SoulFest is New England’s premier outdoor Christian music and social justice festival. Held annually at Gunstock Recreation Area in New Hampshire’s Lake District, the four-day event draws up to 12,000 daily attendees. Paul Rogers is part of the ten-member volunteer photography team, which images are used for promotion of SoulFest. Below are some of Paul’s favorite photos, with comments, from this year’s event. See also a SoulFest video that includes still images from the team.
Kutless and Audience at Revival Stage
While close-up photos of artists on stage are glamorous, SoulFest publicity photos need to show attendees having fun. Shooting from backstage achieves this, though the point of view sometimes obscures the identity of performers. At night, one has to look for the right combination of performer positioning and crowd lighting.
I AM NOT FOR SALE
Not For Sale was the leading sponsor of SoulFest this year. They raised awareness of the global slavery trade and called us to action through faith. The organization promotes “innovative solutions to re-abolish slavery in our own backyards and across the globe.” Click here to visit their Web site.
The Cross Ministry
Just outside the Revival Stage seating area stood a tall, rough, wooden cross. Hand-wrought nails lay at its base, awaiting those who would drive them in as an affirmation and rededication of their faith.
Lone Carnation on The Cross
By night, The Cross was wrapped in a blanket of carnations and lit by spotlights. By day, the decoration was gone, though one could find single flowers among the nails. A manual-focus Nikkor 35mm AIS f/1.4 lens (closed to f/2) was used to limit depth of field.
Eric Timm During Live Art Performance
Photo team leader Stephanie Potter asked me to cover Eric’s unique art and faith presentation. As this was not a band performance, I checked with the artist to see how close he would let me get during his brief time at the canvas. He replied that I could get as close as I wanted, as long as I didn’t mind getting paint on my camera. Permission was obtained from the stage manager to use fill flash as conditions were darkening -- but only if necessary. Sensing his reservations, I raised my ISO and kept the flash on my belt. Click here to visit Eric’s Website.
Kutless, Stage Lights, and Guitars
I noticed these guitars during a set by Kutless, thinking they’d make a good foreground if something interesting would happen in the background. Everything for the shot came together during a guitar solo.
Young Man with Poster
SoulFest featured an artist’s signing tent, where band members signed products and met fans. The young man here was rolling up a poster just signed by Toby Mac, formerly of DC Talk.
Emptying Buckets During WALK4WATER
Global Benefit sponsored this event which raised awareness and support for people around the world who have to walk long distances to get water. Nearly 250 participants walked to a distant stream, filled their buckets, and lugged the water back to the festival site. Documenting this event required two photographers, at times running to keep up with the action.
MercyMe on Revival Stage
A challenge faced by photographers near the stage is showing both the stage and the crowd. One solution is to raise the camera overhead (in this case on a light tripod), allowing a downward view with a wide-angle lens. At times I have attached a remote monitor to my Nikon DSLR to check composition, but it’s a bit of a hassle. In this case, test shots were made and the camera returned to approximately the same position (nine- to ten-feet off the ground). The camera was triggered with a three-foot long remote release, though I sometimes use an inexpensive radio remote release, especially if the camera is on a higher stand.
Bart Millard of MercyMe
This tight shot was made from eye level at the same location as the above wide stage photo. The green background lights add some interest, and it’s nice he’s not “eating” the microphone.
Girls at Revival Stage Barrier
This photo was cropped to a 2:1 aspect ratio from a wide-angle shot. It’s sometimes dificult to get non self-conscious poses when standing so close to the subjects. An off-camera flash was used to brighten the subjects while properly exposing the sky.
Paul Colman with Sponsor’s Beverage
I was asked to photograph donated bottles of IZZE, a carbonated juice drink. We planned to photograph at the back of Revival Stage between sets. Stage host Paul Colman (formerly of the News Boys), musician Matt Maher, and stage manager Mark Scarano volunteered to hold product for the camera. But instead of remaining back stage, they moved front and center, dramatically posing for the crowd and swigging the beverage. Unfortunately, the drinks were warm (I had stored a bottles in a box for the shoot) and they overflowed instantly. Having already wet his chin, Paul gestured for me to wait a moment while he splashed on more of the juice and struck a catatonic pose, feigning madness. The audience got a good laugh out of it. I kept the bottle as a souvenir. Kindy Peaslee directed and Joe St. Louis assisted. The photo’s background was desaturated and tinted in Photoshop to further separate the subject from reality.