Top 10 Concert Photos of 2012

Rather than do a full-on year in review post, I thought I would just share my top ten favorite shots from this year. And, if you're a gearhead, I've included tech info below each image along with links to purchase if you like. Here we go!

Skillet perform on January 14, 2012 at Tampa Bay Times Forum during Winter Jam in Tampa, Florida. Tech Info: Nikon D3s, 24-70mm f/2.8 ISO 1250, 1/160s, 24mm at f/2.8

Skillet perform on January 14, 2012 at Tampa Bay Times Forum during Winter Jam in Tampa, Florida.

Tech Info:
Nikon D3s, 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 1250, 1/160s, 24mm at f/2.8

I kicked this year off by shooting the Winter Jam Tour when it came through Tampa in January. There were quite a few bands on the bill, as there always are, but Skillet closed out the show with an explosive performance (literally). This wasn't my first time seeing them (it was my third), but it was my first time shooting them. That said, it may as well have been my first time seeing them because their stage show has improved exponentially since the first time I saw them ten years ago. Phenomenal performance!

Radiohead perform on February 29, 2012 at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D3s, 14-24mm f/2.8 ISO 900, 1/160s, 14mm at f/2.8

Radiohead perform on February 29, 2012 at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D3s, 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 900, 1/160s, 14mm at f/2.8

I was especially pumped to photograph Radiohead because I had seen photos from their previous tour and knew they would have a very interesting stage setup. Sure enough, the stage was adorned with the video tiles you see above, and they were constantly (but slowly and subtly) changing position throughout the show. The performance was pretty mellow, which also translated into a fairly relaxed environment in the photo pit.

It's funny how the style of music can affect the pace at which you shoot and move in the pit. The more mellow and thoughtful the music, the more deliberate I am in my composition and selective with the click of the shutter. But when the music is raucous and rowdy, you're just trying to keep up with the performers and hoping your buffer doesn't fill up too quickly causing you to miss the shot!

fun. perform during a sold-out show in support of Some Nights on March 7, 2012 at State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D3s, 14-24mm f/2.8 ISO 2200, 1/160s, 15mm at f/2.8

fun. perform during a sold-out show in support of Some Nights on March 7, 2012 at State Theatre in St. Petersburg, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D3s, 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 2200, 1/160s, 15mm at f/2.8

2012 was definitely the year of fun. With their hit songs We Are Young and Some Nights being in heavy rotation on the radio, commercials, and movie trailers, it was hard not to hear Nate Ruess's unique voice and fun.'s catchy hooks at some point during the week.

I've been following fun. since the release of their first album, Aim and Ignite, in 2009, and was able to photograph them at a tiny club in Ybor City during their tour in support of that album. Earlier this year, they were touring slightly larger clubs, and by the end of the year they were playing sold-out arenas as part of the Jingle Ball lineups. And they received a whopping SIX Grammy nominations! Not a bad way to close out the year. I can't wait to see what next year holds for them.

Matt & Kim perform on October 17, 2012 in support of "Lightning" at The Ritz in Tampa, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D3s, 24-70mm f/2.8 ISO 200, 1/320s, 70mm at f/2.8

Matt & Kim perform on October 17, 2012 in support of "Lightning" at The Ritz in Tampa, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D3s, 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 200, 1/320s, 70mm at f/2.8

Matt & Kim are always a blast to photograph. For a band with just two people, they manage to create a big sound and entertain the crap out of every crowd they're in front of. I've never seen artists as genuinely happy to be performing as these two. Every time I see them, I just keep waiting on them to spontaneously combust with excitement and joy. And that joyous excitement is incredibly infectious, which means the crowd is equally excited. Good times all around!

Silversun Pickups perform on December 1, 2012 during 97X Next Big Thing at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D3s, 14-24mm f/2.8 ISO 280, 1/200s, 22mm at f/2.8

Silversun Pickups perform on December 1, 2012 during 97X Next Big Thing at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D3s, 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 280, 1/200s, 22mm at f/2.8

The 97x Next Big Thing is a show I look forward to every year. They usually have some of my favorite bands on the lineup, so I can see a bunch of them on the same day. This year was no exception with bands like Of Monsters and Men, fun., Grouplove, Flogging Molly, and more.

One band on the bill that I had listened to a bit but wasn't overly familiar with was Silversun Pickups. After seeing their performance, that will be changing. These guys were wonderful to photograph, with great lighting design, a mesmerizing performance, and my favorite drum kit setup of all time (you could actually see the drummer)! Their music has an eerie tone throughout, which I love, and their performance was both mellow yet exciting... A very interesting band for sure.

Rise Against perform on December 1, 2012 during 97X Next Big Thing at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8 ISO 1250, 1/200s, 155mm at f/2.8

Rise Against perform on December 1, 2012 during 97X Next Big Thing at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D4, 70-200mm f/2.8
ISO 1250, 1/200s, 155mm at f/2.8

Rise Against closed out this year's 97x Next Big Thing, and they were freaking insane. Remember the thing I said earlier about the music dictating the mood of the shoot, and how Radiohead was mellow and thoughtful? Yeah, this wasn't that. This was the one where I was just trying to keep up and hoping my buffer didn't fill up too quickly!

The thing I like about this shot is the color and emotion. I normally shoot the "singer at the mic" shot because it's a standard, must-have shot, but they're not really my favorite. In this one however, the red light on lead singer Tim McIlrath's face reflects the often angry tone of Rise Against's music, and contrasts nicely with the vivid blue backlight. Aaaanndd that's enough philosiphizing about that. Honestly, raw emotion wins over everything else, and the colors just happen to work with that emotion.

Flo Rida performs on December 8, 2012 during the Y100 Jingle Ball at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8 ISO 2,800, 1/200s, 24mm at f/2.8

Flo Rida performs on December 8, 2012 during the Y100 Jingle Ball at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D4, 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 2,800, 1/200s, 24mm at f/2.8

I had the privilege of covering the Jingle Ball shows in Miami and Tampa for Clear Channel this year (which you can read more about here). Flo Rida closed out the show in Miami, and pleased the crowd by paying them a visit.

During his performance on stage, he had already removed his shirt during his high-energy show. Then I saw him start taking off his bling and handing it to one of his people on the side of the stage, which was my cue that he was about to jump off the stage (why else would he be taking it off?). Sure enough, a very large man appeared next to me in the pit, and Flo Rida climbed down onto his shoulders, and off they went. I followed as closely as I could as he made his way into the crowd, which meant that his back was turned to me most of the time (I do like this shot though. In case he ever gets amnesia, he has his name tattooed on his back ;-)). But once he reached his final destination, he turned around and I got this shot!

Fans light up the arena with their phones as Ed Sheeran performs on December 9, 2012 during 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D4, 14-24mm f/2.8 ISO 10,000, 1/50s, 14mm at f/2.8

Fans light up the arena with their phones as Ed Sheeran performs on December 9, 2012 during 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D4, 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 10,000, 1/50s, 14mm at f/2.8

Another highlight of the Jingle Ball shows for me was getting to photograph Ed Sheeran. This guy is, based on the few minutes I saw him off stage, a shy, ginger, British guy with a guitar and a way with words that has the girls going as crazy for him as they do Justin Bieber. Dude definitely has talent, and I'm curious to see how much he's going to blow up over the next year.

This shot was taken at the end of his set when he asked the crowd to bring out their phones and light up the arena with them. Just a cool moment that made for a great visual!

One Republic perform on December 9, 2012 during 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D4, 14-24mm f/2.8 ISO 2,000, 1/200s, 14mm at f/2.8

One Republic perform on December 9, 2012 during 93.3 FLZ's Jingle Ball at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D4, 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 2,000, 1/200s, 14mm at f/2.8

OneRepublic performed at both the Miami and Tampa Jingle Ball shows, so I was more well prepared for their performance on the second night. The first night, frontman Ryan Tedder ran out into the crowd, and I followed. The second night, I was ready for him and got in front of him to help lead the way through the crowd while walking backward and clicking away. He made his way up into the stands, and fans pushed their way toward him to try and get closer. As they did, this girl turned around very excitedly and helped make one of my favorite pictures this year!

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith performs on December 11, 2012 during The Global Warming Tour at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida Tech Info: Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4 + 1.4x Teleconverter ISO 3200, 1/250s, 490mm at f/5.6

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith performs on December 11, 2012 during The Global Warming Tour at Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida

Tech Info:
Nikon D800, 200-400mm f/4 + 1.4x Teleconverter
ISO 3200, 1/250s, 490mm at f/5.6

Just two days after the Tampa Jingle Ball show, I was back at the Tampa Bay Times Forum to close out my year by photographing legendary rockers Aerosmith. This one was a soundboard shoot, so I came prepared with the D800 (more megapixels = more cropability) and a 200-400mm f/4 lens and 1.4x teleconverter to help me get in as close as possible from far away.

Steven Tyler was sporting sunglasses for the first few minutes of the show, then I saw him start to grab them as his hands went toward his face, and off they went! I was lucky enough to get this shot as they went flying through the air.

I also like this shot of Steven and Joe Perry sharing a mic, and this one that shows more of the stage. But, again, moment and emotion win out over everything else, so the sunglasses shot wins out as my favorite!

So there you have it... My Top 10 Concert Photos of 2012! Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you have a favorite, or if you have shots you'd like to share as well.

Looking forward to another great year of shots in 2013!