Smurfy Brown

Jim had asked me to cover his band, Smurfy Brown, at their latest gig, so on Friday night, I packed up the equipment in Mr. Domke and trucked over to Fanny & Alexanders. By day, F&A’s is a restaurant, but in the evenings it turns into a bar and nightclub. Thanks to being on the guest list, I avoided paying the $8.00 cover charge at the door.

Jim, Chad, Scot, and RJ didn’t get started until shortly after 10:00 pm. At that time, there were only a handful of people at the venue, but the numbers picked up after running through a few songs. On the dance floor, I noticed a reluctance on the part of the crowd to start dancing initially. It normally takes a brave person who’s not afraid to “lose it in the music.” Usually, that person is a woman (or a group of women). Men typically stay in the background, hovering along the walls with their hands on their b*lls.

Fortunately, by the time I left at 11:30 pm, everyone seemed to have dropped their inhibitions, perhaps through chemical means, and were gyrating the night away. Good for them! I have to say, however, that I never really liked going to F&A’s to dance. The dance floor is too small and crowded to be able to strut my moves and fly around.

Last week, Stanford Cardinal Young Alumni held a happy hour at F&A’s that I attended. I remarked then how crappy the lighting was outside. Let me tell you, it was even worse indoors! They had these yellow and red spotlights that only illuminated RJ’s position. Everyone else was illuminated by what looked like dim 25-watt light bulbs!

I had brought both my Leica M2 and my EOS-1D. The M2 was loaded with T-Max 3200 B&W, while the 1D’s was pushed to ISO3200 throughout the evening. I was still getting awfully slow shutter speeds at 3200, but I managed to somehow get some nice shots. I can’t wait to finish and develop this roll of T-Max. I’ve been meaning to do a real comparison between film and digital for a long time. The result of one ISO3200 shot that I got printed from Pictopia was very encouraging.

You’ll notice my use of flash in some of the pictures on this page and in the photo gallery. Which ones do you prefer, the flash ones or the natural light ones? I prefer the latter, since it preserves the ambiance of the evening. With flash, everything becomes technically accurate, but lifeless. That’s my opinion, what’s yours? All that being said, I’m sure that with time, I’ll be able to use flash to preserve the mood of the evening while avoiding the noise that comes from pushing the 1D at higher ISO’s.

There was a motorcycle cop outside of F&A’s during the evening, surveying his territory with the calm and detached demeanor of the T-1000. I had always thought that motorcycle officers only worked in the daytime, but I guess that’s not the case.

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