HIM‘s performance at the Pageant brought the Finnish band's self-proclaimed Love Metal to an adoring crowd. After being sonically assaulted by the metalcore barrage of Bleeding Through, Ville Valo and fellow Fins brought a more melodic version of metal-laced rock wrapped around Valo's own sailing vocals.
As always, for the full set of images from the show, hit the Flickr.
Throughout the first three songs, Valo was relatively calm, manning the mic without unnecessary theatrics, though he seemed to genuinely enjoy his time in the spotlight. Without a guitar or another instrument, Valo was free to dedicate himself to his duties on vox and made for an easier subject than many other rock frontman who take double-duty.
Without the dynamics of a guitar neck entering the composition, I was free to photograph the singer from both sides of the stage and concentrate more on pose and lighting.
The first three songs were marked by relatively abundant light, which came predominantly from the back in the form of strong white and blue-tinged spots.
A few minutes before the band took the stage, while the house lights were still up, pale smoke began to seep up from the back, foreshadowing the intense backlighting.
From a photographer's perspective, the performance benefited greatly from two spotlights positioned on either side of the stage. These lights were a huge boon for photographing HIM's frontman Ville Valo, who was lit up with relatively warm light in contrast to the cool cyan and smokey blues that dominated from the back.
Guitarist Mikko Lindstrøm and bassist Mikko Paananen, who both played at the front of the stage with Valo, were lit with primarily with cooler light.
With intense blue-cyan lighting for much of the first three songs, metering and white balance were one challenge of the set. Toward the end of the first song, the lighting balance settled down and the side spotlights came into play, which stabilized the exposure around ISO 800 at f/2.5 and 1/160 second.
I varied these settings at various times by 1/3 to 1/2 stop depending on different priorities, but this exposure remained relatively consistent through the third song.
While there was just enough light to use f/2.8 zooms, the fast aperture and high performance of my 50mm and 85mm primes kept them in good use through the set.Even with three other photographers in the pit at this concert, maneuvering shooting down-stage with the 85mm f/1.4 was an easy task, and the telephoto proved perfect for securing tighter shots of the singer.
In addition to the 85mm, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 came into play as well and proved great for slighting longer shots that framed Valo's wide hand hold on the mic stand.
The Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 was used less than the primes, but was still invaluable for a few slightly wider perspectives not afforded by the two primes. For stage-front concert photography, the DX midrange zoom is never far from my D2x, and this HIM show was no exception.