Miley Cyrus @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre (15/10/2014)

This came out of nowhere. It was Tuesday afternoon, I just finished walking home from work and my phone vibrated. It was an email from an editor I had done some sporadic work with in the past but who had ignored my emails for a while now. “Can you shoot Miley Cyrus tomorrow, it’s from the sound desk?” Without even thinking I responded “YES.”

A few minutes later I realised I didn’t really have the gear for shooting from the sound desk. At the entertainment centre it normally lives 40 metres back from the stage so you want a lens that is both fast and long. My longest was the 70-200mm f2.8. I had just got back from the USA (blog about that soon) where I was going to buy the 2x extender. I kind of ran out of time/drank a lot of my money so I bit the bullet and spent the morning of the concert running around Brisbane until I got what seemed like the only one in the state: former demo stock off a dusty shelf. Throw that in with a monopod I’ve been putting off getting and I was prepared. Or so I thought.

Just a pause here: I’ve been thinking about whether or not to blog these photos so soon after the event for a while. Although there was absolutely no photo contract for Miley (a huge surprise) the original gallery has never been posted, as far as I can see. Despite me editing and uploading the photos before the gig even finished. I’ve waited, I’ve emailed repeatedly with no replies, but screw it, I wanted to share them.

Heading in I thought I was ready. First 3 songs, sound desk. Yep, let’s do this. Until we discovered the truth: from the floor, in front of the sound desk. Luckily I was tall and the crowd was young, because I had to lift that heavy-ass camera, lens and monopod above the crowd. The second Miley went on and the screams started, all of the hands and signs and inflatable toys and mobile phones appeared. It was a battle to take a photo to say the least.

Some creative cropping was required when editing. I tried to spend the time composing a shot and waiting for the perfect picture instead of “spray ‘n’ pray” but every time I had a shot ready a hand or balloon would just appear in front of me. Editing this gig was 50% deleting obscured shots.

As for Miley herself… well I love pop music live. It’s more than music, it’s a show. And the Miley train came in full steam to Brisbane. She warmed up the crowd with the Flaming Lips, which I appeared to be the only one enjoying. She came out of her mouth down a giant tongue slide and had a costume change within the first song! There were dances and costumes and lots of props and lots of dancing and bright colours and shiny things and it was overwhelming to try and capture this all from quite a long distance away.

The monopod barely got over the heads of the crowd so I took to shooting with it resting on my foot to give it that extra bit of a boost yet stay stable. It seemed to work. My photos at the start of the concert I was not too happy with, but after her costume change and sitting on a car simulating male masturbation and exposing a bit of herself, I seemed to have locked my settings in. There was no doubt I was feeling a little perverted during the course of this, especially with some of the close-ups my lens and crop sensor camera allowed me.

I even got the cliche Miley tongue photo!

There was also quite a bit of her butt, which she enjoyed spanking for the crowd. Check them in the gallery below. Overall, for my first major sound-desk shoot, I was pretty happy. Looking back there were somethings I’d definitely do differently, but the added difficulty of shooting from the crowd spoiled most of the good shots I had composed.

Just as we were about to get escorted out, she danced in fake money, leading to one of my new favourite photos.

It was an absolutely fun time and rad experience and I really would love to do more pop music in the future. I’m just sad the photos never got published. Here’s a small gallery below anyway.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm | #

    Dude, I’m sad for you! These are all super fun. Nice work 🙂

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