Talk about a concert photographers dream: Kiss, Eminem, Bush, House of Pain, Papa Roach and more, and thats just Saturday. What a great lineup especially for photographers, since all the bands are really visual. That was the lineup for the Saturday of the Epicenter Twenty Ten show.

Wait… there is a catch. Along with me confirmation that I was set to shoot on Saturday came the following restrictions:

Some artists have additional restrictions (see below).


  • –band management will approve limited photographers to shoot live (no photo agencies)
  • –approved photographers must sign the KISS photo release
  • –approved photographers may shoot the first two songs, no flash
  • –approved video crews may shoot the first 30 seconds of the first two songs

Eminem :

  • –limited photographers will be approved by his publicists
  • –no video is permitted
  • –approved photographers must sign the Eminem photo release

This was followed closely by :

Hi Alan,
Thanks for your interest in shooting KISS
but unfortunately your request has been declined.
Lauren Phipps Assistant to Shannon Donnelly

But hey, a shoot is a shoot and off I went to shoot the rest of the acts.

I made the two hour drive from San Diego to Fontana in a little over two hours and the first sign that the day might not go as planned was the traffic on the freeway. The traffic was backed up onto the freeway at the exit to get to the venue. This was because the traffic light at the exit was allowing about 5 cars to go at a time. No reason for this that I could see but sure was fun to sit in my car in 110 degree weather. Finally got parked and made the trek over to the Industry window to pick up my credentials. I took the email printout with me and handed it over with my i.d to the woman in the window. For some reason it took 10 minutes to get the credential, then another 20 standing in line waiting to get searched. Really not sure what that was about, since patting down my waist but ignoring the backpack seems like a waste of time. Anyway, back to the show…

I’m not going to bore you with all the details of each band, but the gist of the show was that the stages were high, the lighting was flat, there was no way to shoot the headliners, and I left before Kiss even played. The one highlight of the show for me was shooting Bush. They started at about 6:10pm and the sun set at 6:45 and with the stage facing west the light striking the stage was great.

The color was just awesome and I didn’t even mind that there were about 70 photographers in the photo pit. Actually there were about 50 photographers and 20 other press folk. What the press were doing in the photo pit trying to shoot video footage with cell phones was beyond me. Seriously, there is a difference between press and photo.

The other great photo opportunity was Papa Roach. High energy action.

The lighting, as you can see, was pretty flat. I shot close to wide open all day even with the strong light to minimize the backgrounds since there were a lot of distracting elements. I find the shallow depth of field, even in bright light helps to reduce the background but this is way easier to do with darker venues and stage lighting.

I’ll post photos from the smaller stage and the challenges from that soon. it was like shooting a completely different show.

Two things in closing; the crowd was crazy and with no real security, getting from the photo pit top the safety of the press room turned into an ordeal when eminem took the stage. The crowd surged forward and all free spaces were filled. They were filled with people using their cell phones to capture his performance.

This was shot from the crowd as I tried to leave.