sit back, relax, and enjoy some guys who really know how to jam!

Pics from the show:

The Nines


The Nines



I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see additional photos from the show.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Las Vegas Concert Photography: Rise Against

10 minutes.  That's about, on average, how long I've got as a concert photographer to get my shots.  For some strange reason, concert photographers are normally bound to a three song rule, which means that we're only allowed to shoot the first three songs and then we must leave the photo pit.  So the average length of a song is somewhere in the 150 seconds range, multiplied by 3, equals approximately 10 minutes.

When I recently photographed Rise Against at the The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel, 10 minutes felt like 10 seconds! These guys have so much energy that the first three songs had past in what seemed like the blink of an eye.  And yet I had managed to capture 500 pictures!  I vaguely remember hearing their hit song, "The Good Left Undone," amid all the jumping around on stage, the frenzied fans, and the awesome sounds of Rise Against rocking the joint (no pun intended), but other than that, the whole photo shoot was mostly a blur, with only the images in my camera to clue me in as to what I had just experienced.

This is one show I wish I could have really experienced, as opposed to being consumed by the mania of rapid time compression.

Pics from the show:


Rise Against


Rise Against


Rise Against


Rise Against





I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see additional photos from the show.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Las Vegas Concert Photography: Dwight Yoakam

One of the things I love about concert photography is that regardless of the genre of music, if an artist is good on stage—good vocals, good interaction with the fans, a true musician—they're going to take someone who may not be a fan (not to be taken with a negative connotation) and give them a very enjoyable time.  Such was the case with me last night when I had the opportunity to photograph Dwight Yoakam when he took the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton.

Dwight has been around in the country music scene for a very long time.  The one song of his that I know which, for some strange reason, I've always remembered is off his 1990 album "If There Was a Way" called "Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose."  Why I know that song, I have no clue.  I grew up in a smaller Florida city where country music was pretty popular so maybe it was played at a high school pep-rally or something and just stuck with me since then.

I digress.  So unlike typical rock shows that I've photographed, which rely heavy on the theatrical lighting and huge stage sets, Dwight takes to the stage with his just band and some nice simple spot lights.  The sound guy is not working overtime to apply heavy reverb or other sound altering techniques.  What the fans get is an artist who can sing (country) songs very well, and who's equally talented on the guitar.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, and again, and again.  One of the true tests of a musician is how well they perform live (without crazy vocal enhancements), and how well they engage the audience.  Dwight Yoakam definitely excels.

While I'll never be a huge country music fan, if presented with opportunity to go see another Dwight Yoakam concert, I'd have no problem, throwing down my money for a ticket.  He gives a great show!

Pics from the show:


Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam performs at the Las Vegas Hilton


Dwight Yoakam


Dwight Yoakam


Dwight Yoakam



I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see additional photos from the show.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Concert Photography: Kris Kristofferson

This weekend I had the opportunity to photography Kris Kristofferson. It was a very intimate performance—just him and his guitar playing in a smaller sized, but sold-out, theater.  Kristofferson doesn't play Vegas very often, let alone perform—the last time he played here was in the early 90's—so it's no surprise both of his shows at in the Orleans Casino showroom were sold out.

There really is something to be said for a 75 year old artist who can take the stage solo, and captivate an audience, but that's exactly what Kristofferson did.  The sounds from his guitar are simple and melodious; his lyrics are world famous.  His fans burst in to applause as he sang many of his best known songs.

While I initially thought of him as a country music performer, I was pleasantly surprised that the majority of the songs performed by Kristofferson were of the Folk genre.  It was an amazing experience to be able to photograph Kris Kristofferson and listen to him perform.

Pics from the show:

Kris Kristofferson performs at The Orleans Showroom
Kris Kristofferson performs at The Orleans Showroom



I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see additional photos from the show.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  I hope you're able to relax and enjoy a special day with friends and loved ones!

Tomorrow night I'll be photographing Kris Kristofferson  performing at the Orleans Casino.  I'll have pictures and a mini review posted here sometime this weekend.  Country music isn't my normal genre for concert photography, but I'm game!  There's always something to be said about a guy who can carry a show with just his voice and a guitar...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Las Vegas Concert Photography Part 2: Lt Dan!

As a former Army officer, I have a strong appreciation for Veterans Day.  There are always numerous events to honor our soldiers, but hen an opportunity presents itself that allows me to participate in one of my favorite hobbies—cycling—and honor our soldiers, I'm all over it!

The Ride2Recovery made its way through Las Vegas last week.  On Saturday, Team Mandalay Bay/McGhies (for which I ride) participated in a forty mile ride with wounded veterans and the Ride2Recovery team members.  Many of these riders have lost limbs as a result of injuries obtained while serving in Iran and Afghanistan. Did that stop them from riding?  Nope!  They have specially modified bicycles that allow them to ride, despite their handicap.   Riders in hand-cycles have a "push pole" attached to the rear of the cycle that allows a bicycle rider to dock on and help push the hand-cyclist over hilly roads.

During the ride, I was fortunate enough to help push a hand-cyclist along.  It's a unique experience for a cyclist because we're normally only concerned with getting ourselves up and over a hill.  When pushing a hand-cyclist, the work-load is almost doubled and the effort is intensified as you work to get yourself and the cyclist your pushing along up the hill.  The non-handicapped Ride2Recovery team members have been pushing their hand-cyclist teammates all over the country.  I did it for only twenty of our forty mile ride and could definitely feel the effects of the added intensity!  One can only imagine what it's like to do it for hundreds, or even thousands, of miles.

After the ride everyone was treated to a private lunch at the Mandalay Bay beach and got to watch Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band give a special performance in honor of Veterans Day.

This is one event that I always wish to be a part of,  and I strongly encourage anyone with any interest in cycling to seek out a Ride2Recovery and show your support for these wounded vets by participating.

Unfortunately, since I was busy peddling, I don't have pictures of the ride.  Those can be found at http://ride2recovery.phanfare.com.  I do, however, have pics of Gary Sinise and the Lt Dan Band!

Pics from the show:






Friday, November 11, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Photography Part 1: Are you Tuff-N-Uff?

This weekend I had to opportunity to step out of my comfort zone a bit and do some Mixed Martial Arts photography.  This was my first time shooting this type of sporting event, and needless to say, just as there are rules for concert pit etiquette, there are similar rules that a photographer must comply with when shooting ring side.  Once I was up-to-speed on what to do and not do, I was ready to start capturing the action!

My involvement with this particular event was the result of an invite by the family of Jillian Lybarger.  Jillian was participating in the Tuff-N-Uff Future Stars of MMA Fighting Championship and I was there to hopefully capture her victory.  Jillian is a very talented fighter and easily dominated her opponent.  The match was over almost as quickly as it started!

Photographing sporting events and concerts are extremely challenging.  Both present unique lighting challenges and both are action packed.  MMA fighting, however, doesn't provide the best results by simply firing in burst mode.  You need to be able to observe, and almost anticipate what's about to happen.  Blink and the fight can be over.  It happened to me!  I had to tap on the shoulder of the photographer next to me in order to see what I missed.  I simply lost focus for just a second on the action in the ring and the fight was over.

Will I cover MMA fighting again?  If given the opportunity, definitely!  MMA carries a very similar addicting energy I find with shooting concerts, and once immersed in the environment, I don't want to quit!

Pics from the event below:
(TIP:  Click on any photo below to be taken to the full gallery on my photography website)








Jillian Lybarger dominating her opponent

Monday, November 7, 2011

Halloween—Las Vegas Style!

Las Vegas and Halloween.  Picture the worst and chances are you can find it walking around somewhere on the Strip or down on Freemont Street.  But in addition to all the "Oh know you didn't!" costumes, Las Vegas is a great place to see some truly creative individuals who go all-out on a day that encourages creativity and artistry—bringing to life some eye-popping visuals that probably wouldn't be accepted on any other "normal" day.

But Las Vegas also hosts some great haunted houses!  Fright Dome, at Circus-Circus is easily the largest annual Haunted House in town.  There are also some of the smaller, but equally fun venues, such as Freakling Brothers, Bonnie Screams, and The Asylum and Hotel Fear.  If you missed one this year, have no fear, they're here every year!  New on the list, and unfortunately, short-lived, was the adult-themed haunted house at the Green Door.  If you don't know about the Green Door, Google will help fill you in.  I had the opportunity to do some photography work at the haunted house to help with the advertising. While it's certainly not for everyone, what I saw was definitely unique.  The all volunteer cast were a group of dedicated and creative individuals who were looking to put on a good show and give customers a unique experience no other haunted house could offer.  With any luck and hopefully some better advertising, it'll be back next year so that the more adventurous Halloween goers can experience a haunted house—Green Door style.

Some of the extremely "tame" pictures taken at the haunted house:
(TIP:  Click on any image to be taken to galley containing the full set of images)


Green Door Haunted House
Suicide Shower
Green Door Haunted House

Monday, October 31, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Concert Photography: Minus the Bear

Last night, I had the opportunity to photograph Minus the Bear—a popular indie rock group from Seattle. They've got a large, loyal following--evident by the crowd that packed the House of Blues.

I love bands that give strong live performances, and this band does not disappoint!  Their music has got energy, funk, groove, and soul.  They sound amazing live, and the fact that they chose to play in an venue like the House of Blues really provides the fans a level of intimacy not achievable with the larger venues.  To me, this demonstrates a true appreciation for their fans.   If you've never heard of them before, check out their website or sample some of their music on the web.  You'll probably find yourself enjoying their music.  I know I did!

Pics the show:
(TIP:  Click on any image to visit the full gallery in the Concert section of my photography website)

Minus the Bear
Minus the Bear performs at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on Oct 30, 2011
Minus the Bear
Minus the Bear performs at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on Oct 30, 2011


Minus the Bear
Minus the Bear performs at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on Oct 30, 2011


Minus the Bear
Minus the Bear performs at the House of Blues in Las Vegas on Oct 30, 2011



I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see additional photos from the show.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Las Vegas Review Journal Photo Contest: I won Honorable Mention!

Back in July the LVRJ announced a photo contest.  The rules were pretty simple:  submit an non-photoshop, original picture taken within the confines of downtown Las Vegas.  Both pro and amateur could submit in one of three categories: lifestyle, stars, and downtown icons.

Last week the winners were announced at a very nice event hosted by the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance.  Mayor Caroline Goodman presented the winning photographs and generously handed out $1000 casino chips to the winners.

This year, there were over 300 entries.  While I didn't place, I did receive an Honorable Mention.  My photo was on display during the award ceremony, and is currently being displayed in a variety of locations within the downtown area.

This was my entry:


Lou Ruvo Center for Brian Health
The Lou Ruvo Center for Brian Health in Downtown Las Vegas

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Concert Photography: Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas

This weekend, the annual Mix 94.1 Bite of Las Vegas took place.  In it's 15 year, this event touts itself as the large food and music festival in Las Vegas.  Sure enough, there are food booths galore, guaranteeing that everyone can find something to enjoy.  Food prices range from $2 to $5 depending on the vendor and the dish ordered.  But the idea is to wander from tent to tent and try different things, so that by the end of the day, your wallet is empty and your stomach is full!

And along with the food are the performing artists.  This year had an impressive line-up with OAR closing the show as the headliner.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay until then, but I did get to shoot some great local bands, in addition to Colbie Caillet, Michelle Branch, and The Cab.

Pictures from the show below.  For all the pics, be sure to click through to my website!


Colbie Caillet
Colbie Caillet performs at Mix 94.1 2011 Bite of Las Vegas


Michelle Branch
Michelle Branch performs at Mix 94.1 2011 Bite of Las Vegas



The Cab
The Cab performs at Mix 94.1 2011 Bite of Las Vegas

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Concert Photography: Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, and Matt & Kim

The Honda Civic Tour made its way to Las Vegas on Friday night, where it filled the Red Rock Casino Amphitheater with fans of the Indie band Matt and Kim, and the tour headliners, My Chemical Romance and Blink-182.  The music was loud, the rock was hard, and the fans loved every minute of it!

Pics from the show:


Matt and Kim
Matt and Kim open the show at the Red Rock Casino Amphitheater


My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance rocking out!
Travis Barker of Blink-182
Travis Barker of Blink-182 doing his thing!



I love hearing from my readers.   You can follow me on Twitter or use the "Contact" button to get in touch, so feel free to send me your comments and let me know if you have any suggestions.  Please visit my the concert section of my website to see additional photos from the show.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Photography: Concerts! And Porn Stars? Part 3: Dylan Ryder

Saturday night, I came face-to-face with one the super stars of the adult entertainment industry.  Tall, busty, charismatic, and without a doubt, beautiful, are all words one can use to accurately describe Dylan Ryder, who walked the Red Carpet at the Hustler Club.  Dressed in her skin tight Kat-suit, Dylan made her grand entrance in “The Vault”, an unbelievable stretch, armored vehicle.  After the Red Carpet, the party kicked off on the roof of the Hustler Club, with live music, food and beverages.


Dylan Ryder
Dylan Ryder on the Red Carpet at the Hustler Club


Dylan Ryder
Dylan Ryder and the Retro Bakery Katwoman cupcakes

Las Vegas Weekend Photography: Concerts! And Porn Stars? Part 2: Duran Duran

Duran Duran head-lined a concert at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel on Friday Night.  The GA, standing-room only section was packed with fans.  Their show consisted of some new songs, but fans rejoiced and danced throughout as Duran Duran belted out their most well-known hits.  For a band that's been around over 30 years, they sounded great and can still put on an amazing show!


Duran Duran
Duran Duran perform at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel

Duran Duran
Duran Duran perform at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel

Las Vegas Weekend Photography: Concerts! And Porn Stars? Part 1: Neon Trees

This weekend was a photographic all-you-can eat buffet of amazing musicians who definitely love the camera, with a little bit of porn starlet thrown in for dessert.

Friday night, I was at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel to photograph Neon Trees and Duran Duran.  Neon Trees are probably best known for their hit songs "Animal" and "Your Surrender".  They were here a few months ago for a pool-side performance at the Red Rock Casino.  Now they're opening for Duran Duran.

Frontman, Tyler Glenn, epitomizes the term "energetic" and puts on one amazing performance!  Simply put, Neon Trees rocks!  They sound great live and they're fun!  Isn't that what a concert is all about?

Pics from the show:


Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees
Tyler Glenn belts out some lyrics

Neon Trees at Hard Rock Hotel
Neon Trees performing at the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel


TIP: I'm available for hire.  Click the email icon at the bottom of this page to contact me regarding inquiries for covering concerts, live events, commercial, and portrait work.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: ExpoImaging's Rogue FlashBender

When it comes to a shoe mount flash, light modifiers seem to be a dime a dozen. I played around with a few before finally deciding that the ExpoImaging's Rogue FlashBender would keep a permanent spot fixed atop my SB800.


There's much to like about the Rogue FlashBender. First off is it's size. It packs perfectly flat so it fits nicely right on top of your gear packed in your camera bag.

Second is it's construction. The back side is made of heavy-duty durable nylon. The white reflective surface is also a very high quality durable material. According to expoimaging, the reflective surface has been tested for neutrality so it doesn't affect color temperature. It attaches to your shoe mount flash via a strong elastic and velcro combination.

Third is how it allows you to twist, bend, and roll it to provide numerous options for light modification.  The FlashBender's ability to contort itself is enabled by rigid, but flexible internal skeleton.  Need some basic diffusion?  No problem!  Just leave it straight up and flat and it nicely throws out a soft, wide, light.  Need a harder light?  Again, no problem!  Just roll it up and form a snoot.  There's a strip of velcro along the side edges for this precise purpose.  And it works!

The numerous ways the FlashBender can be manipulated provide a photographer with many options when it comes to diffusing the light from a shoe mount flash.  I've used mine on Red Carpets, during small venue concerts, and while shooting candids at a large event.  It allows me to place the light where I need it, unlike some other modifiers that throw out omni-directional light, and thereby effectively lowering  flash output.

FlashBenders come in a few different sizes, so think about how you'll be using it before making a decision.  If you're unable to decide on just one, no worries!  ExpoImaging sells a three piece kit, containing the three different options of FlashBenders.  I, personally, went with the small reflector and it suits my needs perfectly. For $34.95, it's one of the best light modifiers you can own for your shoe mount flash!




Monday, September 26, 2011

Las Vegas Weekend Photography: Concerts & Celebrities! Part 4

Sunday night, I was fortunate enough to check out the Las Vegas Tenors performance at the South Point Casino.  These three guys have vocal talents that will blow you away!  Their next performance is scheduled for New Years Eve, also at the South Point.  If you're looking for a great way to ring in the new year, an evening listening to these amazing voices should be at the top of your list!


The Las Vegas Tenors perform at the South Point Casino
The Las Vegas Tenors


The Las Vegas Tenors perform at the South Point Casino
The Las Vegas Tenors