So what do you do when you have a gig where there’s absolutely no direct light and most of the light that is available is behind the subjects? (… and most of that disappears when the sun goes down)  Well, you first push your exposures and gear to the limit, and then, start moving into more abstract compositions.  Such were the conditions yesterday at the TOS gig at the Pleasant Cafe in Maynard.

I had the advantage of a comfortable seat near the performance and nobody bumping into me, so I could start with classic documentary style exposures (1/100 or so) and then, as the night progressed start seeing what happens as we get into the 1/20 territory — so not the long exposures of landscape photography, but really pushing it at handheld shots in the 100+mm range.   I also had some weak ambient light and through a careful tweaking of the white balance (again, nothing outrageous) I was able to give the appearance of stage lighting.  For a lot of the longer exposure compositions I would shoot fairly long bursts (more than my typical 3) as only one or two would be anywhere near flattering.

Overall a fun night to experiment, capturing a great band playing in a comfortable setting.  (For more on TOS visit their website: tosofficialmusic.com)

Technical: Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 @ ISO 3200, Fujifilm XS100 @ ISO 3200 most of the time.  Processed with Lightroom CC.    Nearly each shot in this gallery has some significant tweaks done to it in some way to help balance the exposure or highlight some aspect of what the original captures had.  Nothing over the top, mind you, but not worth enumerating here.   Obviously I felt some looked better in black&white.

Mother Nature was a bit cruel (again) this year.  After month after month of cloudless weekends, we get a rainy one on the weekend of Maynard Fest.   Despite the cool damp weather, many folks came out to participate and have fun. (I think the booth selling chowder and chili made a killing.) On behalf of the Assabet Valley Chamber of Commerce I tried once again to capture the spirit of Maynard Fest (while adding about 4 miles of walking to my tired feet).

Hats off to Keith Jacques, the Mill Town Rounders, Mister Vic, the MHS Jazz Band, and TOS for putting on great shows despite the rain and cold.

The gallery below has a few hundred photos in it.  It’s hard to pare down a 5 hour event with different musical acts popping up along with what’s happening on the streets.  So I’ve also included a few of my favorites below the gallery.

I hope you enjoy looking back on the day…

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Technical details: Fujifilm XS100 used for all wide-angle shots, Fujifilm X-T1 armed with the stellar 50-140mm f/2.8 took care of the rest. The X-T1 and lens proved themselves to be weather-resistant as advertised (they got pretty wet). I shielded the XS100 from the elements as best as I could. Processed in Lightroom CC. Despite the weather, I couldn’t ask for nicer light so most of the photographs are essentially straight out of the camera. A handful have minor exposure adjustments.

I had planned to make a hyper lapse while walking around, but the darn Hyperlapse program doesn’t support stabilization on the iPhone 7 and the result was pretty awful… Sigh!

Our friends Carol Noonan and Jeff Flag celebrated the first decade running their amazing Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield, Maine.  Betsy and I have made the 150 mile trip many times (wishing it was closer so we could attend more) and have had the privilege of having Carol’s permission to photograph their Stone Mountain LIVE shows several times per year.  Over those years we’ve come to call friends many of the staff and regular performers – it’s a remarkable family that they have created and we’re privileged to play a small part in their dream.

The video was created for the opening of the tenth anniversary show (following an auction hosted by Mike “Nigel” Miclon)  It was a combination of 10 years of photographs I have taken there plus photographs and video clips contributed by staff and many musicians who have performed on the SMAC stage.

You can watch it above (slightly occluded) or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWs7qu5vmAQ

The 10th Anniversary Show featured guitar legend Bill Kirchen, opera singer Lisa Saffer accompanied by classical pianist Sarah Bob, plus the extended “house band”: Duke Levine, Kevin Barry, Richard Gates, Sonny Barbato, Billy MacGillivray, Tom Hall, Paul Ahlstrand, and vocalist Chris Cote.  Bill has performed at SMAC probably half-dozen times now and is deeply respected by his fellow musicians – and he’s also just one of the nicest people ever.

I didn’t have the best location to photograph from, but I think I was able to capture a bit of the joy that ran through this special anniversary show.  Thank you Carol, Jeff, the staff and musicians who have created a truly special place in the piney woods of Maine.

Technical: Fujifilm X-T1 with the XF 50-140mm f/2.8  @ ISO 3200, Fujifilm XS100 @ ISO 1600 most of the time.  Processed with Lightroom CC.  Lately the SMAC stage lights are kept pretty low, so I’m really at the limits of what is possible from a quality standpoint.  Most of the images were underexposed by 1/2 to a full stop to keep the shutter speeds high enough to keep the images sharp.  I’m pretty impressed with the image stabilization of the XF 50-140 for handheld work like this.

 

Organized by Maynard Public Library’s Mister Mark, Truck Day attracts hundreds of local kids and gives them the chance to sit in the seats of big trucks… and discover where the horn buttons are..

Unbelievably wonderful weather was a counterpoint to the incredibly low river levels at this year’s Wild & Scenic Riverfest celebration on the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Rivers.   One of the many events was the annual OARS River Quest, where we have sort of a scavenger hunt on the rivers – great for young kids to get out and paddle with their parents.

I was a safety boater and photographer for the event, trolling around the confluence of the rivers and watching several bursts of boating traffic that almost created a traffic jam on the river.  There were a LOT of people enjoying the river on Sunday!   Here’s some scenes from the day with an emphasis on the River Quest participants:

 

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The staff of the local radio and television station, WAVM, wrapped up another year with their annual weekend games and award banquet.   Below are a few of my favorite photographs from the weekend.  You can also view the full galleries of the events:

Capture the Flag

Roll-On-America (Skating and Lazer Tag) and Mini-Golf at Kimball’s

The 2016 Awards Banquet

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The rain paused for a few key hours on Saturday and we snuck in another successful Spring Art Walk in downtown Maynard.

Thanks to the members of the Maynard Business Alliance for putting this event together once again, and to the shops and restaurants in town that participated.  We hope everyone had a great time!

Photos include:

Tim Benson doing tie dye t-shirts by Legends Comix
The Farewells at Serendipity Cafe
Spin Art and Ukulele at SMARTroom
Various Artists at 6 Bridges Gallery
Alex Kucich (Classical Guitar) at the Corner Closet Consignment
Garro Students Artwork/ Kids Obstacle Course at Metrowest Kung Fu
Frank Hinkley (Acoustic Guitar) at Charmed in New England
MHS Jazz Band at Look Optical
Garro Students Artwork at VV’s Hair Studio
Glass Blowing at Denault Studios
Joyce Dwyer drawing Pleasant Cafe
Dinner at the Halfway Cafe
Guitar at El Huipil
Black light painting, pottery and Keith Jacques at Video Signals
Garro Students Artwork and Raffle at Explore Pathways
Earth Changes Pottery
Indian Hill Music School at The Studios at 63 Main St. and Studio InSitu
Egg Rock Quartet at Gallery Seven
Bubbles outside Sugar Snap

Taking a short break from building out a new website for a client, I had the pleasure of photographing the latest production from Acme Theater here in Maynard.  “Stop Kiss” is the final show of their 2016-2016 season and it is a compelling story and staging.  It had its share of challenges on the photography front.   I’ll post another article with some details in a day or so.  For now please have a look at a few of my favorites:

Stop Kiss runs from April 29th to May 21st.   Tickets and more information at: acmetheater.com

 

One of Boston’s premiere guitar players, Duke Levine, released a new album in March (he kicks one out about once every 9 or 10 years… he’s a busy guy).  Titled: The Fade Out, is is quintessential Duke Levine, a melding of rock, roots, country, soul (and probably 3 or 4 more genres) and, also quintessential Duke, accompanied by some stellar musicians (several of which I’m happy to call friends as well).

There were several “album release” concerts during March and we caught the one up at the Stone Mountain Arts Center in Maine.   I actually ended up filming the performance, but managed to fire off a few stills here and there.   I hope some of the videos will surface soon.

The show was opened by Dennis Brennan – another Boston area favorite.

A smattering of photographs from the recent production of “Dead Man’s Cellphone” at the Acme Theater in Maynard.  (The show is long over.  I’ve been very tardy in posting here in 2016…)   The set design for the show was quite original and challenging.  A backlit projection screen provided a lot of interesting and dynamic changes.  Consequently they changed sets very frequently and quickly (sometimes using stage crew as props).  The image count went through the roof!