I was given another opportunity to cover the much anticipated 14th edition of Dubai Jazz Festival. It was my second time to be the event’s official photographer.
As soon as Chillout Production, the founder & organizer of Dubai Jazz Festival, released to the public their line-ups for the 2016 edition (who will not be excited to shoot ToTo, Santana, Chris Botti and Sting!) I immediately express again my intent to be part of their media team to cover the event. I never expected to receive a quick reply from the organizer, much to my surprise they were impressed with my work on their previous season and they are willing to take me in to be one of their official filming crew. I can’t forget the excitement I felt when I got the reply, but I still have this feeling of uncertainty because the event is 4 months away, a lot of unexpected things might happen just like what I experienced from another organizer.
Just to share my anguish with another organizer of an annual music event also in Dubai, I expressed my intent to be their photographer few weeks before the event. I just took my chance and didn’t expect to receive a response, but after few days of waiting, I received a reply stating their interest on my service, the feeling of excitement was there again, imagine covering a number of artists in two consecutive nights. We set our meeting week before the event, it was set first thing in the morning. I prepared my portfolio and introduction speech just in case. The day came, I’m prepared, I just came from a night shift work and I was about to leave my office when suddenly I received a message, they are cancelling the meeting and they will notify me later. I never heard from them after that, I tried to reach them to be considered on some of their numerous music events but I never received any single reply. The feeling was always the same when I received an early confirmation to any event that I intend to cover, organizers can instantly cancel any agreement anytime they want and there is nothing you can do about it.
As the event is fast approaching, I am thinking of another way to get a more compelling shot compared to last year. I have the same gear as last year. I thought of scouting of a longer fast lens since I am certain that everyone will only be shooting inside the press pit only for the first three songs, a normal thing in concert photography. Rental is expensive, buying is far way heavier in the pocket. I thought of writing to Nikon Middle East, as a certified genuine Nikon User, maybe they will listen to my intent to lend me a long fast lens. Week before the event, I received a reply and my request was granted, Nikon Middle East let me leased a 400mm f/2.8. What a sweet deal.
Few days before the event, itinerary was released by Chillout Production, I am so overwhelmed to be assigned on all the Meet the Press & Meet and Greet with the artists. It’s a little bit scary and the same time excited since this will be my first. I was assigned to handle the Meet and Greet last year with James Blunt but the in-charge media team suddenly changed the assignment and I ended up as a second shooter (never had the chance to complain), meaning all shots were stolen and nobody looked at my camera, paparazzi style.
Two days before the event, I picked up from Nikon Middle East office the biggest and heaviest lens I have ever held – a whooping 5.5 kg including the body. When I reached home that day after work, I tried a few shots – shooting the full moon from our bedroom window. With the results of the test shots, I am so eager and so excited to use it on the event. I started preparing and cleaning all the gear that I will be bringing on the event and also started to build up of my shooting workflow. Two days more and it will be the big day!
My companion for 3-days of exciting music event. I used my D810 shoulder strap in this lens for easy handling.