OMD Shoots Shaky Knees Music Festival (Picture Heavy!)


Mu-43 Veteran
Jul 16, 2012
Boulder, CO
Real Name
Hi Everyone,

I was fortunate enough to get a photo pass to shoot the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta a few weeks ago. I’ve shot live music before, but an event like this is fast paced and you need to be far more organized than I’m used to. Photographers have access to the pit for the first three songs of a set, then you’re done and prepping for the next artist to go on a different stage. You are on your own if you want to shoot from outside the pit or you know, actually enjoy the music (I was shooting this as a favor to a friends blog and was not getting paid). There were also another ~30 photographers covering the whole festival, so you are usually competing for space and angles, especially for the more popular artists.

I ended up bringing the following gear:

EM-5 with full grip
P35-100 2.8 - rented
O12-40 2.8 - rented
Bower Fisheye
P25 1.4

Fuji x100
Mindshift Panorama Backpack

In general, the em-5 performed adequately and I got some great shots. I was able to carry the full kit around for 3 days with minimal strain and generally enjoy the festival (good work/play ratio). I did however feel that the focusing accuracy was not totally adequate and the handling was not quite up par with what I needed. This is honestly the first time I’ve felt this way with the camera. I found that the em-5 was frequently focusing on the mic stand or instrument, instead of the face (face detection was on) so I got quite a few shots that were just off focus. I also normally love the SCP, but it slowed me down in this situation. I’m sure an EM-1/GH4 would tackle the handling issues much better though, this is just specific to the smaller bodies. Response time was also slowish when enabling the evf or chimping for exposure quickly. Again, I’m sure these issues are better on the newer bodies.

With that said, I was still able to get perfectly usable images, even up to iso 5000 when carefully processed. Do I wish high iso performance was better? Sure. But I also know that I wouldn’t have been able to drag a full frame/telephoto into the middle of the crowd to get additional angles not offered via pit access. We also had very heavy rain during one of the afternoons and the EM-5/weather sealed lenses didn’t miss a beat. I was soaked but everything held up fine.

The 35-100 is also a fantastic lens, but I’m really looking forward to the Oly 40-150 2.8. I’d gladly take a little extra size for the extra reach (there were many photographers shooting 70-200's on crop bodies for this reason). Oh, and the Mindshift bag rocks, but I'm going to do a separate review for that later.

I took almost 3,000 images but here's a small selection. Cheers, Alex

Foals - 2
by apilnick, on Flickr

Foals - 1
by apilnick, on Flickr

Wild Belle
by apilnick, on Flickr

Shaky Knees Crowd 2
by apilnick, on Flickr

White Denim
by apilnick, on Flickr

White Denim - 2
by apilnick, on Flickr

Fly Golden Eagle
by apilnick, on Flickr

Apache Relay - 1
by apilnick, on Flickr

Lord Huron
by apilnick, on Flickr

Lord Huron - 2
by apilnick, on Flickr

by apilnick, on Flickr

Modest Mouse
by apilnick, on Flickr

Modest Mouse - 2
by apilnick, on Flickr

Samuel Beam (Iron and Wine)
by apilnick, on Flickr

Local Natives
by apilnick, on Flickr

Shaky Knees Crowd 1
by apilnick, on Flickr

Alabama Shakes
by apilnick, on Flickr

Alabama Shakes 2
by apilnick, on Flickr

The Pit!

The Pit
by apilnick, on Flickr​

edit: added 2 photos I forgot to embed.
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