I know only one way of improving your low light concert photography skills without buying any new gear – a relentless deliberate practice. It is a niche genre which requires keeping up to date with your focusing and processing techniques. If you are not careful, those randomly changing LED stage lights can easily wipe out detail in RGB channels or mess with your exposure. You have to change your camera settings in the dark, surrounded by dancing people and the ones who happen to hold their drink right next to your elbow as you do it. Ouch – that’s stressful!

On the other hand, all the challenges of live music photography pale before its addictive creative allure. It gives an opportunity to produce compelling images of interesting acts, capture the atmosphere unique to each gig and each venue, and embrace spontaneity and energy shared by talented musicians with their audience.

So when I attended Dumfries Music Conference programme launch earlier in the week I asked permission from the organisers to document DMC Showcase 2018. It was a valuable opportunity for my low light deliberate practice and, hopefully, some useful additional visual coverage for local musicians.

This year a real discovery became the talent and stunning voice of a 14-year old singer/song writer from Dumfries Liv McDougall.

Liv McDougall , a 14-year old signer/songwriter from Dumfries, performs at DMC Showcase 2018

Also there was an amazing rock music photography exhibition of works by Glasgow photographer Harry Papadopoulos that served as a backdrop for live acts at DMC Showcase 2018.

The Dreamboys photo from an exhibition of work by Glasgow photographer Harry Papadopoulos at the Stove

The relatively new local Frozen Shores Collective, including Ruari Barber-Fleming, Michael Uphill, Kate Kyle, Liam Russel and Jenna Macrory, performed a range of emotive indie guitar and vocal compositions of a very high creativity and quality standard.

Ruari Barber-Fleming from Frozen Shores Collective opn stage at the Stove, Dumfries
Kate Kyle as vocals with Frozen Shores Collective
Dumfries and Galloway music collective Frozen Shores

One couldn’t resist the raw energy and extravagance of the Nickajackmen rock band from Falkirk.

The Nickajackmen lead vocal
Energising indie rock from the Nickajackmen band from Falkirk
The grand finale of the Nickajackmen band act at DMC Live Showcase

Jim Gellatly, DJ, music journalist and event host, introduced DMC Showcase performers to the appreciative crowd at the Stove.

Jim Gellatly, DJ, music journalist and event host, introducing a band at DMC 1018 Showcase gig

The electronica and synths band Future Get Down from Edinburgh surprised me by wearing beekeeper suits – very photogenic and mysterious!

I had such a great time and rewarding experience photographing this year’s DMC Showcase!

Members of Future Get Down band perform live in beekeeper suits for Dumfries Music Conference
Electronic keys  by Future Get Down Band
Future Get Down, a synth music band from Edinburgh, performs at DMC Showcase 2018 at the Stove, Dumfries
Synths band Future Get Down at DMC Showcase 2018, Dumfries

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