Photo Essay

California Rockabilly

If you're into outlaw country, rockabilly, and swing music I suggest you check out the Hootenanny concert in Orange County, California. The band Social Distortion plays there every year. I attended this three day concert event back in 2003 and was blown away by the huge display of Hot Rod cars, the tattoos, the clothing and of course the music. Not being very well versed in the rockabilly lifestyle it was all new to me.

I managed to get a press pass through the venue which was great for gaining access to the space between the crowd and the stage. That is where I took a very lucky photo with my Lumo camera of four people very well placed. Other than that I probably didn't need a pass since I was using my trusty 35mm Pentax K1000 film camera and a Lumo with four lenses. Both equipped with 800 asa film. Even though I was shooting in bright California sunshine I still over exposed a stop and used higher speed film. This really worked great for capturing the detail in the shadows under some of the ladies sunhats and parasols. Doing this also made the colors really pop! Shooting with film helped me to remain connected with the awesome environment surrounding me. I find that when I shoot digital I sometimes get caught up in reviewing what I have shot and end up missing great stuff.

Did I mention I also had a fever of 100 plus while I was shooting these pictures over three days. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I just knew that I didn't travel all the way to California from New York City to not take pictures and miss out on this great opportunity. After the concert was over my friend insisted that I go to the hospital. As it turned out, I had a severe kidney infection and was severely dehydrated. The doctor said if I had waited 24 hours more I might not have made it...

If the photos had turned out bad I probably would have been mad at myself for not going to the hospital sooner, but because I was so thrilled with the final results I felt it was a good sacrifice. Mind you, I was in my very early 20's, when you tend to think you're invincible. Since then I stick to maintaining my health while taking great photos.

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1 response

  • Sara Holt

    Sara Holt (Deleted) gave props (25 Sep 2009):

    WONDERFUL WORK...THANK GOD you weren't seriously hurt from that infection and that you made it out ALIVE with GREAT shots!!!! Health first, work second, right;)) Great work I hope they publish this essay!!!!!!!

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