Favourite Albums of 2013

In no particular order…

If You Wait by London Grammar  —> Sights

Impersonator by Majical Cloudz —> I do sing for you

Overgrown by James Blake  —> overgrown

Pure Heroine by Lorde —> Team

Settle by Disclosure —> Latch

Days are Gone by HAIM

The Bones of What You Believe by CHVRCHES —> We Sink

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk —> doing it right

Reflektor by Arcade Fire —> Afterlife

Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara —> I’m not your hero

Cupid Deluxe by Blood Orange —> It is what it is

Kveikur by Sigur Ros —> Stormur


River Dealer by Burial

Also check out Live in Limbo’s “Top 25 Albums of 2013” and “Top 25 Songs of 2013“.


Celebrating iTunes Festival 2013

Yesterday, Apple released a short video highlighting their annual iTunes Festival event at the Roundhouse in the UK. They again have solidified their passion for great music. Perhaps it is another way of complimenting the launch of iTunes Radio (only in the US initially).

This year saw the likes of Lady Gaga, Elton John, Paramore, Arctic Monkeys and Bastille with Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry coming up. Essentially, it is a 30 day event (all of September) featuring 60 of the best acts in the world. And the best thing is that tickets are free via the iTunes Festival lottery system and can be watched online on iTunes.

It would be an absolute dream to attend all 30 days!

Music, Photographer Notes, Photography

Photographer Notes: Carrie Underwood 2012

Carrie Underwood performed a few nights ago at the Air Canada Centre, one of the largest venues in Toronto, Canada. Photographing her was fun and interesting at the same time. First of all, a superstar like her didn’t have a photo release trying to grab our copyrights or restrict us in any way, major props to Underwood and her PR team. The shoot was interesting because it was not from the pit as usual. Instead, the media had to shoot from the sound board which was pretty much in the center of the arena.


A few hours before heading to the gig, I pretty much knew exactly what songs she’d he performing. Photographers got to stay for the first two songs, which were “Good Girl” and “Undo It”. Also from researching YouTube clips of these songs, I knew for a fact that lighting was going to be no problem at all and that it would be pretty bright and consistent.


Since I knew we’d be standing at the mixer, I brought a small foldable stool to make sure I shot over the most pit instead of taking the risk of getting hands in the way. Because we’d be far away from the stage, a monopod was needed to help stabilize a super telephoto lens. My next challenge was lens selection. There were a few options that could have worked here:

A) 300mm f/2.8 + 1.4x = 420mm f/4 (a good reach)

B) 400 f/2.8 (a bit too short)

C) 500 f/4 (would lose some good stage shots)

D) 70-200mm f/2.8 + 2x = 140-400mm f/5.6 (a bit too short, but room to crop, good range to get a balance of stage, band and close ups. Downside is small aperture at 5.6.

I ended up going with option D. Even though I hear people talking about how awesome those super tele primes are….they just aren’t for me. My thought is that with a supertele, you are already significantly limiting your range of movement with a monopod and making it a fixed focal length just restricts even more. If you few my full set of photos, you can see that I got a wide variation of different perspectives of Underwood and all her glory.

For the future, I think that the ideal setup would be the Nikkor 200-400 f/4 +1.4x for an effective range from 280-560mm f/5.6. To me, that sounds like the most perfect focal range for sound board shoots. What at that f/5.6 aperture you ask? Well, my answer is that the D4 can easily be boosted up to 6400 then down to 3200 ISO and I have no problems with noise at all.

One funny thing I did notice however was that at 400mm, the shot didn’t seem to really focus in the view finder and got really worried that I’d have a bunch of out of focus images. But when reviewing them later, they surprisingly turned out pretty sharp out of the camera RAW. So, I’m not sure if this is an issue with my TC-20E III or what? I’ve read negative issues with the version 2 of this 2x converter. But it seems like version III was made to compliment the 70-200 VRII.


Going through Underwood’s photos was pretty easy. Great lighting made things very simple for me, as I just had to do white balancing, a bit of clarity, shadows, blacks and some cropping for the really close up profiles.

Check out Live in Limbo for my full set of photos and let me know what you think.