Weekend in the life

This weekend started for Anne and me on Thursday at Byrne’s Pub with the Adam Ezra Group and Enter the Haggis. We’d first seen Enter the Haggis at the Dublin Irish Festival. This was a night out for the two of us, so I didn’t take any cameras except the one on my phone.

We’d never heard of the Adam Ezra Group and I was really impressed by their sound check. For some reason I felt a bit emboldened and introduced myself to a couple of the guys after the sound check. I didn’t approach in a marketing frame of mind–instead I approached them because a) I really did like their sound, and b) I felt a moment of compassion for guys traveling to a small bar in a mid-west town playing to an audience that had never hear of them before. They turned out to be very personable and seemed to appreciate that I had introduced myself. Their full set did not disappoint–it was great singer-songwriter material, and I really liked the passion that Adam and Turtle brought to the performance. Unfortunately, I’m no music critic, so you’ll just have to go listen to stuff from their website to get a better handle on their music. Of course they had CDs for sale, but they didn’t have a set price on them. Their philosophy, much like my brother-in-law’s, is that they want people to have their music. So they had a box labeled “I Love You” where people could throw so money in exchange for CDs. The amount of money was up to the listener. I grabbed a full-length CD, View from the Root, and a short three-song eponymous CD in exchange for $20.

Enter the Haggis played next, and their performance did not disappoint. The crowd wasn’t as big as I had anticipated, but maybe the $10 cover on a Thursday night scared off some of the crowd. During their set break, I was surprised to find the “headliners” in the back of the bar, near the restrooms, hanging out among themselves rather than mingling with the crowd. So I went back, introduced myself, and gave them a bit of a ribbing. They told me that they were expecting the true fans to follow them back, and that, Congratulations, I was their first true fan of the night. Anne joined me in chatting with the band, so we had someone snap this crappy cell phone pic.

During the day, Anne and I did some grocery shopping, but after dinner went our separate ways. Anne went to book club, and I went to see Racecar for my second time. I shot a previous performance, and I did a set of promo photos. Though they didn’t specifically ask me to shoot this performance, I decided I wanted to give it a shot. Plus Andy, the lead singer, is so passionate about his performance, it is hard to not shoot it.
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Of course his passion was through the roof, but getting decent shots in the “venue” was a serious pain in the butt. Similar to many bars in the city, the lighting is crappy, and very dim, at best. This shot was at 6400 ISO, f/3.5, and 1/25s. The performers were top lit by christmas lights, and back lit by the rope lights. The camera couldn’t focus on their faces, and I could barely see well enough to take a stab at manual focus. After the performance I finally learned why I couldn’t get the camera or flash to use the AF Assist lamp, but that is the topic of another post. So I ended up with a majority of my images out of focus. Including this one.
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But I kept this one because a) it shows the background of band stickers, and b) there’s some tension in having Andy’s menacing face out of focus. I like the result.

I’m having a hard time thinking of why I like some of these images, so I’ll just post here a few more of my favorites from the set.
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The last photo is something I’ve come to really enjoy about the small band music scene–a lot of it is very intimate. The fans are right in the faces of the performers, and the performers will get spit on the fans if they aren’t careful. And it means you can actually talk to folks between sets.

Saturday was spent with friends playing Dungeons and Dragons and watching football. How’s that for blasting your stereotypes of D&D nerds? Married couples who can role play, drink some beer, eat some chili, and cheer-on the Buckeyes to victory.

Sunday we went to my grandparents’ church where my grandmother was honored for her 90th birthday. It was a pleasant service for a vibrant and growing congregation. Afterward we took a picture of the gathered family.

The designated photographer (someone from the church) first took a picture with her camera, then picked up mine. I had set it to full auto and only had to instruct her to look through the viewfinder. She pressed the shutter and was clearly used to a point-and-wait sort of delay because my camera fired off two shots before she let go. She wanted to do it again so as to be assured of getting a decent shot, and again made two shots.

The real reason I took the camera was to attempt to capture “candid” conversations between my grandmother and her well-wishers. Unfortunately we spent a fair bit of time waiting in the sanctuary to get our picture taken, and I think, as a result, many of her friends had already left. Fortunately I was able to get this shot of her with the pastor.

We enjoyed lunch together afterward and enjoyed catching up a little bit. Fortunately we’ll be spending a fair bit of time together over the holiday as well. I’m so lucky to have two living grandparents (90 and 89) and I’m really glad their great-grand-kids have had a chance to spend some time with them.

For dinner Sunday evening, we had some friends (and our son’s godparents) over to our house. There was lots of animated conversation about all kinds of things, all the while Reggie and I were getting a bit restless and fidgety. So I got some little toys and someone (Anne or Emily) brought out the magnetic color cubes. Reggie went right to work.

Almost as fun was watching Emily taking pictures of some of the toys we’d been playing with, exploring the wonders of macro photography.

Here’s the first one she took of the toy on the corner of the table.

It was another great weekend-in-the-life, filled with the stuff we enjoy: music, photography, books (for Anne), family, games, friends, and food. I know its a few days early, but I’m thankful to be part of it all.