Go ahead. Ask Paul Wall to show you his grill. Co-headlining on the Fire & Ice tour with Kansas City rap king Tech N9ne, Paul Wall held up his end of the bill spitting his Texas flow with gleaming smile.
This was an interesting shoot, to say the least. I shot without restrictions for nearly all of Paul Wall's set, using flash with abandon when the mood struck me. But for all the looseness, this set was incredibly challenging due to a combination of very low light and constant movement on stage.
Image-forming light supplied by the house setup came almost exclusively from the back of the house, with blue hues dominating. Lighting from the front was a weak mix of warm white. Enter the flash.
While I almost never use flash, simply because it's not allowed, this gig would have been an entirely different game without the convenience.
I shot a mix of slow sync and standard flash, trying to achieve balance between the flash, warm frontlighting, and atmospheric mix from the back of the stage.
Unlike the last time I employed flash, I used the speedlight on-camera and without a diffuser. Due to the fast-paced nature of the set, the simplicity of an on-camera solution was preferred in this instance.
Exposure & Metering:
The exposure for this set was all over the place, from ISO 800 to 6400, 1/4 to 1/250, and everywhere in between. The only real constant was the aperture, which stayed in a more narrow range of f/2.8 to f/4 for this set.
Lenses & Gear:
I shot a little bit with everything for this set, using the Nikon D3, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 throughout the performance.
Overall, I found myself a the wider focal lengths most often, though I forced myself to use the telephoto zoom to catch tighter shots of the grillmaster himself.
One may be surprised how just difficult it is to photograph Wall's mouth full of ice while he's performing on stage. Though, no doubt, it be gleaming.