Okay, confession time. The only reason I went to the Steve Van Zandt gig tonight is that he has a habit of bringing out some very famous special guests. Last time it was Paul McCartney, and given Sir Paul only launched his new album and played the Cavern Club the other day, it was a risk worth taking.
The light was, well, not. The Nikon D4S flatters to deceive but this was a dark show, shot at the limits of what the camera can do which is a shame given how colourful it all was. Anyway, it was over in a flash (not that you can use flash of course), no special guests, and we were out after three songs. He’s very good, don’t get me wrong, but I probably shouldn’t have gone along tonight really.
It wouldn’t be the British Summertime Festival without some rain, surely? After weeks of crazy high temperatures, rain was forecast tonight but I’m not sure anyone really believed it would come. We spent the afternoon shooting in the heat shooting some great artists like Van Morrison. It’s not often I get to shoot two artists on my bucket list for the first time in the same day! He does everything he can to make a clear shot nigh on impossible, cluttering the stage with a lecturn and various other stands, but a massive venue like Hyde Park means you get the opportunity to experiment with different focal lengths and eventually I found my clear shot on my 150-600mm lens.
Just as I was heading to the second stage for The Shires, the heavens opened. It was like a tropical storm which went on and on. Half an hour before Michael Buble’s stage time we were taken out to the end of the runway which was our very specifically designated shooting position. We just prayed he’d come along the runway, otherwise the shoot would be a disaster and we were all soaked to the bone and doing everything we could to protect our camera kit. I resorted to using a heavy duty bin liner as a poncho and it just about did the job.
True to form, Michael Buble delivered in style. He came right down to the end of the runway and performed literally within touching distance of us in the driving rain and this picture shows!
I have a huge, new found respect for him, what an absolute performer! Most artists wouldn’t have gone near that runway – it was like a river, yet he came down to the front and gave us wonderful frames. Couldn’t have asked for more, other than a canoe to get home in…
I’ve shot a fair few of Eric Clapton’s shows over the years at the Royal Albert Hall. Last time he performed at Hyde Park he reluctantly gave the photographers pit access and I banked on the same happening tonight.
It was touch and go for a while – would we get any access at all, and then where would we be shooting from – mixer, the gap between the gold and diamond circles or somewhere else? At the 11th hour we got pit access – we had to choose a side and stay there. For me, the shot I want is of him pulling one of his epic solos and so it was a simple choice – go stage left and hope that he moved far enough from the mic stand for a clear shot. Fortunately he did exactly that and this was my favourite shot.
Among the other performers it was great to catch Carlos Santana again for only the second time. Alas Steve Winwood was a massive disappointment. He lurked resolutely behind a piano for the first three songs and as we left the pit he came to the front, guitar in hand. Just typical! Still, today was all about Eric Clapton and I got my shot!