It is a well known fact that there's next to nothing to do in Lewisburg, TN. However, the much more interesting city of Nashville is only an hour north, so my plan for all of last week was to find a good section of the city to go to then essentially wander around there on Saturday. I still plan on doing that one day soon, but luck/fate/divine intervention stepped in on Friday evening when I flipped on the radio and K-Love, the biggest Contemporary Christian Music station around, came on. In between songs, they were talking about the K-Love Fan Awards that had just started that evening and going through to Sunday, but what first caught my ear was that there was a charity 5K Run for Love that benefited the Hands and Feet Project Saturday morning. Why not go? It was in Nashville like I was already planning on, and even though I run a lot I've never done a 5K before, so on the spur of the moment I decided to go, got everything ready the night before, and left before 5:30am Saturday morning.
The day started hot and humid, and at 8:00am the race began within a stone's throw of the Grand Ole Opry. Out of the few hundred participants many of them walked, but me and my newly acquired free 5K T-shirt finished in just under 21 1/2 minutes. Since my camera gear was parked about a half mile away and it obviously couldn't run with me, I didn't get many shots of the race, but it was still fun to finally be in one. Once the live performances started, though, then the camera and all his friends came out to play.
There was quite the line-up of performers. Matthew West, TobyMac, Tenth Avenue North, Plumb, Danny Gokey, I Am They, Lauren Daigle...and those are just some of the ones I saw in person. There were a bunch of others that were there on Sunday and not Saturday. Since there were so many on one day it wasn't like a full concert, but instead a stage that they all rotated out on at different times. Even so, it had the volume and feel of a concert bigger than what the available area would normally permit.
To start things off was The Digital Age, the lead singer of which, Mike Dodson, can be seen in the Weekly Photo here belting it out during one of his last songs. Shortly after that was Lauren Daigle, who ended up winning the Worship Song of the Year with "How Can It Be", and who actually sounds better in person than in her recordings in my opinion, which is opposite of the norm. One of my favorite shots is of Chris August's drummer waiting for their show to start.
Not only was this an outright cool experience, it was also a major trial run for concert work with the Canon 100-400mm telephoto lens. It's not very fast (it maxes out at f/4.5) and I had to shoot at ISO 800 most of the time, but it did surprisingly well under the circumstances. The biggest problem was reducing blur since I couldn't use a super fast shutter speed and everything was shot handheld. Out of the 1,200+ shots taken I kept roughly 400, and out of that there were about 60 really good ones that will end up in a dedicated folder on the website later this week.
So to all of you photographers out there, if you ever get the chance to cover a concert, take it. The lights, energy, and overall spectacle of it make for an amazing subject. Even if you've only got a few hours notice ahead of time.
Long live spur of the moment.
To see the full gallery of photos from the event, click on one of the photos here.