Gogol Bordello - fail!! / by Janet Eckles

I'm having a hard time even writing this, because I'm ashamed of how badly I messed up on this shoot. It's hard to admit that I failed so hard at something I was so excited about and thought I was ready for.

I've loved Gogol Bordello since high school, and was so excited to see that they were going to be playing in Des Moines. I reached out to my contact at Wooly's to see if it would be possible to shoot their show, and he was kind enough to hook me up with a pass. I had been looking forward to this show for months, and was honestly acting cocky about it in my head. I kept thinking about the great shots I was going to get, and how proud of myself I was for getting to shoot a band that I really enjoy.


What actually ended up happening wasn't quite what I was expecting.

I shot the show on a camera from work that I wasn't completely familiar with. I didn't take any test shots before the show because I didn't think I needed to (classic pretentious me), when I definitely should have. When the band came on and I started snapping, I noticed that the camera was lagging pretty badly. I would press the shutter and the camera wouldn't take a photo right away, even though there was plenty of light. I didn't have much time in the pit and I didn't want to waste precious minutes trying to figure out my settings, so I kept going and hoped that I would get something usable. After we reached the song limit I went outside to call a coworker and explain what happened to see if he had any insight. It turns out that he had used the camera for product shots earlier in the day and had turned the shutter timer on. The timer hadn't been turned off, which explains the lag. If I had taken test shots beforehand, I would've realized that and had time to turn that off. I figured that the shots would just be kinda blurry, but maybe cool, so I went home to check the photos and start editing. When I imported the photos, I only saw black squares. The photos were completely black. Turns out, the f-stop was also ridiculously high, so the camera wasn't letting in enough light. 

I immediately started crying and beat myself up about it for the majority of the night. I couldn't even bring myself to try and salvage the photos for a few days because I was so upset. My co-worker suggested I try to boost the exposure a bunch and throw them in black and white, so I tried that. If anything they kinda look like they were shot on film so I feel a bit better about them now, but I'm still bummed. On the other hand, I'm kinda glad this happened in a low-risk situation so I could learn from it and be better for next time. And it's always good to be humbled, which I definitely was. I just hope I get the opportunity to shoot them again and (hopefully) redeem myself with better photos.

- November 2, 2017