(Not so) Epic Rock Poses Part 1 – Drummers

Deathgaze's Naoki Nikon D5000 35mm F/7.1 1/200s

The first lesson I learned about photographing bigger bands was “Don’t forget the drummer!!”  It was my first assignment in Tokyo, and I had spent a whole evening photographing different bands in a setting that was way beyond what I had done before in terms of size, lighting and production.  I was out of my comfort zone of small bars and venues, and simultaneously blown away by what I was watching.  I wasn’t really thinking, I was just going off of instinct for most of it.  There were some amazing shots from that night, but of the whole 500 plus photos, only two featured that odd character at the back of the stage.

And that is precisely the problem with drummers – they’re at the back and they’re a little odd. They’re under-lit and there’s nearly always a lead singer standing in front of them.  They’re hiding behind cymbals, hi-hats and microphone stands.  They’re hiding behind their own hair.

Reivier's Hiro Nikon D5000 55-200mm 1/100s F/5.6

And of course, the heavier the band, the more difficult it is to catch a glimpse of them.  BPM is in direct proportion to the number of required cymbals, crashes and other peripheral equipment getting between your lens and their face.

Matenrou Opera's Yuu peeking out at the audience Nikon D5000 55-200mm 1/200s f/5.6

Ultimately, getting a good shot depends on position, lighting, and on the drummer himself.  Some are happy to sit at the back blasting out some amazing beats all night, only to then scamper off backstage as soon as the lights go down. I’ve seen one literally dragged by their manager from the dressing room to do after show “meet and greets”, despite being in possession of a talent others would cut both arms off for.  Meanwhile, others will get up on the podium, don a mask, do some impromptu rapping, and dance about with their father, sending the audience into peals of laughter.

So, as you can see these shots aren’t exactly “epic” (perhaps I should define my terms), but they show some of the drummers I’ve had the pleasure to capture.  I’m still working out how to get better shots, and I’ll keep trying.  I’ll leave you with an example of the “back up plan” I use for drummers, which is to get as many shots of them waving goodbye before the encore and at the finish as you can.

I hope you enjoyed Part 1.  Part 2 is on its way in a week or two.  Until then, I’ll be posting some other bits and pieces to keep you entertained.  Thanks for reading and please leave a comment if you enjoyed what you read/saw.

Serial Number's りょうへ~☆ (Ryouhei) waves goodbye Nikon D5000 55-200mm 1/200s F/5.6


3 thoughts on “(Not so) Epic Rock Poses Part 1 – Drummers

  1. These are all great but that first shot is absolutely incredible! The composition, the contrast and the spots of saturation all make it jump out at you and grab hold. Truly great shot.

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