Concert Photography: Drunk vs. Sober

Drunk at a show – 2010

There used to be a show almost every week, sometimes on both Fridays and Saturday nights. Ritualistically, I’d meet my friends outside the venue, smoke some pot, go inside and get started on drinks. I’d usually drink rum and coke and do a shot of something every so often. I have always been a lightweight, so I would catch a buzz quickly. The first band would start playing, and most of the time I was right there, drink in one hand and camera in the other. I would go take smoke breaks in between bands, getting more stoned and having more drinks. The photos would get a little sloppier and so would I. But there I was, right there by the stage, boldly snapping picture after picture, laughing with my friends, and the night might possibly end with me having a bit too much to drink and getting the spins. Sometimes I would look at the pictures the next day and the last set would have me wondering what I was even aiming for.

This behavior wasn’t good for me on a personal level, that’s for sure. After looking inward, I realized I drank this way at shows to help me cope with being around a lot of people. I’m an introvert with an aloof demeanor, I only like to talk if I have something to say, my face can look grouchy if I’m not showing any emotion, and I often amuse myself by thinking and observing. The thing I get most from people is they think I am angry, stuck up, or I don’t like them. Knowing that people misinterpret my personality, I felt it was more desirable for others if I offer the tipsy version of myself to compensate with added friendliness. Although everything was a humorous drunken blur, I’m pretty sure I still failed at being social because I wasn’t being my true self. But this is on a personal level.

Let’s discuss the difference between the drunk me and the sober me when it comes to taking pictures at shows.

One of the biggest differences is how I feel when I am taking the pictures. When I was drinking, I would stand my ass up there by the stage, take a few hundred pictures all night long of all the bands and a lot of the people socializing and moshing. My intention was to always capture these experiences as they happened and preserve them in a way that will tell the same story to everyone who looks at the pictures, whether or not they were even there. I think I did well at doing so. But after I sobered up, this changed. I hate to be in the spotlight and always felt I was hiding behind my camera, but being sober, it feels like I’m not hiding at all. If anything, I feel like I am too much in the center of everything. If I’m photographing anyone who I am not familiar with, I just feel like an intrusive jerk, flashing my flash in their faces. This makes me feel so awkward that photographing bands I don’t know in venues I am not familiar with is almost a no. “Let’s let this towns local metal photographer photograph this.”, I’ll say to myself. And then I feel bad if there is no other metal photographer and a good experience went undocumented.

Another thing I notice that drunk me did was I used to try to take pictures of all the bands, even if they weren’t my cup of tea. Even if they sucked. Sorry, but some bands suck, and that’s a fact. But I would be the nice guy and take a shit ton of pictures of all the bands and support the scene. Sober me isn’t so generous. Sober me knows I don’t owe anything to everybody, so I am more inclined to photograph my friends bands or other bands I like. A great stage presence definitely catches my interest. But I no longer feel obligated to provide something to everyone, especially not knowing if my efforts are even appreciated.

Drunk me used to spill drinks all over myself and my camera, moshing around and rubbing all over sweaty bodies. Sober me kind of just stands there, not pushing my way up to the stage, not smashing myself up against people because I don’t like touching strangers and I also don’t mosh anymore. If I can get a clear shot of the band without getting in peoples way, then cool.

If there’s any other differences worth mentioning, I can’t think of them now. That’s probably because it will be a year in March since the last time I went to a show. I am sure when shows start up again, I’ll probably be even more socially awkward then I have ever been. I don’t know how that will affect the way I take pictures. I’ll have to start with my friends who i have been photographing for over ten years and then go from there. But one thing I know is I would rather be socially awkward than spend too much money on drinks, act too friendly, and get hangovers.

Getting out.

Still in the pandemic, but I’ve been getting outdoors a bit recently. Just a little bit. Still no shows. And I still haven’t done any film or developing, but I need to because I miss it.

Here are a few self portraits from recent outings. I’m not terribly used to being in front of the camera, but I might try it more often. Just as a form of expression. Maybe I’ll get a little artsy, we’ll see.

Trying to find motivation

I don’t believe I’ve developed film all year and haven’t been to any shows since March, due to stupid pandemic. I hope to do a photo shoot soon.

I did buy a few props for one I have planned, so I’m eager to do that. I would really love to do more masked shoots.

And I want to do more film! The only thing is my color chemicals are out of date. I need to dispose of them. I have more chemicals for black and white. I’ll have to order color chemicals if I want to do that.

Update on film developing

…or lack thereof.

I haven’t been developing any film lately. Mostly because I haven’t been going anywhere, which is lame of me. I feel like I have a lack of subjects. I don’t want to take pictures of anything and everything. If it was digital photography, that’s no problem, but the film costs money and development uses chemicals and takes time. And after all the old film I developed from eleven years ago, seeing all the people I photographed that aren’t even a part of my life and images that hold no artistic value, I am reluctant to photograph anything and everything. I’d rather photograph good friends and really neat stuff. Not just taking pictures of anything out of desperation.

There’s another reason I have been slacking off. Last time I wrote an entry, I complained that my images had a weird blue hue. I honestly don’t think that it my fault. I think it is the cheap film scanner I purchased from Amazon! I purchased the Jumbl scanner for about $60 and it did a decent job at scanning a whole bunch of my old negatives. I used to notice most of them did have a blue hue to it, but thought it’s because the negatives were old. I had no idea. It doesn’t auto correct color, but there’s a setting to adjust the color before scanning. I didn’t mess with it much, though, because the screen is small and you can’t really fix everything accurately.

I went to Amazon to see if there was any reviews mentioning the blue hue, and sure enough…it was mentioned!

“Sorry to say, but the item is junk!!! I tried the product thru 1,000 slides and they were all BAD! They all turned out BLUE! I tried all software provided to adjust color, but just didn’t work. I returned it to Amazon who docked me $30 for S/H and Restock Fees. Never again.
I just bought an Epson V600 FlatBed Scanner (Not from Amazon) to do the job. Now I get to start all over again. I have a total of about 8,000 35 mm Slides to do.”

Well there’s that, plus I am sure a better quality scanner can produce better quality scans! So this cheap scanner isn’t showing the full potential of the quality. 😦 I do have an old scanner but I don’t have the adapter to scan negatives. It’s a good scanner for prints, though. So I really want to know what my film photography would look like scanned on a better scanner.

My old photo archive on Flickr will come to an end.

I first started my pro Flickr account 10 years ago and have been paying only $24.99 for it annually. After about 36,000 photos uploaded there, I went on a hiatus for a few years.

You may view it here: Old Flickr Photo Archive

When I decided to pick up my camera again, I decided to start a new Flick account and start  fresh. You may view the new one here: Photo Gallery on Flickr

The new account is currently a free account because you get a terabyte of space for free, so I’d rather not bother getting a second pro account. But Flickr has notified us that they will be making changes and will no longer be providing the free terabyte! Free accounts will allow 1000 photos or videos. Pro accounts will cost $49.99 annually! I’m not paying $100 a year for two pro accounts, hell naw.

This leaves me with a decision to make. As of now, I have decided I will probably upgrade my newer gallery to a pro account once I get closer to uploading 1000 images. But as for the old archive, I will probably cancel the pro account renewal. I believe all the images on that account will be reduced to only 1000, which is the maximum for free accounts, which I might even consider deleting that account all together. It will feel weird to delete it after 10 years, but it makes me wonder if anyone even visits it anymore, anyways. Blah, I figure it’s time to move onward.

Anyways, I believe all of this takes effect in April 2019. Enjoy my old archive while you still can.




Shortly after I did my shoot with Gloriam Draconis, I was also honored to do a shot with Defecrator. They are a black/death metal band from Sacramento. They are currently working on their full length and seeking to play more shows outside the Sacramento area.

Anti-Human Black/Death of Satan
Angel Raping Invoker of Bestial Chaos: guitar/vocals
Anti-Human Unholy Sexslayer of Hate: drums/vocals
Abhorrent Orgy Ejaculator of the Dead: bass/vocals
Check them out: