If it weren't for their short set, and early start time, one might think The Hush Sound were headlining at the Pageant December 27. Opening for Ludo in a sold out event, The Hush Sound packed the house with a legion of their own dedicated fans, who sang along with every note of the youthful indie rockers' set.
Lead by Greta Salpeter on keyboard and Bob Morris on guitar, both of whom trade vocal duties, the Decaydance-signed band ran through a tight performance that featured a mix from their first two releases, So Sudden (2005) and Like Vines (2006), as well as new material from their forthcoming third album, which is expected later this year.
Visually, the standout for the dimly lit set was Salpeter, who was planted front and center at her Korg keyboard. Morris, stage right, drummer Darren Wilson, and Chris Faller on bass had to be content to play in the shadows as the pianist and singer received the majority of what little the set featured.
Just like the Ludo show that followed, this set featured a slew of stage dressing, most of which took the form of obstructions at the front of the stage: fake snow, golden reindeer, plastic candy canes, and more provided obstacles that made the shoot all the more challenging, compounding the low light.
Lighting for the Hush Sounds' set was very atmospheric overall, with little to no key lighting for any of the players. Instead, color washes dominated, which ranged from deep oranges and reds to cool blues and dull magentas.
Other than a few experimental shots with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 dominated this set thanks to its ability provide isolation and the flexibility to work around around the stage dressing.
The telephoto was particular necessary for Salpeter, who, in addition to the festive holiday cheer scattered on the stage, sat planted behind her keyboard and mic stand, both of which ran roughly parallel to the stage.
I shot between ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, working at ISO 8000 (HI-.3) and up for much of the set. These high sensitivities allowed me to shoot at relatively comfortable shutter speeds hovering around 1/160.
Where I shooting with the old D2x, I certainly would have switched to primes to cover the set. One very freeing aspect of the D3's high ISO performance is that it lets me comfortably shoot with zooms for all but the most horrendous lighting, at which point one has to question the viability of the images in the first place.
Due to the low light, this set tested the limits of even the Nikon D3. As I've shot more and more with the new Nikon flagship, I've come to understand that despite the great boon to lowlight shooting the camera offers, bad lighting just that. The camera can make a scene look brighter, but can only do so much to alter the perceived quality of the ambient lighting.