Phone Home from the Garden

I spent the better part of the day Thursday at Madison Square Garden.

In the afternoon, I did portraits of the band Chiodos. They were opening for Linkin Park that night.

When I emailed the tour manager in advance, he told me that the band didn’t have their bus because of construction around the arena and that they’d have to stay in the general area. No problem. I’m used to showing up and trying to find something interesting for a photo.

I told him I’d arrive early and scout out a location nearby.

I know the MSG area pretty well and have always wanted to shoot in front of the giant post office across the street. This isn’t just any post office. It spans two full city blocks, sits on eight acres, and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It also boasts the longest giant order Corinthian colonnade in the world. It says so in wikipedia, so it must be true.

The point is that the front is beautiful and would make for a great photo. I wasn’t sure if I’d be allowed to shoot there without a permit, but we could make it quick.

So the shoot time comes and I call the tour manager. He says it’s too cold outside and there are too many fans around.

There goes that idea. I’ll save it for another band over the summer.

So on to Plan B.

Inside the arena, we had to tread lightly for two reasons. First, Chiodos is the support band so we didn’t want to get in the way of anyone from Linkin Park’s crew while they were setting up the stage.

Also, the Garden has very strict union rules and they don’t generally allow photography lighting backstage without paying a lot of money to a union electrician. I really don’t understand it, but that’s the way it is.

I figured I could shoot with four small Nikon speedlights because they don’t require any power from the wall.

There are six guys in the band, which is always tough to shoot. But I found a spot where there were six pay phones. Actually there were only four phones, but it looks like there were six there at some point.


We shot that setup and another one right nearby in the span of about 20 minutes.

Everyone was happy.

That evening, I shot the concert. Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the lighting tech that Chiodos was on stage. There was almost no light on them. I was able to make a few frames with the Nikon D3 at ISO 6400 (which looks amazing for what it is), but the quality of the light was horrible.


Luckily, Linkin Park’s lighting was great. They’re always fun to shoot because Chester and the boys have so much energy. I shot my three songs and went home.

Linkin Park