Molly Lewis’ Graduation Concert

On the 24th of June, I was asked to document an important night for entertainer Molly Lewis. She had recently graduated college and had decided to throw a celebratory concert, inviting some of her friends and fellow performers to share the stage with her at Seattle’s awesome venue, The Triple Door. There is nothing I love more than documenting an event like this, and I was extremely excited to be asked.

Shooting a concert like this one, is akin to shooting a wedding. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, hugely important to the client, and there is definitely a pressure to deliver some memorable results. There is no do-over if you fail, but if you deliver good work, the client will be forever thankful. I brought an extra camera, so I could go back and forth between my favorite lenses without having to waste time switching. Missing some fantastic moment is easy when there are so many talented people together in one spot. Granted, most of the gold happens on stage, but there are always a few hidden diamonds behind the scenes as well. Those are the shots I live for!

Audience participation as Marian Call gets everyone to do the shark week! Click to see an animated gif version!
I arrived at the venue around 3.30pm, so I could cover all the last minute prep that goes into something like this. The band hastily rehearsing a few songs, harmonies being perfected, monitors being adjusted, jokes being made. Lots of ideas are still being thrown around at this point, and during downtime artists are candidly discussing their work and dreams – or passing time playing a game. The four and half hours between my arrival and official show start went by fast.

It was after 11pm when I left the venue, happy and exhausted, knowing I had at least another 10 hours of solid work, sorting and post-processing the images. I walked out on the streets of Seattle, caught a cab home and collapsed on the couch.

Below is a gallery of photos I took at the event. Of the 1,100 frames I shot before sorting away all the misfires, and frames badly out of focus (which happens a lot in such low light, and with people moving around), a grand total of 444 images survived the culling, were post-processed and sent off to a hopefully happy Molly Lewis.

I urge you to check out the performers present at the concert:

Photo Gallery

Festering Ideas and Fantasy Fun

The following is from my notes to “The Whale Omen” – a fantasy roleplaying adventure based off of an older project – my very first attempt at writing a novel, when I was still but a young and innocent teenager. That novel was in itself inspired by an experimental gaming campaign I co-ran with a friend.

I love how ideas can sit and fester for years, blend with other ideas and influences, and come back out looking all new and shiny again.

The reason it came back, was that I started reading the excellent fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin. That made me think of the novel I had written (which I am not ashamed to say, barely deserves even getting mentioned in the same paragraph as mr. Martin’s epic series), which in turn inspired me to want to rewrite it now, 15+ years later. The only thing is, I’m already not writing one novel.

Still, I could not shake it. So, I turned it into a gaming adventure once more, which may yet inspire even further writing later.

The point I’m making is this: the good ideas can be recycled, transmuted and disguised many times over the years. The trick is to keep working with it, or at least that’s my theory.

The Whale Omen Intro

“The Whale Omen” is fantasy with a nordic medieval flavor. The characters are from a clan at the top of Rockbite Bay in the far and barren north, a village of whalers. Magic exists in this world but is rare and regarded with fear and suspicion. The characters are skilled but normal people with a personal tie to this village; it is their home. Once coastal raiders, the people here now catch whales and do trade instead, and live longer, happier lives for it.

Every spring, whales in great numbers pass by and the whalers go out with nets and harpoons. The villagers use everything from their catch. But this year is different. The whales came late, and when they arrived, they were all dead. Bloated, foul smelling carcasses floated past the village for three days.

Many think it is an omen, and the survival of the village is at stake. No whales means nothing to trade but a few sheep and barrels of salted herring. Not enough.

Two Danish Songs About Drinking

I’m going through my musical archives and it occurred to me that I had two related songs, in both theme and style, about getting drunk. I mean really drunk, but in a good way. So I turned a photo I already had into a cover, called it an “album” and put it on Bandcamp.

The lyrics are in Danish, and the first song – “Midnatswaltz” [Midnight Waltz] – is about that feeling of letting the booze guide you – maybe to do a little dance, maybe something even more stupid. The second track – “Vodka” – is a celebration of one of my personal favorite drinks: vodka on the rocks. If the vodka is good, you don’t need anything else.

Music is something I’ve only ever made for fun. And because I believe dabbling in more fields than one increases overall inspiration. Though I used to be in bands, play the occasional gig and write a lot more than I do now, it was never with the ambition of turning it into a professional careeer. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes miss performing in front of a live audience. Maybe some day…

If you like the music, the 2-song album is only $1.35.

Update: the mini album is now also available in iTunes and most other sellers of digital music.