One thing you can say about the Japan Nite shows, they have a lot of variety. 2013 was no exception.
You got quirky Japanese Bands like charan-po-rantan. Folk and Jazz bands like Pirates Canoe and Yamazki Chihiro+Rote 14 band. Of course, as I mentioned, you also have my favorite Kao=S which fuses traditional Japanese instruments, Rock and a Samurai Sword. I didn’t bother listening to all the bands. I shot the ones I wanted and socialized during the rest.
I brought three cameras but mostly used two. The Canon 7D with the 50mm is the same as last year but my Olympus gear got upgraded extensively from the E-PL1 with the 20mm f1.7 to the E-PM2 with the 25mm f1.4. They both worked great. I’ve talked about the equipment I used that night on two recent posts, SXSW Japan Nite: Kaori’s etherial petals and Olympus E-PM2 vs. Canon 7D, guess which won?
The only gear related point I wanted to add is about the stage lighting. In brighter and dramatic stage lighting, I would prefer to go totally ambient and not use any flash. Red, purple, blue and other multi-colored LED stage lights gave a sense of moodiness but they are not great for skin tones. And these lights weren’t bright either. Here are a series of 4 photos that show the lighting options.
Option 1: Here is Non from the band Josy again (I had her in a previous posting) with an example of what the Canon 7D with the bounce flash looks like. I used it to overpower the ambient light. It made for much better skin tones but you lost most of the feel of the club.
Option 2: This next photo was taken with the Olympus E-PM2 with a very weak direct flash. It added fill to her but maintained some of the color of the stage lights.
Option 3: This photo is from the Olympus with no flash and it worked pretty good since she was up front and closer to the stage lights. Most other non-flash shots were very dim. In most cases, uninteresting and dull.
Option 4: Finally, another non-flash shot but with a slower shutter that added some nice motion blur. These types of shots are very hit or miss but I like the way this came out.
My most wacky band award goes to charan-po-rantan. Imagine Polka like Japanese accordion music with eclectic and colorful costumes.
Like last year, Japan Nite was held at the Elysium on Red River just north of 6th Street. It is a dark cave like place with lots of black. You get the feel of the place with this photo of Pirates Canoe taken from mid-crowd.
Chihiro was fantastic on trumpet in the jazzy Yamazki Chihiro+Rote 14 band. And finally, more photos of my favorite Kao=S. This year, they add a Shakuhachi (Traditional Japanese Flute) player which adds a nice dimension to their music. Combined with the Shamisen (Traditional Japanese Stringed Instrument) and western guitar, there is a nice East – West mix. Of course, Kaori look great in her Kimono and dramatic performances.
Finally, I didn’t use it much but I had my E-P3 with my 14mm f2.5 and wide-angle adapter. This older camera and slower lens does not quite match the 25mmf1.4 on the E-PM2 but made a couple of decent back and whites, especially paired with a flash.
Click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure detail.