It’s 2:19 AM and I am in my hotel room going over images I shot tonight at the 1st show of the Seal South American tour in Buenos Aires Argentina. As most of you already know, I am on the road with Seal for the next 3 weeks. There will be 10 or 11 shows and I will be shooting at all of them with a Leica M9 and various lenses. For tonights show I planned on using the Noctilux ASPH f/0.95 along with the 135 telyt but the 135 was a bit too slow (in regards to Aperture) so I ended up shooting with a 28 elmarit and of course, as mentioned, the king of the ring…the fantastic NOCTILUX ASPH.
I missed focus on this as it was dark and I grabbed it VERY quick. Upon entering the Venue this little girl and her father were waiting to meet Seal and even though the image is OOF, you can see the smile on the little girls face as she gets what she wished for…an autograph on her shirt.
What I wouldn’t give to own this beauty of a lens. Seal is letting me borrow it for the tour and I have to say that if I believed in the past that the Nocti and the M9 made a great concert shooting pair, tonight I believe it to be THE BEST. Yes, above the Canon 1d’s and the Nikon D3’s…
I have written about it before but I would say that 98% of all photographers who shoot concerts and live performances shoot with Nikon or Canon. Not that this is a bad thing as Nikon and Canon make FABULOUS and highly capable cameras. BUT if one wants to be original and make their work like this stand out, a Noctilux attached to the M9 is a magical thing, even today.
If I had to use a DSLR for shooting live performances such as this it would probably be a Canon 5D (I or II) or Nikon D700 but my preference will always be with the Leica M9/Nocti combo. The mix of full frame, Leica glass, and manual focusing make it fun, challenging, AND rewarding when you see the results.
Tonights show was awesome. Of every Seal show I have seen, this was by far my favorite as the band was tighter than ever and Seals voice was about the best I have heard it. The set list rocked as well. I had a BLAST watching and documenting the show and even the little 28 Elmarit did really good. It surprised me. That lens is sharp, contrasty and sort of a super deal in the land of Leica glass.
Being that it is so wide on the M9, with the 28 I was right up against the stage and at one point I went to move further to the back and realized I was surrounded by hundreds of people. I ended up staying at center stage for the last 1/4 of the show 🙂
So without further ado, here are a few more images from night #1. I won’t be posting ALL of them, just my faves. ALL shot with the 50 Nocti ASPH and the 28 Elmarit. The color in the Nocti shots just POP!
It’s now 3AM here so I need some sleep and tomorrow I may walk around Buenos Aires to do some photography and sight seeing. If I get anything interesting I will post them here! Also, Seal is posting some personal pics to picortwo.com almost daily. You can follow him HERE.
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I was at the show in Buenos Aires. The photos are really great!
Good choice, M9 and Noctilux are best.
The shots show every moment of the event.
I did leave a shot from the floor.
Simply I can’t find words how good what I hear from Seal, and what I see from Steve. God bless you, and also, what are you doing guys!
Your concert shots are blowing me away! Fantastic work. Like you said, most people would not have thought of a RF camera being ideal for this kind of work, but obviously it is. In your hands any way! Wonderful.
Steve your ability to focus with the Noc spot on is truly impressive. You inspire me to go out with my Noc more often and be as good.
The photos of Seal reaching out to the fans are so moving. You also captured the facial emotions in the photo of mother and child…Amazing job!
Just posted some quick unprocessed behind the scenes from Santiago on our day off. OOC’s from the Ricoh.
Fantastic…. Love the yellows and the greens. The green creamy look of the bass guitarist is simply beautiful.
Are you shooting the Nocti wide open?
Thanks for the performance, I am almost there myself…
Glad to see that you are having a blast with Seal, look forward to seeing some more of your shots.
All photos are simply mind blowing!!!! Question if you have time to answer, how in the freaking hell did you get the shot with the fingers ( 11th photo from top ) clean? This is incredible shot, i love it!
Also glad to see shots from the Elmarit 28, hopefully see more in the days to come. I have often thought this is one underrated piece of Leica glass, i use it on my 8.2 as a 35mm, it is a beast! The 0.95 on the other hand is in a world of its own, as Seal said, seeing how you use it here, Leica should be glad to give you one for free!
And Seal and the band as well 😉
Great photos , you’ve managed to capture the stage lighting excellently.
Well done my man! All pics are great but I especially like the 6th from the bottom.
Say a 100 times: “No I don’t need a Noctilux. No I don’t need a Noct…….”
But I’m afraid I want one after seeing Steve’s pics.
Great pics here, really nice work. Definitely a unique look that cannot be achieved with Canon’s or Nikon’s. I really like the out of focus areas, even the foreground OOF are great with the noctilux.
speechless.. these are the prove that picture worth a thousand words..
Wow, great images all but some of them are as good as it gets. Fantastic job, Steve. Can’t wait to see what you do in Brazil.
Really, I do not know of any other lens capable of this…
The Noctilux’s really fantastic, but we don’t need it, if we have this: http://www.stevehuffphotos.com/Steve_Huff_Photos/Blog/Entries/2009/5/17_HOW_TO_PROCESS_YOUR_IMAGES_IN_PHOTOSHOP,_LESSON_1.html
Steve – I love that shot of Seal signing the girl’s shirt! I love the focus not being on the shirt. The focus is actually from Seal’s perspective of the situation and has a neat effect of giving us a glimpse of seeing the situation through his eyes as a performer. That shot is what it is all about, the fact that you posted a shot that you admitted you didn’t nail the focus is very brave and to be admired. I thought back focused it on purpose to show a different perspective, kind of like the one from the last tour below:
Great job on these shots!
Hey, kids… Looks like you guys are up to a great start… All are fantastic images but I am digging #3, #14, #20, #22 and #24… Oh, and tell Marcus he is looking awesome!
Hey Steve fantastic work! I’m wondering if the fact that you play guitar and have a musical sense helps you to anticipate the ebb and flow of a concert and catch those wonderful moments? You’ve certainly shown that you’re in sync with 6 and his band here.
As a musician, I would doubt being one would offer any advantages whatsoever. I think it might be that he’s just a great photographer
I agree with you. It is more about identifying a visual opportunity by observing a scene versus understanding what the musician is doing with his instrument.
BTW I can highly recommend a low key pizza place in Buenos Aires. It is called El Cuartito at the corner of Paraguay and Talcahuano. Great place for a late pizza and beer.
Pizza??? How about a steak! unless you are a vegetarian….
La Cabrera is the best! Cabrera/Thames in Palermo
Wow, I have seen some great concert pictures before, but these are stunning. Brilliant work. May I ask how you are able capture movement with manual focus ?
Thanks Daniel. Well, I am so used to shooting manual focus that for me, it is like second nature. I am patient, I focus and then wait for the moment. If the subject moves, I follow the movement with the focus until I am ready to fire. It wore me out after two hours of shooting but I enjoy it 🙂
Amazing art all around (Steve, Seal and the rest of the band). What a great team you all make! So happy to see your amazing work! Keep it up!
Thanks sas…Seal makes it easy to capture these shots 🙂
Awesome pictures Steve!! I was right next to you the entire show (shooting Nikon D3000 zoom lens) and was in fact the girl he sang Kiss From A Rose to. Love that shot you posted, I am sure you have lots more, it would be soooo awesome if you could email me the pictures of me to email@example.com.
Thanks and keep up the good work! The photos you took are amazing!! I wanted to know if you do any motor sport photography as well, i.e Formula 1?
The one with Seal holding the guitar, BW, and a background light is fantastic!!
The better for me! But its a hard choice…
The shots are really emotional!!
Thanks, that is what I usually go for. 🙂
Steve, congratulations on these exceptional images. You have given the viewer so much to see, your images have captured so much emotion it really gives you a sense of what it must be like to be there. I love the cropping and the angles that you are shooting at and I look forward to seeing more.
My favourites are the yellow jacket and the double light flare on the guitar image of Seal, just fantastic.
Thanks Jim. Those are some of my faves as well. Can’t wait for Santiago Chile on Tuesday night!
Steve…great stuff..you manual focusing abilities are awesome.
Nice well-rounded group of images to capture ALL of the emotion…and those M9 files….WOW!
Now…if you want to keep your focus this amazing for the rest of the tour…remember…don’t drink the water! LOL.
Oops! I already did! …. Good thing it was bottled water! Lol. Thanks man!
Steve. Don’t show me more of these pictures. My bank account is already in shock and won’t survive a Noctilux purchase. Even thinking about it would be dangerous. Beautiful work.
Amazing pictures, what a dream lens indeed!
What’s Noct to love? Great shots.
Steve, What a great series of shots! The fist yellow shot has a richness and pop the just keeps you staring at it! The one of the mother and child we be one shot you will go back to year after year to admire and relive the capture of emotion. The shot of Seal’s hand has an almost 3D effect. Keep up the great work.
Hey Steve, your work just keeps on getting better and better! Congrats! More significantly, there is definitely a personal style coming through, well done, enjoy BA…
Too much wonderful stuff to mention any significant portion of it in comment. I like the softness of the slightly oof autograph pic Steve, I think it adds something. Mother and son may be the best shot ever. But one of my faves is the boots shot with Seal’s shadow echoing behind, to see that and catch it at the speed stuff moves at in concert takes a special talent, special eye (and practice doesn’t hurt, either).
Lots of crowd interaction, Seal; you love them as much as they love you, something special shared. Nice. And Steve lets us share it too.
Thanks, guys. More more more!
I Have made the last year a few shots on a concert here in Gijón and I know it is hard to get that type of pictures.
You are doing a great job Steve and Seal’s concerts are the better places to have that great shots that you do.
Congratulations to you Steve and to Seal for all theat great moments that you are giving to us.
These shots are not only great, they are giving us an emotional picture as well. I can see Seal pouring his love out to his fans, what an awesome performer he is.
Wonderful shots, Steve! I am really impressed by your ability to capture the emotion in these shows.
Wow! Some amazing shots! Clearly better than the ones from the last tour.
so far so good!
Wow, Steve & Seal – what a beauty!
Thanks for getting together to share these moments with us!
I can really feel the atmosphere at the show.
Seal, your music will always bring joy to me.
Steve, your pictures are just fabulous – No. 11 is one of the best I’ve seen from the concert…
Brilliant, just brilliant ! I know it’s hard to do concert photo’s with a leica and manual focusing. But these are just amazing. Even the compositioning is very strong. The Noct captures these in a unique way. I hope one day I can afford one 😉
Great work Steve.
Thanks Ernie, yea…me too!
Awsome shots, looks like a great show. Hope Seal will come down to Australia soon too.
Brilliant Steve. Good job.
Thank you Sebastian!
Steve, some of those images are just perfect! The ‘yellow’ series is awesome: such great movements and colours! The little boy in the crowd and with his mother are so touching and beautiful!. I am really impressed and amazed, Steve! Great photography; very natural, pure emotions and perfectly executed.
Noctilux is one amazing lens! The 28 Elmarit is great, too. I wonder how it would compare with 28 Zeiss Biogon? Any possibility of a comparison test in the future? I have the Biogon and I love it.
Hey Greg, thanks for the comment. The 28 Elmarit is sharp, contrasty and has a lot of “bite” but is a great lens on the M9. Very “Dynamic”. The Zeiss has more of a saturated and warm look but is also sharp. Basically the Zeiss vs Leica look…
Thanks, Steve! Elmarit (last ASPH version) is tempting with its size and Leica look but the price is twice as much as Zeiss. Besides, I just love the Zeiss look. I wouldn’t mind having both… I hope Santa is taking notes.
By the way, I put on “Love’s Divine” while watching this… brought me to tears, from 4000 miles away
Amazing work, Steve and Seal. The images here are so alive, so vibrant, certainly reflective of the showmanship and skill exhibited by you, Seal….What a pair you two make, in terms of creating this art. Steve, these are some of my favorite pics from you….some of the OOF elements, particularly in the Noctilux shots, are truly magic. There’s simply no other camera-lens combo that can achieve that depth of field and separation, and some of these shots should make it into an album cover, press junket or something of the like….
Great stuff. I’ll keep enjoying from here in Seattle, and I am very excited to see much more!
Thanks Ashwin 🙂
Thank you guys for sharing these great emotions! I would have liked to being there..
Great shots from Steve, wow! Noctilux seems to be really fantastic..in your hands. Enjoy and have a good time!
Seal, it’s very special being in touch with us all.
Love the shots!
When I first started with photography my dream was to photograph at concerts. I actually bought my first Leicas to smugle in to concerts. The Minilux which had some manual settings and I got some decent shots. Also had the Mini Zoom for a while. It wasn’t that easy so instead I started taking pictures of nature and animals… Anyway, must be fun taking picture this way and I take it you don’t have the first three song limit! 🙂
No, I do not have the 3 song limit. I actually climbed my way up to a catwalk above the crowd last night to get a couple of shots but I wasn’t happy with the way they turned out. Shooting something like this with lots of movement is challenging, especially with a f/0.95 manual focus lens but the rewards are worth it 🙂 I rarely get to shoot anything really cool these days (reviews are mainly snapshots) so doing this tour will exercise my creative eye a little more than usual. Lol..
One of Mark putting on his wire moments before the show.
The shot of the mic stand and Seal’s shadow is excellent. A great alternative view of proceedings. Enjoy the Nocti. I want one badly now
AWESOME Steve! People, lets just get it out right now. Yea the Noctilux is great….but Steve’s eye and ability to anticipate and capture is very rare indeed. Just check out picture with mother child. Her name was Marianella and her son’s name was Nicolas. She cried through ‘Secret’ and ‘Silence’. I was so overwhelmed that I had to hold back the tears from crying with her to the point where I almost couldn’t sing. These moments are what I do it for. I will never, ever be able to communicate what it feels like to be singing memories from your soul, words and melody that you’ve written from personal experiences, then feel the connection with someone who’s right there with you, feeling their joy and pain along with yours….I would be lost if I couldn’t have that.
On another note here’s a link to some behinds the scenes frames just before we went on. All taken with the Ricoh GXR and the 28mm f/2.5 wide open ranging from ISO 800~1600.
Amazing work. Seal, the link provided below doesn’t work, something to do with your privacy settings…Regardless, the images, the words that you write, all spin a magical tale. Thanks again for sharing in your life with us here. It’s truly special. Your music has the power to move worlds, and people like Marianella and Nicolas will be so much the happier for having you share this moment in their lives….
Wow, Seal, this story is very touching! I wish I was there to cry and rejoice with you guys! This is what life is about: sharing emotions, helping one another to overcome the sad ones and sailing together through the happy ones. Thank you for sharing it here with us!
I agree with you 100% on what you say about Steve and his ability to anticipate and capture the great moments. This is what great photography is all about: the photographer’s eye; his soul and talent. Cameras and lenses help a great deal but just by themselves (or in the wrong hands) they are useless junk, no matter how fancy or technically supreme.
Your link is privacy-restricted and therefore inaccessible but I browsed through your general Flickr page (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sealsong/) and found many great pictures there.
Good luck with the rest of your tour! The start was just fantastic! I wish I was there.
You know what, Seal, I’ll make an embarrassing confession here. Prior to having some communication with you on Steve’s blog, I didn’t know your music at all. Yep, I’m that old-fashioned: ages behind our times, being an early classical music aficionado… But now I’ve started to listen to some of your songs and I must say that I was very moved by your musical talent, your voice and your storytelling ability. Duh! The whole world knows that already… I am way too late with my ‘discovery’. But it’s MY discovery and I am happy about it! Sorry for my ignorance. Keep up the great work you’re doing!
Thank you Greg,
There are times when it appears I don’t even know my own music like last night for intense, forgetting lyrics like an amateur! Love your comment about Steve and the Noctilux. I hear echoes from people of “what a brilliant lens” and “ooh, I must get me one of those”. Well I’ve had this one for over a year and the predessors be for it so how come I never took pictures like the ones Steve continues to capture. Hence my ironic title for the M9 competition ‘it’s not the photographer, it’s the camera stupid’. As you say, the Noctilux without the eye of those who can tame it is nothing more that a $10,000 paperweight.
The image of Woman and child is something to behold. The first image of my yellow jacket is enough to warrant Leica providing Steve not only with his own Nocitlux but a life long supply of any Leica gear he wishes in my opinion, seeing as theres no one I can think of out there commanding and spreading the word, therefore selling Leica gear like Steve, I’m just so happy to have my friend here with us. The interesting thing about him is that although he has a very distinctive (albeit calm) presence, Steve has the one quality I wish for but will never have……the cloak of invisibility! I swear he flicks a switch and becomes invisible as if by magic. On a professional level this is why he’s here, floating unobtrusively amongst our inner sanctum. If you haven’t met him he’s one of those rare guys that you can’t help wanting to know. He’s deep but never heavy, the kind of person you can be alone in a room with and not feel obliged to talk, sometimes for hours. That’s when you know you’ve found a friend.
just by looking from the photos you can see there is a bond, i have been lucky enough to photograph and have musicians as friends…and know that there has to be that kinship…and it is reflected in the results. enjoy your tour and looking forward to seeing more pix.
Seal, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and experiences here. It’s invaluable (and highly unusual, I must say) when someone of your stature opens up his heart like this at a photography blog. We have an expression in Russian: “a man of great soul”. I have a feeling this can be attributed to you. And this is not some cheap praise (I wouldn’t care for that). I mean it.
What you and Steve and other great photography enthusiasts are doing here is just amazing! This has become not just my favourite photo blog but a place where I feel at home. This is beyond photography and it’s what I love about it.
Photography is a means of expression, not a means in itself. Gear, Noctilux or whatever, is just tools helping us to express what we feel and want to share. There are great brands like Leica out there, no doubt. They’re much fun and they mean quality. But the biggest thing is the human heart. If the heart is mature the eyes will follow, the hands will follow, even the great equipment will come, if needed. I am totally with you on the idea that Steve should be supplied by Leica, unconditionally, with any gear he requires. I’m sure they will embrace this idea some day.
No, I don’t know Steve personally. I’m in Russia and he is in the US. But I would love to meet him, and you, too. How about this: bring him with you when you come to Russia this year. We have the Leica Academy here and they regularly do master-classes with great photographers and proponents of Leica equipment. I’m sure they would love the idea to have Steve come over and do a master-class and an exhibition of your South American tour photos (I’ve seen enough exhibition material already and it’s just the first concert).
Just a thought; totally doable, I suppose. What do you think, Seal, Steve? I know some people in the industry here and I can talk to them if needed. Send me an email if you like the idea. If it flies I hope I’ll get a free pass for the master-class…
I like your thoughts about invisibility. All great photographers share this quality. I am glad to hear Steve has it, too. Photographically yes, but otherwise you don’t want to become invisible, Seal. Imagine, you come on stage and nobody sees you… Bad for the business…
You’re right and Steve really earns the compliments…
I do have the Noctilux f1.0 and the M9 too but also a Nikon D3s and fast lenses – 85mm f1.4, 50mm f1.4, lots of f2.8 zooms and I would say you can do high quality, astonishing photos too with that Nikon gear…and, NO out-of-focus pics would happen to you.
Wish you and Steve a fantastic time on your ongoing tour…
Keep on pushing! What a joy in life with a working-combination of outmost creativity mixed with strong emotions..
happy and meaningfull moments..! (then life is worth..)
Thanks for the kind words, I really enjoyed shooting this show. Just happy I was up there for that moment with the Mother and son 🙂
Holy Cow, that Yellow jacket looks amazing, the photos look amazing, its alllllllllllll amazing.
Yea that yellow pops…the combo of his jacket and the color rendering of the Noct Asph were killer.
BTW, wish I could attend an actual Seal concert! They look like they’d be amazing!
These look FANTASTIC!!!! Can’t wait to see both your street photography and more concert pics at the other locations! Keep up the good work!
Thanks Dan 🙂
great shots! doing big things steve! have fun!