Across the world, the communal experience of gathering with thousands of like minds to celebrate your favorite bands has become an annual rite. Music festivals have become larger and more popular, with no sign of slowing down. And while the largest of the festivals offer much of the same – large grassy fields, mega crowds and hundreds of acts scheduled over a long weekend – the smaller, boutique festivals are making their mark and winning fans by providing something different.
A few weeks ago I received a message from Sony Artisan of Imagery Gene Lower, team photographer for the Arizona Cardinals. Gene is one of those guys that gives freely of his knowledge and has been offering up very special opportunities to shoot NFL games to his fellow Sony Artisans. As an advisor to the Tokyo based product team, he was also an unsung force in the development of the acclaimed Sony a9. So when Gene presented the chance to shoot the Cardinals at their away game in Houston, I didn’t hesitate.
This is how it happened – three days of love and music at El Cosmico in Marfa, TX.
As a self professed classic film compact camera junkie, the ability to use some of the lenses that were originally affixed (not interchangeable) to those cameras, is intriguing. In the past I’ve written about converting the Summarit 40mm f/2.4 from the Leica Minilux and even using the converted lens with the Techart autofocus adapter. Today we have another personal favorite – the 35mm f2 lens from the legendary Konica Hexar AF.
July in Central Texas, 14 days of triple digit temperatures with no break in sight and someone had the bright idea to throw a music festival. It may sound like a level of Dante’s Inferno, but the Float Fest producers have it figured out, with a leisure float down the cool San Marcos river, on-site camping, a carnival, helicopter rides and stages headlined by Cage the Elephant, Weezer, Zedd and MGMT.
Rewind. 2005. The Parish, Austin, TX. A first attempt at concert photography with a band that consistently dropped sonic milestones throughout my adulthood. Somehow I kept my shit together and strung together a few images I was proud of, and that was the fire that lit my photographic career.
When mirrorless first emerged on the market back in 2008 with the Panasonic DMC-G1 – not counting the earlier and more esoteric rangefinders from Epson and Leica – the concept of a smaller camera performing at the level of a dSLR was quite foreign to photographers and if we are fair, still a few years off. As Olympus, Fuji, Leica, Ricoh, Pentax, Sony and eventually even Canon and Nikon jumped into the nascent format, all the early systems were small, with lenses that matched the diminutive bodies. Those early systems like the Olympus Pen, the Sony NEX and the Ricoh GXR were a revelation to photographers sick of the ever expanding waistline of their dSLR kits.