Shooting Gigs on Film

Up Dharma Down
Up Dharma Down

It was time.

I started shooting gigs back in 2006, and I’ve always wondered how I can shoot on film, knowing that I did casually start with this hobby dicking around with toy film cameras. Last week, I decided to stop wondering. With an unused Asahi Pentax Spotmatic SP SLR (given as a gift by a fellow gig photographer), I got the brick of Neopan 1600 film I ordered, and shot a roll.

Up Dharma Down
Up Dharma Down

I still had my DSLR in tow for the gig that night (posted about on the last half of this blog entry), but I wasn’t too happy with the images coming out of it. In contrast, I was enjoying shooting with my full-frame, LCD-less SLR, but the major concern for the entire night would be if I metered well-enough.

Was glad I did. Developed the film myself at Jay’s studio, scanned at home, and despite the dry marks on the film (been awhile since I did some developing), the photos came out. There was one thing I noticed only later: most Terno bands don’t move when playing, hence the photos I took seem very static. I still think its a good start, though, and I might even try to print these out in the darkroom.


I’m on a film photography high, but I really don’t want to just waste my Neopan 1600 film at just about any gig. Considering how dark it is at places like Saguijo and Route 196, I’m usually better off with a flash setup, which I plan to tackle very soon.

There was a gig at Eastwood City Central Plaza last Thursday that I took advantage of, since I could use 400ASA film for the event easily, and there was also this band I miss watching:


More than half of my Centuria 400 DNP roll was of Ria, and I hid myself behind the amps during their set. Talk about dedication, ‘no?

However, it was a difficult shoot. My gear: Fed 2 rangefinder camera with a Jupiter 12 35mm f2.8 lens. I was determined to use a rangefinder, but then Fed cameras don’t have the brightest viewfinders for focusing. As far as the lens goes, I wanted to use it because its been with me for sometime, and has not ever been used, as I didn’t have a 35mm viewfinder. It was just too wide for the occasion, when I could’ve just settled on a 50mm. I was thinking I could compensate by going nearer the subject, but stupid me for realizing late that this wasn’t my usual stuffy club venue. Hence, I gave in and did some cropping.

Wagyu. That isn’t some strand of hair left when scanning: that’s a flying guitar string.

It was also the first time I didn’t have a DSLR camera to back me up, or even just meter the light for reference. I just got the EXIF data out of last week’s gig at the same venue, and made the necessary calculations: f2.8 at 1/25 on 400 ASA film.

After finishing the roll, it was a trek to the darkroom again, and developed my first roll of color film. Not exactly the sort of photos to wow over, but I’m happy enough with the results.

All my photos can be found on my Flickr:

4 thoughts on “Shooting Gigs on Film”

  1. I think your photos are great 🙂 Gig photography is tricky. And personally I don’t like super crowded places so it’s hard for me to move around to take pictures. Right now I prefer your black and white pictures to the colored ones. The drama of the Up Dharma Down pictures here is great. ♥

  2. @clair thanks 🙂 again, you’ve taken the unpopular side :p so far, people prefer the colored photos more :p

    @peter i know i know

    @chaii you should try it, just know your stuff, and be prepared. and thank you very much, you just made blog comment of the day 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.