Break On Through

I was too young to have seen The Doors. But more than seeing John Densmore perform in Topanga, this was as close as I’ve gotten…and it was from my friend’s band!

 "Jim Morrison" Breaks On Through

My friend Brian formed Doors tribute band Break On Through in Los Angeles with singer Ray Porschien (Jim Morrison – Vocals), The Fish (Robby Krieger – Guitar), and Derek Smith (John Densmore – Drums), with Brian playing the part of Ray Manzarek.  The first time I heard them, I was mesmerized.  Ray sounded eerily like Morrison. I don’t often go in for tribute bands, but this was really something.  The crowd responded.  They knew they were seeing something special, not just people playing cover songs.

I’ve been recording them at Blueberry Buddha Recording Studios (I’m also a recording engineer…there must be some psychological reason for me always wanting to document things!) and photographing them when they play…if I’m not utterly entranced by them.

For concerts, I’ve been using a Nikon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens.  Good and fast and sharp.  But even with this lens, photographing someone who is constantly swaying, moving, leaping in very dark light is extremely challenging.  Now that I’ve since purchased a Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 wide angle, I’ll try that as well.

So how did I get this shot?  I was on stage.  If I can, I like to get as close as possible. Being on stage is really close.  Like those black and white photos by Charles Peterson, who shot Seattle SubPop artists such as Nirvana in the late ’80s and early ’90s, getting up close so you’re sprayed with sweat and banging into microphones is the best way to get visceral images of rock performers.

Now I need to convince other rock stars that I need to get good and close to take their photos!

Page Lee White G3 Guitar Gods

Photographer Ken Lee with Ronnie James Dio

….I meant on stage.  😀

Equipment:  Nikon D90, Nikon 50mm f/1.4D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras


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