The Flaming Lips concert is more of a non-stop spectacle than a traditional concert. I have seen amazing photos of their shows for years and always wanted to photograph on of their shows. I recently had the chance when they came through San Diego and put on their crazy performance at the Observatory in North Park.
Shooting the Flaming Lips is an adventure. Along with all the crazy antics on stage, the first three songs included giant balloons, a ton of confetti, inflatable sets, a unicorn ride through the audience, and group of very enthusiastic photographers. The following photos were taken with the Nikon D4 and D750 DSLR bodies and the 70-200mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8, and the 16mm f/2.8 fisheye. All the processing and black and white conversion was done in Lightroom.
Shooting through confetti and around balloons is bot as easy as it looks. The camera focus system usually tries to focus on whatever is closest to the camera and each of these floating confetti pieces can draw the focus away from the actual subject. Using the single focus point allow me to keep the focus right on Wayne’s face and allowed me to get more in-focus photos.
I usually don’t turn around during a concert shoot as the audience is usually in the dark and honestly not as interesting as the performance. In this case, with the huge amounts of confetti and balloons, along with the lights from the back of the stage, the audience looked really interesting.
The following photo was taken of Wayne as he rode a unicorn through the audience. The angle was not the greatest, I needed to wait until I could see Wayne through the crowd.
One last thing. The Flaming Lips is more than just Wayne even though most of the attention is usually on the lead singer. When he took his unicorn ride out in the audience, it was a great opportunity to photograph some of the other band members.