Craig Reynolds for Rhythm Magazine
If you have never been to The Underworld in Camden, London you are missing out. It’s one of the most awesome small venues in London to see a show. I have been there quite a few times before, taking in awesome shows. But, I had never been there to take portraits before and this was a shoot I was very excited to do!
I was at The Underworld to photograph Stray From the Path drummer Craig Reynolds. Stray From the Path were opening for Stick to Your Guns and when I walked into The Underworld it was already abuzz with excitement and anticipation for the show. Whenever I am taking photos at a venue before a show, getting in and finding the people I need to find is always interesting. Sometimes I have to call someone to escort me through, other times I can just walk right in the backstage door. Generally when you are dragging a large case and look like you belong, no one even questions you walking in. This was exactly the case when I arrived at The Underworld for this shoot. I walked in through the back, navigated my way through the maze that is backstage, and found my way out to the main floor.
When I arrived on the main floor I found Craig straight away. He, along with nearly every other member of Stray From the Path, was standing along the raised area of the floor watching the singer finish his sound check. There was an issue with one particular guitar, and you could definitely hear it. There was a definite ringing coming from one guitar in particular, and it looked like it was going to be a little while before we were going to have access to the stage.
Having access to the stage is imperative for shoots like this. It is a shoot for a magazine dedicated to drummers after all, and I needed to get photos of Craig playing, Craig’s kit, and then I always take a few portraits at the kit as well. Talking with Craig, we decided to start with some portraits out on the floor while we waited for the stage to be available. This was perfect for me anyways. I always like to take the portraits first so that I don’t have a sweaty drummer if we did the playing shots first. I also already knew that I wanted to use some of the pillars on the floor in the portraits. The pillars in The Underworld all tell their own story. They are covered in stickers, and they can look completely different every time you see them. This story was something I wanted to capture…that, and I just thought they would look cool in the photos! Craig also held his signature Vic Firth sticks perfectly so that we could see the logos. 😀
Doing these portraits whilst the singer was still on stage was a little interesting. We couldn’t hear each other very well, and you know the story. You are talking loudly so that you can be heard, and then BAM…music stops and you suddenly sound like you are screaming. This happened to us more than once, but provided quite a few good laughs when all the rest of the venue hears is “metal face” or “on your ass”.
One of the awesome things about photographing Craig is that he naturally has a great “rock” face (see “metal face” above). He just instantly fell into character and gave me some extraordinary expressions for the shoot.
Once we finished with the portraits on the floor, we didn’t have to wait long before the stage was clear and ready for us to use. Next up, some portraits sitting on the stage next to the iconic, bright orange, Underworld monitors. This was something else I knew that I wanted to do before I arrived. The lighting guy left the stage lights on so I decided to play with using those in the shots as well.
Once we did a couple of shots there, we moved on and took a few portraits sitting at his Tama kit. Then it was time to play, and play he did!
Now, by the time I did this shoot with Craig, I had photographed a few drummers while they were playing. I should have learned a long time ago to put some earplugs in my case, but for some reason I still don’t have any in my kit. This was one of those times I really, really wished I had brought some ear plugs. I have never seen a drummer that played as fast and as hard as Craig. It was insane, and it was a little hard for me to keep up at first. I took a lot of shots as Craig ran through a song, and then we ran through the song again. This gives me a chance to learn the song and try and capture different moments of the song. Like, knowing when Craig is about to unload on his Meinl cymbals….
But sometimes you also capture classic drummer face.
The Tear Sheets:
Nothing makes me happier than seeing my hard work when it’s in use. Tear sheets give me just that, and I will always post them when I can! So here are the tear sheets from the feature on Craig as it appeared in Rhythm Magazine Issue 256.
I always try to take a selfie at the end of shoots. It is just something I started a year or so ago and something I have kept up with. It’s a great way to end a shoot. For this Craig went and cleaned up after smashing his drums while I packed up all my equipment. After that, it was selfie time….and it was a little blurry, but hey ho!
This shoot was pretty straight forward in terms of equipment. Everything was shot on my Nikon D800e and using my 24-70 2.8 lens. For the floor portraits I used 2 Elinchrom Quadra Rangers…the key being shot through a large octobox and the rim light was bare, but set VERY far away from Craig. For the sitting on stage and playing shots I just used 1 Quadra and used the stage lighting as a second light whenever possible.