One of my favorite music festivals to photograph every year actually coincides with a pretty big milestone in my photography career: the first concert I ever photographed. That music festival is Deck the Hall Ball, put on annually by KNDD 107.7 The End for well over a decade, and that milestone in my photography career happened at Deck the Hall Ball in 2009 (meaning I’ve been shooting concerts for 5 years now. Whaaat?!?!). I’ve since been grateful to be invited back each year since then as a photographer, and DTHB has become the main thing I look forward to every December (yes, even more exciting than Christmas!).
This year’s Deck the Hall Ball was no exception, with a stellar lineup including Imagine Dragons, Weezer, Cage the Elephant, and Young the Giant to name a few. Admittedly, the day started off with a bit of a hitch–I got pulled into a late morning photo assignment (to shoot Gary Sinise! Couldn’t miss that!) and ended up having to high speed race my way back to Seattle to make DTHB on time. I also somehow misread the guidelines and did not realize until I arrived that this year’s entire show would have to be photographed from the soundboard. A bit of a surprise at first, but luckily I always come prepared for this scenario and I’ve gotten my fair share of practice with soundboard shoots throughout the year. I also have to admit that I was excited to shoot from the soundboard this time around. You read that right–EXCITED.
Here’s why: I’d already photographed all of this year’s artists at some point during my photography career, but from the photo pit. The prospect of getting to both witness and capture their shows from another vantage point sounded like a fun opportunity. There were even several bands on the lineup that I was hoping to have the chance to shoot from the soundboard at some point. Take for instance Cage the Elephant, who I’ve shot at least five times before, twice this year alone. Their lead singer Matt Shultz is notorious for stage diving multiple times throughout his set (and always within the first three songs), but stage dives can be tricky to photograph from the photo pit, especially for someone of shorter stature such as myself. Getting to watch Shultz’s incredible energy radiate from afar proved that he does indeed appear larger than life, even from afar.
The show itself was as always spectacular with all bands putting on energy-filled shows. My favorites were definitely Young the Giant and Cage the Elephant, and of course Weezer put my right back into my sophomore year of high school the moment the opening chords of “Hash Pipe” kicked off their set. Check out select photos of the show below, with more available here.