For the second year in a row I had the privilege of photographing Z100’s Jingle Ball at Madison Square Garden. Coming off of the iHeartRadio Music Festival, I knew that this concert would also be star studded, action packed, and fast moving! On top of how many set changes there were, the Garden’s backstage areas were in complete shambles as they are renovating a lot of the building! And even worse, the crew had less than 18 hours to set-up and soundcheck the entire show! Pretty intense if you ask me!
In typical fashion I arrived way earlier than needed (lol). This time I arrived at midnight the night before, as they were finishing putting the floor over the icerink from the completed Rangers game. I once again setup a time lapse camera (D3 with 20mm lens) and let it go throughout the night. This is a cool way of seeing the amazing crew turn around an arena for a major concert in less than 24 hours.
Those of you who know me know how much I enjoy documenting the setup of things, especially elaborate concerts like this. I love all the different elements; the details. I love the equipment, the instruments, the boards, lights, chains, you name it. Putting up a concert like this is like putting together a really complicated erector set; only this take about 100 or more people to pull off. So I focus very much on the different parts of the concert, trying to make art of everything around me.
When showtime came around I was ready to go. I had a few specific shots I was asked to make for my client, but for the most part I had the freedom to shoot what I wanted. With each performance lasting only about 20 minutes, I needed to move very very quickly. The event was sold out and this year it was particularly packed because of all the security and cameras for FUSE, who later broadcasted it. In the midst of the show I was assigned to shoot a VIP greet with my favorite, Lady Gaga. This of course had me a little nervous, but I held it together and shot at f/8! I was also nervous because I had made an album of photos of Gaga that I was giving to her after this short photo session – so this was on my mind as well. But as I like to remind myself, “don’t come back with excuses, come back with pictures.” So we put the camera up to our eye and shoot away!!!!
All in all the event came off without a bad note, with each performance inspiring me to shoot with greater intention and more love.