Friday, March 26, 2010

Memories of Elvis

Elvis Presley may not be alive and well, but his memories live on due to his amazing music. There are many individuals who do Elvis impersonation shows, and I have seen quite a few of them over the years. Go to Vegas and you may see several at various clubs or theaters there at any given time. Fortunately the St. Louis area is blessed with one of the very best I have ever heard. Steve Davis does an amazing job recreating not only the music, but every little nuance and detail of the life of Elvis Presley.

Steve tours nationally and does shows from small productions to his full blown band with several acts, backup singers , and a complete horn section. January 8th is the birthday of Elvis Presley. Every year Steve does a big production show at the Pageant Concert Hall in St. Louis. A few years ago I agreed to photograph his concert. I had never photographed a big concert in a venue like the Pageant and I was very apprehensive about doing a good job for him. I learned very quickly that concert photography is extremely difficult. The lighting is a nightmare with everything from intensely bright white hot spotlights to near pitch black darkness. The activity on the stage is frenzied at times and requires a pretty high shutter speed to freeze the action. This requires constant adjustments to your camera settings to try and get the best exposure.

I am issued an all access pass, so this allows me backstage to photograph before the concert starts and to scout good shooting locations before the start of the concert.. I photograph from every angle and location possible to give him a broad range of photographs to choose from. This is a big concert and runs over 2 hours long. The Pageant is a great venue, and when they pack'em in will hold about 2400 people. During a concert like this I will shoot about 300-350 photos
Steve not only has superb vocals and sounds like Elvis, but he has the look, mannerisms, and whole Elvis persona to make his show very special. His interaction and involvement with his fans help make his show so special. Sadly I do not get to enjoy it very much as I am concentrating so hard on the photography.


My enjoyment comes when I sit down in front of my computer to edit the images. I turn up the Elvis music and try to make my photographs look as good as I possibly can. I shoot everything in RAW format. This allows me to make adjustments to the photos in Adobe Photoshop that would not be possible if they had been shot in jpeg format. It takes me far longer to process each image from these concerts, but so far I have been pretty happy with the end results. I shoot all of them in color, but certain ones I will convert to B&W when I think it would look better that way. Steve has used many of my photos for his  merchandise and advertising.

So if you are in the St. Louis area around January the 8th, 2010, this is a show I highly recommend. If you see this big funny looking guy running around with cameras taking pictures, it will probably be me. Don't laugh, just stop me and say high.

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