Idea: Sooo I attended my first D&B party… Let’s roll back a bit. My boss and office-mate is none other than DJ Panzer, self-proclaimed “cultural disseminator” and as far as I am concerned D&B God :). Every now and then when Panzer rolls out to play at a questionable event he extends the courtesy of invitation even to me a Queen listening, Opera going heretic*. I have resisted so far, but this event SSD 69. : EATBRAIN CHRISTMAS NIGHT in a renowned club Fabric located in Ostrava being close to my hometown struck all my excuses out. There I was coming to a D&B event, not really knowing what to expect.
*(As if the extent of my heresy wasn’t clear enough yet, I have to admit that just before Christmas I asked Panzer what time should we meet at that R&B event. I was given a fair warning, not to repeat this heinous mistake… :))
Preparation: Not knowing what to expect, I asked couple friends and responsibly googled the “topic”. Here I’d like to say that the D&B community isn’t one easy to understand. Googling what to wear or how to prepare for D&B party I found conflicted info. Wear glow-sticks (still not quite clear on how does one “wear” those). Don’t wear glow-sticks. Wear fluorescent cloths. Fluorescent clothes is way too much. Wear a hat. Don’t wear a hat. Could you make up your collective mind people? :) The answer closest to what I believe is the D&B “norm” is “Do Whatever the F*** you want” :). For me the single greatest piece of actionable advice was to wear earplugs. Also just before I embarked on my journey to Fabric I was first offered to excuse myself due to a pretended medical condition of my parent :) and then got offered to take a taser with me :). I politely refused both offers and looked forward to my adventure.
Photo: Before any research it was quite apparent that light, well the lack of it, will present the biggest challenge. Expensive camera and expensive piece of prime glass should help you a bit, but regardless of that most of the night will be spend photographing with aperture wide open and ISO bumped up high enough (probably around 800) to get shutter speed high enough to capture the swiftly moving crowd. Decent flash is also a must that will allow you to capture portraits of all those eager participants, but for crowds and longer distances it is obviously next to useless.
Result: Well I took couple hundred photos. But I was rewarded with way more than couple gigs of RAW files. The experience was overwhelming. The crowd was more than welcoming to my photographic intrusions. The “music” (sorry for the apostrophe guys :)) was something else, something I have never experienced before. I am sad to say I haven’t fallen in love with this music and this culture but I am very glad I was given the chance by the hard hitting Panzer and won’t for a single moment regret coming. Btw. yes I am biased but when Panzer played one of his first tracks with a soothing female vocal the place got berserk… good job…
Post-Processing: Well just the general sort through the hundreds of useless photos. Pick couple. You can copy and paste the settings from the initial photo as you would probably do for any other set, but the flashing “concert lighting” will make sure that both exposure and white-balance has to be adjusted manually for every single image. There are more than couple things I should keep eye out for next time. One being – When taking picture of a crowd from the front you need flash to light up the front rows because they are “under the lights” and will otherwise form a uniform black foreground for your photos. Other – Try to pay attention to white walls that will also screw up your photos if you get them behind your subjects as they act like huge reflectors.
Suggestions: It was great fun. If you ever get a chance to photograph event such as this, go for it. Just make sure you have the permission from the organizers (which I had) and also establish eye contact with your subjects before snapping of a photo (yes you will miss some of the genuine moments but its not worth it/polite or professional to photograph someone when they don’t want to be). Also some other photographers don’t shy away from going to bathrooms and taking photos of people that might have had little more than they could handle – please don’t be one of those. Other than that go out and enjoy yourselves I know I did… My thanks are to Panzer and the organizers for inviting/letting me in, and to all the participants for making an atmosphere I might not experience ever again… Thanks…