In the heart of Miami's Little Havana, the world famous Ball & Chain held its second annual Ball and Chain Music Festival. A total of 24 musical acts performed throughout the three days of the event during Labor Day Weekend. The venue celebrated not only the immense musical diversity of the Miami Music Scene, but it also celebrated its 81st Birthday. A true landmark in the city's history and in South Florida.
The images displayed throughout the article are a few of my favorite images. There were so many photos taken during the two days I attended, I've been carving my way through the bundle as efficiently as possible. The first two days of the festival, only a handful of artists performed but the last day of the event is another story. The final day saw a full slate of bands and singers playing 30-minute sets either inside the house or out on the Pineapple Stage. Event organizers kept everything running smoothly (like clockwork) and made certain that all the artists maintained to the specific time period. So I, like all the others, went back and forth catching the next group that was performing. Photographically, it was a nice challenge for me because I was constantly changing my camera settings due in part to the different lighting situations.
On that third day, Gene Paul got the festival started a little after 12:30 in the afternoon on the Pineapple Stage. The final act, Magic City Hippies ended the festival around 1:40 - 1:45 am. It was a beautiful sunny day, it was hot and humid (you know typical Miami weather) and being outside meant that everything was going to be bright. I used two different cameras to photograph the festival and they were my Canon Rebel XSi using my 50mm 1.8 lens and my Sony RX100 mark 1. I decided to stick to both because going from outdoors to indoors and outdoors again, I wanted the flexibility of making quick changes on the camera. I do carry my Tamron 18-250mm zoom lens but it's a variable aperture lens going from 3.5 to 6.3. So having to change lenses to account for drastic lighting situations, the Tamron lens was not a fast enough lens for me to use. Therefore, I only used my 50mm lens. I used the Sony camera to capture a wider angle since the focal length goes from 10.4 mm to 35 mm.
All the musicians were really close to the crowd whenever they performed their respective sets both inside and outside. Hence, utilizing the RX100 and keeping it at its primary 10.4 mm focal length, I was able to grab those wide shots. I didn't need to utilize the zoom in and out button on the camera. If I needed to zoom in on my subject, regardless of what camera I was using, I physically moved forward. If I needed to zoom out, I'd do the opposite of course.
My Canon Rebel is an older camera and the ISO capacity only goes to 1600. In a low light setting, at 1600, there would be a lot of noise in the image. Thus, when I did photograph the musical acts inside Ball & Chain, my ISO was set to 800. Aperture-wise, when inside, it varied from F2.5 to F4.5 with a shutter speed between 1/80 to 1/125. When I was outside, the ISO started at 100 and ended at 800. The aperture began at F4/F5 and finished at F2.5 while the shutter speed was also between 1/80 to 1/125.
The RX100 operated like this: Inside, the camera's ISO was set to 1600 (it can go up to 6400 but I have yet to use that setting), the aperture was set from F2.5 to F3.5 and the shutter speed began at 1/125 and then finally down to 1/80. While outside my ISO settings went from 100 to 125 to 200 and finished at 1600. There was a slight variation on the aperture settings outdoors than what I used indoors. Outside my aperture began at F4 and ended with F3.5. Also, the only thing that stayed the same was the shutter speed from 1/80 to 1/125. There was a brief moment where the shutter went up to 1/250 but I didn't stay long there.
I wasn't able to stay for the whole day, everything ended close to 2 am, due to another commitment that I had to photograph. Overall, it was an amazing day getting to photograph so many groups. It was great seeing so many people enjoy themselves, having fun and coming together for a common cause which was appreciating live music. I totally respect the high level of musicianship this city has to offer and that is due in part to the dedication of the musicians. Their passion is right there for the world to see and they're all doing something they love and the best part is that the crowds responded to it positively. All the musical groups had the audiences begging for more and that is definitely a good thing.
Congratulations to the owners, management and staff of Ball & Chain for another successful music festival. I'm looking forward to the 2017 festival. The gallery set from the festival will be online next week.