Concert photography: the Ichthus Festival

Frankly, shooting Family Force 5 this year was a bit of a pain because it was raining for half their show, so I had to shoot with a rain cover on my D300s, which is a lifesaver, but also sort of obnoxious. But oh, how I loved the sky the just-passed storm provided as a backdrop to shots like this one of frontman Solomon Olds on the catwalk.

Since the days when I used to smuggle my Canon A-1 body and an 80-200mm, f4-5.6 lens into shows by Sting and R.E.M., I have loved concert photography. So the past few years, it has been a lot of fun to go out to the Ichthus Festival with some faster glass and credentials to get into the photo pits at the various stages of the world’s longest running Christian pop festival.

This year, my shots went into some of our stories about Ichthus in the Herald-Leader and onto daily slide shows out of the event that annually doubles or triples the population of Wilmore, Ky. Before we go deep into the summer, here are my Top 10 favorite shots from Ichthus 2011.

All images in this post are copyrighted by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

I always love it when a performer leans into my lens, like Colonel Robbins of The Rising did during the band's Friday afternoon main stage set.


Anberlin guitarist Christian McAlhaney looked like an ultimate rocker here with the denim vest and intriguing tats. My wife mentione that it looks like someone in the background is raising a toast to him.

I spent a little time trying to figure whether the lens flare across the face of the guy on the left ruined this shot or made it more interesting. I think it's the expression of Ilia lead singer Brittney Mosher that made me go with the latter.

Here's another shot I debated: It looks sort of like the two most prominent moshers in this shot from Impending Doom's Friday afternoon set at the Deep End Stage are fighting. Specifically, it sorta looks like the one on the right landed a massive punch, though he didn't. But I really liked the "choreography" of the shot, so I went with it.

So often drummers are shoved all the way to the back of the stage, I loved being able to shoot Twenty One Pilots' Josh Dun up close in the Galleria tent.

I've probably shot Fireflight more than any other band, and Dawn Richardson is always great for a nice, sharp, compelling frontwoman shot. But I wanted to get something a bit different from this show, and was intrigued by trying to do something with bassist Wendy Drennen hanging on the right side of the stage in really low light.

The skies were back Saturday night, and the backdrop really helped to get something more than a guy-with-a-guitar-at-the-microphone shot of Matthew West. That is a sweet guitar he has there.

When Korey Cooper and other members of Skillet came out in these theatrical masks, I had to get a shot.

Red's Ichthus set will be remembered for its pyrotechnics show, and I always think of lead singer Michael Barnes and the other guys in terms of sweaty closeups. So while I got some of those elements, I was really happy with this longer shot thanks to the lighting and Barnes and guitarist Anthony Armstrong's form.

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