Tahoe Concert Photography

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts returned to Lake Tahoe for the 2nd year in a row and I was stoked to photograph the concert.  Any night at work with live music is an amazing night indeed.  Sheryl Crow was the opener and even came out on stage midway through their set to sit in with them, which was pretty rad.  Here are a few of my favorite images from the evening.

Andre Thierry

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Andre Thierry

There is one simple reason that you should never skip the opening band at a show, even when you’ve never heard of them: because WASHBOARDS.

And what I mean by this is that you may be missing out on the coolest, most unexpected thing you’ve ever heard.

In this case, it was a Zydeco band opening for Sammy Hagar.

Would I have ever expected a Zydeco band to open for Sammy Hagar?  No.  Would you?  Unless you are privy to some secret I’m not aware of, my guess for that is also no.

Andre Thierry is a killer Zydeco Band based out of none other than neighboring San Francisco and I can promise you I’ll make sure to keep them on my radar from here on out.  It was such a treat to get a taste of New Orleans before I photographed Sammy Hagar.  I spent half the three allotted songs in the photo pit dancing instead of taking photos.

FYI Austin Texas, they’ll be playing at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill on August 29th.

Tahoe Concert Photography

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Rascal Flatts Sneak Peek

I am SO stoked on my photos from Rascal Flatts this year vs my photos from last year.  I came away from the 2013 Rascal Flatts show with quite a few awesome images from the Band Perry, but none that I was overjoyed with from the headliner.  This year, the opposite is true.  Sheryl Crow, who opened for Rascal Flatts, required us to shoot from front of house, which is a nicer sounding way of saying we have to be at the sound booth.  I won’t be sharing any of her images on my site or blog, due to contract restrictions, but it doesn’t matter because I don’t like them anyways.

There are so many killer Rascal Flatts images to share though.  This one, however, takes the cake.


Tahoe Concert Photographer

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Sammy Hagar

It wouldn’t be a Tahoe South summer unless Sammy Hagar took the stage.  He’s a veritable staple around here and it’s easy to see why: Hagar loves Tahoe and he loves his Tahoe fans.  His “Decades of Rock” tour spanned years of multiple bands and featured classics from Led Zeppelin and Van Halan.  Hagar’s band for the tour included Michael Anthony, bassist for Chickenfoot and former bassist for Van Halen; Vic Johnson, guitarist for Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas; and drummer Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.

With bright white lights in the front of the stage on the band members and full red in the back, which happens to be a dream set up for a concert photographer (thank you light guy for throwing us a bone), these Sammy Hagar concert photos are as fun, bright and wonderful as they were to shoot.  This was one of the more fun shows I’ve ever shot: every member of Hagar’s band is animated with massive stage presence.  All too often, big bands get lost on that giant Harvey’s stage.  This is certainly not the case with Hagar!

Tahoe Concert photographer

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Journey

So Journey was awesome to shoot.

What a wild show!  Colorful bright lights, huge production value, and a larger than life frontman are all elements that equal a concert photographers dream.  Journey had all of this and more, including great moments from the band members, which is not always the case in every show.  I try to make sure I photograph everyone in the band, but sometimes the photos from other band members fall flat with zero to no emotion.  This was not the case for Journey.

Tahoe Concert Photographer

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Steve Miller Band

Steve Miller Band is the epitome of nostalgia.  I have very clear memories of seeing him 4 and 5 nights in a row at the Outdoor Amphitheater in Dallas from the grass lawn in the back when I was in high school.  You’d buy tickets one night and then run around the lawn looking for the guy giving away free tickets for the next night if you could name five Steve Miller Band songs.

Concert photography has all sorts of rules and they are different every time you shoot.  Much like at Carrie Underwood, Steve Miller restricted us to shooting from the sound booth and in an interesting turn of events, for the first time in my concert photography career, we were instructed to shoot the LAST three songs instead of the first three songs.  I don’t own a lens longer than 200mm and I didn’t find out until too late to rent a teleconverter, so I snapped a few from the booth and called it  a day.  Surprisingly, I actually prefer the Steve Miller Band photos for sharpness over the Carrie Underwood photos, which were shot with a D800, 70-200/2.8 and the 1.7 teleconverter.

Miller’s backdrop was nothing short of spectacular and made for super interesting shots, aided by the distance.

Tahoe Concert Photographer

Tahoe Concert Photographer | Harvey’s Summer Concert Series | Carrie Underwood

This summer’s Harvey’s Summer Concert Series continued last week with an exclusive show from American Idol Carrie Underwood, currently not on tour.  It coincided with the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Edgewood and coincidently,  Wanderlust Festival, at Squaw Valley, which I also covered.  It was a rough busy week.  Despite all the zen-ing out during the day that I did, I ended up insanely ill in the week following.

This is not a post about me being sick, however.  This is a post about Tahoe concert photography and that time I got to photograph Carrie Underwood.

Sometimes when you’re a concert photographer, you get thrown for a bit of a loop.  The rules are always changing, the restrictions always different, especially when it comes to the bigger artists.  Sometimes I sign my life away in a really in depth contract upon which all rights to my photos are released to the artist for all of perpetuity in all of the universe.  Sometimes, I sign a contract that says I won’t photograph the fans.  Sometimes, I sign a contract that says I can shoot for the 2nd and 3rd song only, and only from the sound booth, which was the case in this concert.  We didn’t find this out until two days before the show and so I had to scramble to make a quick decision: rent a 400mm or 600mm lens or rent a teleconverter for my 200mm.  The teleconverter, while not as sharp, was significantly less expensive, so I went with it.  I’m not super jazzed on all these photos, but I am jazzed that I had the experience.  Any day working as a Tahoe concert photographer isn’t a bad day, in my books!

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Tahoe Concert Photographer | Harvey’s Summer Concert Series | Sarah McLachlan

Concert photography is my favorite.

There’s nothing more thrilling than the rush of trying to get some awesomesauce images in three songs.

I’ve been fortunate to photograph at SXSW the last two years, but this year, my duties included less of the concert photography and more of people photography and not-so-unfortunately, I’ve been so busy with work since then that I haven’t yet edited any of the concert photos that I did manage to snag while I was there.

Thankfully, the Harvey’s Summer Concert Series in their gorgeous Tahoe Outdoor Amphitheater kicked off last week with none other than Sarah McLachlan.

I listened to Sarah extensively in the late 90s, as I’m sure anyone my age did.  Not only did I remember ALL of the lyrics to those songs, but it was a breath of fresh Tahoe air (literally) to sit outdoors and listen to them again.

Sarah’s new songs are just as compelling as her old catalog and her voice is ethereal, but strong.  I had such a wonderful time and the night was exceptionally awesome because all of my friends were there as well!  The entire experience is one I won’t forget.

Here’s some of my favorite images from the evening.  You can read the full concert review by none other than the wonderfully talented and beautiful Georgette Riley over at Tahoe South.