The Temperatures Fell, But the Mercury Still Rose . . .

Pittsburgh’s weather has gotten outrageously CRAZY in the last few weeks. We have had a 73 degree day followed by a 35 degree day. We’ve had flooding, huge hail, heck… even a tornado that touched down about 20 miles east of the city. All of this after an unseasonably warm week or so in the month of February.

This past Saturday was a cold one. I headed out and delivered a print that I had sold, while on my way to Pittsburgh’s Hard Rock Cafe. This is where the band Mercury would put on one of the best shows I’ve heard them play in the last decade. This was the night they released their new CD for which I shot the cover photos. It may have been in the high 20’s outside, but inside things were heating up.

The band Almost Astronauts played an awesome opening set to start off the show. They are an alternative/indie rock band from Pittsburgh. These four guys put on a really good show, and had the crowd bouncing around really early as they warmed them up for Mercury.

After a short break, the house lights dimmed and the intro music began. The crowd was really buzzing at this point (not me… I only had two beers).  Mercury started their first song and the stage lit up like the 4th of July. There were motorized lights moving all around, and multiple banks of LED lights that could outshine the sun.

Nothing could ousthine Mercury though. Justin, Eric, Adam and Jason played an amazing set that had the crowd going from start to finish. They played all of the crowd’s favorites from their previously released CD’s as well as the three songs from the new EP, Three.

But getting back to the lights….. Originally I was concerned about shooting photos with those LED lights. I’ve had issues with them in other venues, where no matter what I tried the subjects would always turn out the most hideous shade of “Smurf” Blue. Not this time though. I learned a trick from a great concert photographer, Alan Hess.  Use the ‘shade’ setting for the white balance.

I have more images from the show posted on the Coda Photography Facebook Page. Stop by and check them out. And remember to ‘like’ the page if you haven’t already.

And as always…. Thanks for stopping by….



  1. Rich April 10, 2011 at 9:23 PM #

    Thanks Emily… The best trick I’ve heard for red gels is to convert to B&W or desaturate the shot by about 50% and go for the muted looking tones.

  2. Emily McGonigle April 10, 2011 at 8:47 PM #

    Rich, they look fantastic!

    That’s a cool trick with the “shade” WB setting. My issue isn’t ever with blue LEDs though… it’s with RED gels. -.- I wish there was a WB setting for *that*, haha!

    Again, really nice job 🙂