Daily Photo – Cowbell at Lucky Lounge

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

This high ISO shot of the lead singer for “I Need More Cowbell” was taken last summer, at the dimly lit Lucky Lounge in downtown Austin.


  • Shutter:   1/125
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO:  3200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Lucky Lounge is typical of a lot of small bars:  poorly lit, with a stage that has access on only one side.  Fortunately, they also have some interesting backlighting to frame subjects against, or at least provide a better backdrop.  In this case the large glowing disk at the back and blue light reflecting off the drum kit added both color and character to the background.
  • I tend toward higher contrast shots in general, but I think it’s particularly good match for live music.  More rock n roll, as it were.  I’m not sure whether that’s genuinely a function of the subject.  It may simply be learned behavior based on the images we grew accustomed to when film was dominant (the same way we often associate sepia tones with an old or classic look).


February 05 2009 07:31 pm | Photography

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