From his years of experience, Michael Agel knows what to expect when shooting live concerts and is always ready to capture the special moments. Here, he talks about his choice to use Leica M Monochrom and Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. to shoot the Wacken Open Air Festival.
Q: What camera and lens did you use to shoot these images of the Wacken Open Air Festival?
A: I used my Monochrom and a Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH.
Q: Why did you choose this lens for this project? What technical qualities and characteristics did you find useful?
A: The Monochrom is definitely the perfect camera for black-and-white images. My idea was to document the festival with some low light reportage images. I knew it was not always possible to get very close to my object, so I decided the Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH lens was the perfect choice.
Q: What did you set out to achieve with these images and do you feel that you achieve what you wanted?
A: I feel very comfortable with this equipment: It is fast and handsome to handle, universal to use (from overview to details, everything is possible).
Q: It seems you had to deal with various different lighting situations during the course of the festival (daytime to night; natural light and lots of stage lighting). How were you able to adapt to these different situations and how did the lens perform in these different lighting conditions?
A: The Summilux 50 mm can do everything. It is strong in day and nighttime. In combination with the Monochrom, you are always ready to shoot. Of course. a Summarit has less weight and the Noctilux has one more f-stop, but I really didn’t miss this.
Q: When shooting a large festival, do you look for anything in particular to shoot? Do you go in ahead of time with a photographic plan or approach?
A: I have been to so many festivals in my life that I normally know what will happen. I always try to catch the emotional moments, which also show my personal feelings and fascination of the moment.
Q: By the very nature of the festival’s location there were many environmental issues you must have dealt with that aren’t present at a stadium concert, such as dust, harsh sunlight, multiple stages, moving crowds. How do you navigate all these variables to capture the images you want to get?
A.: With this small handsome equipment, you can move yourself very easily under this condition. You can put camera and lens under your arm and it is covered from, rain, dust and beer. I don’t care for harsh light. This is the job from the Leica coating people.
Q: You’ve shot this festival before and this time decided to shoot it only in black and white with the Monochom – can you give us insight into this choice?
A: For me black-and-white is still timeless documentation in photography. I love to think in contrast and geometry when I see an interesting situation.
Q: How does the Monochrom and the Summilux-M 50 mm f/1.4 ASPH. perform together?
A: Just perfect. I am still surprised in which low light situation you can work.
Q: You have some images shot in the evening low light yet lots of light on the stage – can you tell us about these shots? Or offer any tips or tricks to our readers who may be interested in shooting similar situations with this lens?
A: Normally the light on stage is good. Most problems are during the day when you see all the background of the stage. Often there is advertising, rigging equipment or working people. In the nighttime you have only the stage light, which is directed to the artist. This is much nicer.
Q: You used this lens for some closer portrait photos but also for crowd photos. How does the 50 mm focal length accommodate the wide-range of photos you captured?
A: The Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH. for me the universal lens. If I have to travel around the world and could bring only one lens with me, I would take a 50 mm lens. It is like I see the scenery.
Thank you for your time, Michael!
– Leica Internet Team
Connect with Michael on his website.