Ever have one of those shoots that you look forward to for a very long time… then it all goes to hell? Well, that’s what happened last week when I got to photograph Accept at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach. The band was great, the issues I had with the shoot were all of my own making. On the plus side, I got to rectify my mistakes the following night in Los Angeles.

I photographed Accept a few years ago at the Grove in Anaheim and it was a concert photographer dream. Good lighting, great band, lots of keepers at the end of three songs. Some of those photos ended up with Framus and used at NAMM and in advertisements in Guitar Player magazine for the Wolf Hoffmann signature guitar. Recently I went out with Accept and documented the filming of the Stampede video. So when they were coming to San Diego and LA I reached out the band and got permission to shoot the whole shows. So far, so good.

Before the show started, I talked to Peter Baltes and checked out his new bass from Framus which ended up as a very quick shoot out back.


The show started and I was way out of position. Instead of being up front where the action was happening, I was scrambling to find a good spot not obstructed by fans. With the lack of a photo pit, the low stage and the fans packed in tight up front there was just no good way to get up front without pissing off the fans. And that was something I was just not going to do.

I was able to get a good side angle on Peter for a few moments as he turned to the right. I loved the way the light played off the new bass and the while the color was off due tot he LED lights used, it really worked in black and white for me.


The one thing that a side angle was great for is getting a drummer shot that is just not possible any other way. Since I was able to get off to the side and a little higher up, all I had to wait for now was a moment and light. Didn’t happen a lot, but when it did, I was ready.


Finally the balcony offered me a pretty good angle down on the stage especially when Wolf stepped back from the edge.


All in all, the show was great but frustrating for me to shoot, especially with a band that is photo gold.