December 2, 2012 was the performance of Indonesia reggae icon Tony Q Rastafara in Malaysia. It was his first time to visit and perform. I was so lucky but thankful that I was chosen to document and shoot everything on the said performance. I was there when he arrived at KLIA from Indonesia. Even the rain poured heavily, it didn’t stop us reaching the airport to meet Tony and his group.
Basing on the conversations with him and the event organizer Mr. Mohd Saiful Zamry (In-charge in the whole planning of the event), I noticed Tony Q always smiles when he talks and is very humble and simple. If you can imagine how famous this guy is in his country, you wouldn’t believe how he is still grounded plus the fact that he has been in the industry since 1980’s.
Everybody was tired when we reached the hotel where Tony and his crew are going to stay. Rested for a while and headed for dinner. After dinner, we proceeded to a local radio station in Kuala Lumpur for the final promotion of the event and and interview with the DJ.
The interview went on as planned and we headed home to rest.
Here is a video of the interview.
The event was held at Ovo Live Bistro, Uptown 2 Damansara and the place is really perfect for band performances and the likes. One my way to the venue, I was even lost. It rained hard and somehow kept me out of track.
This next image below is one of the designs of Tony Q’s T-shirt which were for sale during the event. I must say, the people behind Tony Q must have done very well in creating the very attractive and yet simple shirt designs which I really love. Too bad I was not able to buy. Also available for sale were his old albums, and some stickers. What impressed me was his new album which is not on a cd or any regular media that albums usually are stored, but it is on a reggae themed baller id or bracelet which is also a usb device. So you’ll just plug it to a computer or any usb capable music players and play his album directly, anytime anywhere. Another example of great marketing strategy by thinking out of the box.
The performance started with two pre-show performaces from local reggae bands to keep the energy and the audience alive before Tony starts.
The performance was awesome and the fans got what they want.
With me was my Nikon D5100, 2 extra batteries, 3 memory cards, external flash (Meike), 50mm 1.8G and my kit lens 18-55mm. This was my first event using my external flash and I kinda use it once in a while. I found out that although flash is needed in literally dark conditions like this event, but when you always use flash specifically shooting the performers, you’ll always get a flat light. I still find shooting without flash way better, because it brings out the colors of the stage where it is strategically lit up to certain colors to bring more drama to the subject and the surroundings. I think the most important lesson I learned on this shoot is to use flash when shooting the crowd, but use ambient light and stage lights to shoot the performers. There’s really a big difference on the two pictures above with the crowd, shot with flash and the one below without flash shooting the performers.
But wait, there’s more. Due to unpredictable lights on stage, there are times that colors just won’t work and you don’t have a choice but to convert it to black and white. I found too much red specially on a subject’s face is difficult to decolorize in photoshop or lightroom, turning it to black and white or monochrome is the best option. On this picture, violet at the back of the stage predominatntly existed . I can opt to have this in monochrome but chose colored and sacrificed the background. The decision really depends on your taste as the photographer.
I made sure I got all the angles covered. From wide to close and many times, I went closer then farther. when I got close, I used my 50mm and shoot fast. That’s how i love with shooting this kind of lens because you can shoot faster even in a not higher ISO due to it’s wider aperture. Then I would go back and get the whole crowd with the stage and get the overall reaction of the crowd.
I managed to get record a video of Tony Q and some Malaysian reggae artists who had fun on a finale song. Please make sure you check it out.