Nelson Lunding, the Bluesman

I saw a poster a few weeks ago for a piano concert at a residential hotel in San Francisco's Tenderloin.  Apparently, the hotel hosts several concerts throughout the year.

For this concert, Nelson Lunding, a blues pianist dropped by to entertain some folks during the lunch hour.  The piano itself has an amazing piece of history, which you can read about briefly at the Cadillac Hotel's link above.

ISO 3200   90mm lens   f/2.0   1/250sec

What would photos of a pianist be without a shot of their hands on the keys?

Shooting in the lobby of the Cadillac Hotel was slightly difficult because it was rather dim, even with the large video light that was pointed at Nelson.  Since getting close to Nelson would have been too distracting, I used my 90mm prime lens.  The f/2.0 aperture would gather enough light and would still allow me to shoot at a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur.  You can see the rather high contrast above.

I could have used a 70-200 f/2.8 lens, but that lens is a monster to lug around and I wanted sharper images.

ISO 200   90mm lens   f/2.0   1/8sec

For the above shot, I wanted to see if I could capture his hands in motion while hoping to make the rest of his body look fairly still.  So I dropped the shutter speed to 1/8 sec and set my X-T1 at its base ISO of 200.  You can see that his head moved a little bit, but the motion blur of the hands came out exactly the way I wanted them to.

ISO 800   90mm lens   f/2.0   1/180sec

Again, in the above photo, you can see how high the contrast is with the single video light shining on Nelson.  Moments before this photo was shot, a dog passed through the lobby with its owner and dog started barking.  Nelson then improvised a few lines of his song to address the dog barking.  He had everyone laughing.

ISO 400   90mm lens   f/2.0   1/180sec

I love the above photo, not because Nelson is in the foreground, but because of the reaction of the lady behind him.  Most of the folks in the audience were elderly and so his music really spoke to them.

ISO 400   90mm lens   f/2.0   1/180sec

My favorite shot saved for last.  Nelson is a great performer.  He can whip out a tune and improvise on the fly.  And most important, he made the folks of this residential hotel, and the folks who walked in off the street, very happy with his music.

If you want to book Nelson Lunding for an event, send him an email.  You won't be disappointed!

Click on this link for more of my photos of Nelson's performance at the Cadillac Hotel.

Gear used:  Fuji X-T1 with 90mm prime lens and 56mm prime lens.