Sunday, September 16, 2012


My photo assignment on Friday night was to capture some images that will be used to promote what are being called "reunions" of the Constable Jack's family. These events will be a way to keep the CJ spirit alive, even though the venue itself (in Newcastle, CA) has been closed since July of 2011.

The owners of the club, the Looper family (and various in-laws, fiances, BFF's and supporting cast) hosted a spectacular show at the Auburn Event Center, featuring three bands that played on a monthly basis when the night club was open.

Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, supplemented by a couple of locally legendary sax players, got things cranking to start the show. They were followed by Mr. December, another local/Sacramento area band that features original music of various genres. For this gig, saxes, trumpets and flute, known as the Mofunkity Horns, also took the stage with Mr.D for both originals and covers. The Daniel Castro Band, on Friday a stripped down, no-nonsense trio, kept the crowd's excitment level at a fever pitch to close the show.

The vibe was great, the food, highlighted by Jacquie's burgers, and full bar made this the place to be on a long summer's night and the show ran as long as some local festivals.

Photo opportunities were great and also presented some creative challenges. For dance floor and crowd shots, I mostly used fill flash along with the lowlight ambient lighting to capture the mood of those in attendance. Here is one of those photos, with Jim and Dana on the dance floor:

One of my pet peeves is a flash photo with a background that is very dark or black, because it lacks depth and tells you nothing about where your subjects are.

The stage lighting, although certainly bright enough, had many areas lit in different colors not necessarily suitable for any one white balance setting. Some of the hard work came after the show, while processing the photos.

Just as an example, here is a before and after pair of the same photo:

When I first looked at the photo, I thought my only option would be to go black and white. That would have also worked (see below), but I thought I'd try a few adjustments and see what I could do with the color. The steps involved were first reducing the saturation. Next, taking advantage of the fact that there was a little of Jim's Stratocaster in the frame, I used the white of the guitar as a reference for a one-click color correction. To finish off, I raised the level of the highlights and midtones slightly to prevent the photo from looking flat.

Here's how the photo looks in black and white:

I like this too, but I'm glad I invested a little time in working on the color.

I'll be glad to hear your opinions or field your questions, either here or on my Facebook business page. You can find that page here.