Bruce Springsteen is known for having one of the most energetic live performers around. Even at 64, literally as old as my dad, he runs around stage with more fervor than performers half his age.
Add that with The Boss's huge catalog of hits, and you could probably count on digits the number of photographers who wouldn't want to photograph him.
I was lucky enough to cover Springsteen's 2012 concert at the XL Center when I was the Hartford Courant's music writer [here's a link]. This time I was shooting for the paper, with Mike Hamad writing [check out his review here].
There's two main kinds of concert shoots- the pit, and the soundboard. This was a soundboard shoot.
That means you're positioned a good 300 or so feet from the performer, give or take a couple hundred feet. It was a long lens sort of night.
I'd rather not have any liens on my property, so I don't own a 400mm f/2.8 lens. I was stuck with the 70-200, with a 1.4x teleconverter, for 280mm. Which isn't all that bad. I could have used either the D800, with better image quality and thus nicer shots when cropped in tight, or the D7000, with what's called a "cropped sensor." Without getting too technical on this, it would basically increase my zoom by 50%, up to 420mm.
This is an inexact science, but I decided to use the D800. Going back I'd probably use the D7000. But whatever- there's always next time. My thought was that if I needed to I could zoom out a little bit to capture more of what was happening, or stay zoomed in on Bruce.
But now the crucial part. I've missed so many good shots from the soundboard because of people holding up cameras, signs, or just putting their hands in the air. That's why I bought a step stool.
$10 at Home Depot. Folds right up, hooks on the camera bag via carabiner. Go buy one now, totally worth it.
Luckily enough Springsteen's camp is full of total pros, and photographers were set up on two levels of risers. I chose the taller one, then moved all the way to the back and used the stepstool to see over the photographers in front of me. Never forget etiquette and respecting your fellow shooter's view!
So that was that. Three songs- Racing In The Street, Clampdown [a Clash cover], and Badlands. Street didn't really count because The Boss was shrouded in darkness most of the time. But it was really cool to see Rage's Tom Morello up there with him, and just the whole E Street Band rocking out. A great time.