My goal for the last few years has been to build a portfolio which would impress an artist enough to give me permission to shoot their show. The ultimate goal is to shoot bigger artists like Green Day, Blink-182, Miranda Lambert, etc. but I realize you have to start small and work your way up.
One of the smaller local venues in Pensacola is the Vinyl Music Hall which has a capacity of around 800 people. Looking at their upcoming schedule of events, I noticed that the Bad Girls of Burlesque from New Orleans was performing a show, and not only a show but a Halloween show. So I sent an e-mail to the producer of the show, Rick Delaup, asking for permission to photograph the show. Amazingly, he responded to me within 24 hours giving me permission to shoot.
I arrived at the show an hour early and waited for the ticket booth to open. Once it did, I told the employee I was there to shoot the show and that I was on the list. Unfortunately, they had not been provided with the list yet by the act. So I continued to wait, watching the doors open and then the patrons entering the building. I was starting to get nervous when finally I was told I could enter the building.
The inside of the building was quite small. The stage was toward the back with a single row of tables, followed several rows of chairs. I noticed that there was an upper level which consisted of an aisle along one wall and a small seating area along the back wall. The stairs to the upper level were blocked by a barricade.
I noticed there was a security person positioned toward the back of the stage so I approached him and asked if it would be possible for me to take photos from the upper level. He went to consult with management and a few minutes later another individual came out and told me it was OK to go upstairs as needed.
I found an open spot right behind the front row of tables, to the right of the stage and stayed there until the show started. The lighting was pretty decent but like most shows consisted of several different coloured lights, red, green, white, etc. along with the accompanying haze. At first I thought the haze was going to be an issue but due to the theme of the show, the haze was actually beneficial as will be seen in my photos.
The show consisted of five acts, Chère Noble, Angie Z, Cherry Bombshell, Xena Zeit-Geist and Juno. Each act dressed in Halloween inspired attire. The show was emceed by VooDoo von BoomBoom. Each act performed once, followed by an intermission, after which each act performed again. Helyn Holiday, dressed as a leopard, was the stage assistant collecting the tip money. She didn't perform but I'm sure she would have been amazing if she had.
I shot the first half of the show on the floor and then moved upstairs for the second half of the show. After the show was over I took a group shot of all the artists. All photos were shot using a 70-200mm f2.8 lens except for the group shot for which I used a 24-70mm f2.8.
It was an excellent show. I was amazed that I was able to actually photograph rather than just sitting back and watching. I would definitely recommend seeing them perform if you have a chance. Below are some of my best photographs from the show.
Xena Zeit-Geist as Bellatrix Lestrange. Nikon D750, ISO2000, 130mm, f2.8, 1/400sec
Xena Zeit-Geist as Bellatrix Lestrange. Nikon D750, ISO2000, 98mm, f2.8, 1/400sec
Chère Noble as the Plague Doctor. Nikon D750, ISO2000, 155mm, f2.8, 1/500sec
Chère Noble as the Mummy. Nikon D750, ISO2500, 200mm, f4.0, 1/500sec
Chère Noble as the Plague Doctor. Nikon D750, ISO2500, 140mm, f2.8, 1/500sec
Cherry Bombshell as the Spider Lady. Nikon D750, ISO2000, 140mm, f3.2, 1/640sec
Cherry Bombshell as the Spider Lady. Nikon D750, ISO2000, 135mm, f2.8, 1/500sec
Cherry Bombshell. Nikon D750, ISO3200, 200mm, f2.8, 1/400sec
VooDoo Von BoomBoom as Medusa. Nikon D750, ISO2000, 200mm, f2.8, 1/500sec