Warped Tour has been described as both the best and worst day of Summer, crushed together into a day that you will always remember the generalities of, but rarely the particulars: a day of music, friends, and fun, but also dehydration, tired feet, and the occasional crowd surfer falling on your head. I can say that over the last four summers, I have attended Warped Tour in Dallas, Texas, enjoying a lifestyle that I hope to look back on in twenty years and smile as I reminisce of days long past. This summer, for the first time in my four years of attendance, I have been able to produce memories that will always be tangible through photographs while shooting on assignment for the Southern Methodist University Daily Campus, a student run, independent publication distributed at the Dallas based private university. Normally, I would not discuss gear in an image based post, however for this post, I feel it is necessary as both a learning tool and also to explain why certain images were captured in the ways they were...so here it goes.
The day started as pretty typical, 30D and 1N in the backpack with a 50 mm f/1.4 and a 20 mm f/2.8, along with plenty of compact flash cards, three rolls of of Ilford Delta 100, one half exposed roll of Ilford Delta 3200, and a single roll of Fujichrome Velvia 50. I arrived at the venue, checked in for my press pass, and got out shooting my first band of the day, a personal favorite, The Ataris (whose song title I borrowed for a blog post about the very thing the song is about, Warped Tour). Everything went great, no security issues, didn't get hit in the head with beer, no complaints. This was the case all the way until I arrived back at the main stage to photograph 3OH!3, where three minutes into the set, my 30D starts to give me the dreaded err99. I assumed it was something simple, a dirty lens contact or that the CF card had gone bad. Needless to say, I was very wrong, after finagling with the camera in what little shade I could find, I simply put away the digital body, and continued to run through the film I had initially bought to use for more personal work to photograph the rest of the day. While I was not very happy at the time about a broken camera body (which later turned out to be a failed shutter), when I got my negatives and slides back, I was ecstatic, to say the least. Some of my favorite photos that I took were on film, and while there were quite a few strong images from the little time I had with the 30D, in my eyes they didn't compare to what was captured on film that day.
Of all of the bands I saw that day, my favorites were by far Gallows, Thrice and Alexisonfire, none of which I had seen before, and seeing Frank Carter jump the barricade one song into their set and play the rest of the set except for the final song from right there, well let's just say it was intense. Totally redefined "photo pit." Even though it was a move I had been anticipating all day, nothing could have prepared me for going from being in the pit with no camera gear, to photographing inside. You really take advantage of [consistent] peripheral vision and it becomes apparent when you reduce your field of view to the viewfinder of a Canon 1N and a 50 mm lens. However that thrill definitely put their set over the top for me. Alexisonfire was so solid, playing what sounded like an album quality set live. Two of my favorite photos came from their set, and one was when Wade started having gear issues and just grabbed the mic and performed without missing a beat. Thrice, I mean, it was Thrice, it was hard to remember to take photos at times because I would get so caught up in the moment while waiting for the ultimate shot as to not waste the very last of my final roll of Ilford Delta 100 film. The rest of the bands I saw were great as well, Hit the Lights stole my attention for a while, almost every word out of my mouth (up until my 30D decided to croak), was about how great their set was, so much energy I couldn't help but look away. Then there is The Ataris, the first band I saw, as I mentioned earlier, were great, singing along to a band that brings back memories similar to New Found Glory for me [young, late elementary, early middle school years], definitely a great way to kick off an even better day.
So before I continue rambling for much longer, here are the images: