I think I should preface this post by writing that I was never a party person. I was always the first one to put in ear plugs at a concert or club. Drinking was never my thing either, so chemically induced ear plugs weren't going to happen. Clarence convinced me (bad influence inferred) to go out clubbing with him at Quality Social in downtown San Diego. His friend, DJ Joey Jimenez, was spinning that evening. We, of course, brought our cameras to capture the pre-Christmas hedonistic debauchery.
The first thing you notice, not being a club-er, is that the place smells like Vegas. What exactly makes a place of alcohol guzzling and smoking (outside balcony) smell like stale popcorn, much less a casino? Maybe clubbing people have a hidden underground fetish for popcorn? Floors are sticky - check. Seating near the bar is full - check. Girls wearing impractically short (for December mind you) dresses - check. Boyfriend following girl with impractically short dress - check. DJ pumping fist - check. Glad I don't have a waiter job there - check, check, check.
It's been a while since I shot a live event, so I had to quickly remember the basics.
- You're going to have a mixed lighting problem. Color is gonna suck, so just go B&W. "Film grain" at ISO 3200 is supposed to be "artistic" right?
- Fortify any picture taking position so people won't bump into you.
- Use furniture and permanent structures for rigid support during long-ish exposures - sub 1/100th is a long exposure for me since my hands are as steady as a junky looking for a hit.
- Wear ear plugs.
First up, Mark the door man, lead 21+ ID checker, and avid snow boarder. Also a bartender gets in the mood of the season.
DJ Joey and crew...in modern terms, meaning macbook and turn tables. We thought about making a comedy short with Joey showing all the things DJ's have to put up with including, but not limited to requesting the song that the DJ just played.
Finally, the patrons. My personal favorite of the bunch was the girl with the tattoo. I saw her in line waiting for pictures with Santa (yes, even clubs have a Santa) and asked if I could take her picture. Her tattoo reads "Family, more than blood, it's love"... an unexpected sweet sentiment in a club where you anticipate people are looking for "hook ups" and to get drunk after the work week. The police paddy wagon was stationed at the end of the block for the later case.