Back in 1989, The Allman Brothers added guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody.  These two, along with drummer Matt Abts, got together when the Allman Brothers band had the day off  to play in a power trio called Gov’t Mule. Since that time, Gov’t Mule has gone through a lot of changes, beginning with the death of Woody and the addition of a keyboard player.

Danny Louis was added as the new full time keyboard player and Andy Hess (no relation, but a great photographer as well) was the new bassist, until the fall of 2008 when Hess left the band to be replaced by Jorgen Carlsson on bass.

Gov't Mule performing

ISO 1250, 50mm, f/2.8 1/50 of Sec (Cropped in Lightroom)

On Thursday night, Warren and Gov’t Mule made their only Southern California stop on their Kinder Revolution Tour and I was lucky enough to shoot it. I first shot Gov’t Mule when they opened for Bob Weir & RatDog this summer but since I was shooting through RatDog, I didn’t have to go through the regular channels for a photo pass. This time was different. This time I needed to apply for the photo pass through Gov’t Mule management and was finally given permission to shoot the show less than 24 hours before the doors opened.

I showed up at the venue, a chain of concert halls with attached restaurants that have some very restrictive camera policies, got my photo pass from the band and from the venue. Then came the photo pass release forms, one from the venue, one from the band and since I don’t have a copy of either release, I am not going to name the venue and if the photos from this post all disappear then you will know why. 

Gov't Mule - Warren Haynes

ISO 1250, 120mm, f/2.8 1/125 of Sec (Cropped in Lightroom)

After a great set by the opening act, Gov’t Mule took the stage. The place was packed, and since the venue had decided that there was no need for a photo pit, I was in the middle of a very rowdy crowd who seemed to have been drinking since the doors opened. There was going to be no way to use a second camera body and I was going to have to be very careful that the exuberant crowd didn’t damage the 70-200mm lens that I had on my camera. I had managed to position my self in front of Warren Haynes, not the best angle to shoot him at, but it did give me a great angle on the new bass player, Jorgen Carlsson.

Gov't Mule - Jorgen Carlsson

ISO 1250, 120mm, f/2.8 1/50 of Sec 

After the first song ended, I started to feel the crush of the crowd and feared for the safety of my gear. I made my way back towards the soundboard to try to get some shots of the whole stage. This was fine for a while but even the back of the room was getting crowded so I moved to the balcony. 

The balcony had a reserved seating section and some great angles of the stage, but I could only be there for a few minutes so as not to disturb the concert goers who had paid for those seats. After a while, I realized that I was not going to be able to shoot anymore and that my camera and camera bag was now a hinderance in moving around the venue.  I returned my gear to my car and went back to watch the rest of the show. Since i had asked permission to leave and return before walking out the securit let me back in and I spent the rest of the show as a fan.

The full gallery of images is HERE.

Post Processing

I did all the post processing of this shoot in Lightroom 2 and and used the new “Open as layers in Photoshop” to create the two tryptichs. I selected the three images of Warren Haynes that  I wanted to combine and opened them as a single image in Photoshop CS4 with each of the three photos on its own layer.

I then rotated the image 90 degrees and created two new guides, 1 at 33.3% vertical and 1 at 66.6% vertical. This divided the image into 3 equal sections and gave me a guideline as to where the 3 individual photos of Warren would need to be. Then it was a matter of rotating the three layers to the correct orientation and aligning Warren in all three images.

When the resulting image was saved, it appeared in my lightroom directory automatically.

Gov't Mule - Warren Haynes - Tryptich

All three images ISO 1250, 200mm, f/2.8 1/100 of Sec
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