Pixels as Official Photographers at Merlefest 2015 ~ because it’s pretty much … whoa.

Sorry. We meant WHOA.
ALL CAPS WHOA.
As in HOLY CRAP…. A DREAM COME TRUE AND WE LOVED IT.
We were chosen to be official photographers for Merlefest 2015 and it held so much more than we anticipated. We’d been to Merlefest before as music lovers and working with vendors, but this was amazing. Amazing personally and certainly professionally.
Pixels on Paper are official photographers for Merlefest 2015 including the Avett Brothers, Honey Dew Drops, Front Country Band and more photos

 If you love The Avett Brothers as much as we do, then you’ll know why it was a blast to be taking photos on stage with them and a thrill when one of our shots made the front page.

pixels on paper merlefest 2015 avett brothers photoYou know how your senses can go into overload? That’s how we felt. So much to see …. so much new, established and beloved music to tune into plus we were working. So we were doing recon, figuring out the logistics of stages and the schedule, where to upload our shots, and visualizing photos to capture in short windows of time.

One of the first surreal moments happened on Thursday morning (Day 1) when we realized that we had full backstage access. While standing on the main stage behind performers warming up before the gates were opened to the public, we were further bedecked in extra badges, wrist-bands and more credentialling bling (credential-ling? … maybe not a word, but we’re going with it).

pixels on paper photographer merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photopixels on paper merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photo

Between the two of us, we photographed 26 bands/musicians, plus took shots of the fans, the dancing masses, craftsmen and general atmosphere. And we worked 53 hours over the course of four days. On Saturday, we arrived there at 7am and didn’t see each other until after 7pm.
The turnaround time was such that our images had to be taken correctly and perfect in camera while we photographed them.  There was no time for Photoshop work. 5-10 shots after each concert/band and keep moving. The pace was hectic and exhilarating.

When we weren’t uploading photos to share with the world – ours went mostly to our Instagram page with a special hashtag #pixelsonpapermerlefest – we were shooting everything else.

Check out the Honey Dewdrops and the Jason Lee McKinney Band. Both have decided to use our photos for their social media work …. yeah, yeah, yeah!

pixels on paper photography merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photo

The Honeydew Drops

pixels on paper photographer merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photo

Colt Prince, Guitarist with Jason Lee McKinney Band

Chatham County Line shared Pixels’ images on their Instagram and Twitter pages and Front Country has been using our images on Instagram and Facebook. We are gratified and couldn’t be more proud.

pixels on paper photographer merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photo

Chatham County Line Band

pixels on paper photographer merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photo

Front Country

Finally, our crowd shot was used by many in the Twitter, Instagram and Facebook worlds, including Merlefest’s Facebook and flickr site and on HCPress.com.

pixels on paper photography merlefest 2015 music festival photographers photo

Pixels on Paper are official photographers for Merlefest 2015 including the Avett Brothers, Honey Dew Drops, Front Country Band and more photos

Any downtime we had was with Ryan’s brother Todd in the wee hours of the morning when we could actually do a post-mortem and share photos from the day and say, “Oh, that shot!!! I wondered if I had it or not;” and “that turned out better than I thought – check it out!” We would talk and crack up. There was something about that time that was particularly important because while we were tired, we were this little tribe of 3, telling stories and trying to marshall our energy for the next day.

Don’t get us wrong, there were challenges, but there were also revelations about ourselves, our skills and our business. Challenges included the always-changing light (dark, direct-sun, shadows, spot lights), weather (rain & cold), fast action (drums, fiddle), indoor and outdoor contrasts, stage equipment (microphones, monitors, speakers are always in the way). We are agile and completely willing, but there were jumps from venue to venue, stage to stage.

Triumphs, however were equally deep.
For Ryan it was realizing that we had the right amount of everything and the right equipment to get results. We tend to be of the mind-set, if we don’t need a particular lens or piece of equipment, we don’t buy it. While many of our peers there had some very expensive equipment and more of it, we realized VERY QUICKLY that we had the goods. Literally and figuratively.

For me, it meant finding myself as 1 of 4 women in a field of 28 photographers. Unlike portrait photography, which is dominated by women, event photography is a man’s world. Yet there I was, shoulder to shoulder with the boys grabbing the shots that would be sought out by other media outlets and bands themselves. It was weird and cool and now there is no putting the genie back in the bottle for us.

We cannot wait for Merlefest 2016! C’mon y’all and join us.

 

 


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