Cool Jazz on the Hottest Night of the Year

The Beaches Jazz Festival taking place this weekend in Toronto is THE place to go to shoot great festival photography.

So what do you need?

Water – more water – sunscreen – a hat – good socks and shoes and a big smile. Yesterday when I was shooting the temperature hit 100 degrees on the pavement.

As for photography, if you’re shooting before dusk, you need a wide-angle lens for the big bands (on DX format cameras an 18-200 zoom or 12-24 would be great) and a fast 50mm or 85mm (or if you’ve got big bucks an 70/80 to 200mm lens. Sure it’s big an heavy and the wedding photographers must-have lens but it gets the job done).

If you’re shooting after dusk you need fast (at least f/1.8) lenses. Your kit lenses or slower zooms just won’t cut it after dark and using a big flash at night is fine if you’re shooting somebody’s mugshot but not recomended for festival photography.

Now having said all that I have two confessions to make:

First: All of the shots from last night’s shooting were done with Marion’s Olympus EPL-2. Lenses included the kit lens (14-42mm), the long zoom (40 to 150) and the super-wide (9-16mm) plus the 17mm fast (f/2.8) pancake lens which did most of the work after dark. I think the results are amazing. Later today I’ll post about 75 images and a couple of videos from last night.

Second: I’m in love again. (Don’t tell Marion.) Erin McCallum has likely broken more than a few hearts in her time. She’s got a whiskey-soaked voice that reaches deep inside and a pair of lungs that can set your hair on fire. She’s as pretty as all get out and I wish I was half my age — which I am obviously not acting…or maybe I am 🙂 Her and her band are one of the best acts on a tough street of really top-notch artists.

BTW somebody should feed this girl. Like I said she’s as pretty as all get out but needs 10 more pounds on her pretty bones.

Here’s the link to the Beaches Jazz Festival images at Peter West Photo.


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