I can’t remember how I first heard about ZZ Ward, but not long after, I started hearing her songs on TV, attached to promos for some of the shows I follow. Most people who hear her are instantly drawn to her bluesy and soulful voice, and then surprised when they see the person producing said vocals, reminding them about judging books by covers and so forth.
I’ll admit I’m especially enthusiastic about this talented artist because she hails from Roseburg, OR. She’s had a couple shows in the area in the last year or so, but it finally worked out that I was able to see her up in Portland, at the Aladdin Theater. I did try to get a photo pass for her free show in Roseburg last month, but I never got a response from her publicist either way. Turns out, I probably wouldn’t have needed one, as the photo policy for the Aladdin show was fairly generous. Security wasn’t checking bags at the door, and once I started taking pictures, the staffer only came up to tell me they were limiting photos to the first three songs for each artist. Easy enough, and fairly standard.
There were two press-badged shooters there, both of whom were sporting two cameras with telephoto and wide-normal zooms. Not knowing what to expect from security, I decided to travel light with mid-telephoto and normal primes. I also shot in AI Servo mode, which I admit I’m not the biggest fan of, mostly because I do so infrequently and find I get more out-of-focus shots than I’d like. Granted, I’m really pushing things by shooting at f/1.8 (things were more consistent with the additional depth of field at f/2.8), but I plan to keep trying it to get a better handle on what to expect.
All told, I wound up with several nice shots of ZZ, and of her opening acts, James Bay and the Wild Feathers. Some variety in the perspective would have been nice, but that would have meant using lenses I didn’t have with me, as well as braving the crush of humanity at the foot of the stage. Since I was in the mode of shooting for fun, this ultimately dictated my choice of lenses and relative distance from the performers.