When summer comes, three things happen here in Catalonia... The temperature goes through the roof, the biting insects appear and... Autoput are back on the road.
The first one of the list is going to be in the town of Camprodon on the 23rd of June (it's actually the 24th, but given the way things are organised here it looks better saying 23:59 on the day before than 00:00 on the day, as it saves a lot of confusion).
This year, though, which may leave a lot of people scratching their heads the only set of lenses I'm going to be taking on the road are Sigmas, and I'm not taking anything sub 70mm in the F:/2.8 bracket. One thing I hear time and again is that OEM lenses are better than third party on the same camera, and also that "you need massive wide apertures to do music photography"; and really I think the answer to both of them is that folk are talking a lot of ****.
The first answer to why Sigmas instead of OEM glass, is that a) it's a tad cheaper (not much mind) and b) the lengths of the lenses are those I like working with instead of having to swap around the lenses at that mid point in between 50mm and 100mm... One of my favourite spots for doing what I do, so it makes sense to work in that area. And also I'm not a big fan of the 24-120 F:/4 Nikkor; I have owned both the previous versions of this lens and didn't really get on with it (but it was the only thing in this range for a long time) and then the new one when I picked it up it didn't feel "right" in my hands. Sure folk will rattle on about optical this, AF that, but seriously if you're buying something to use and you don't like the feeling in the hand then it's not going to be used to the best potential.
Also, in the last few years, the Sigmas have come on so much that if they haven't surpassed the OEM stuff (on a few mounts) they're only a generation off in my estimation.
Then the other thing, the not taking anything sub 70mm at F:/2.8; really there isn't a need for it. I have encountered a lot of times where folk have said "But you really need it!" and honestly I think there is only ever one time that I did, and that was a shithole of a venue with poor in house (disco type) lights. If you're going for arty bollocks, then a shallow depth of field is cool, but a 50mm at as an example to get something sharp from "down the front" then just to get something like the vocalist and mic stand completely in sharp focus (which is the stuff that works better for editorials or promotional materials) you'd need an F-stop of F:/5.6 or tighter. Don't get me started with getting the full drum kit or a bass guitar in sharpness as you'd need tighter still!
This here is what ISO is for, and it's a lot easier to apply noise reduction post shot than trying to add sharpness to something that just isn't; and adding to that how good VR has come on in the last few years it's really easy to shoot down to a fairly slow (but remember VR doesn't freeze people movement!) shutter speed and still get things in sharpness.
That's the photography out of the way, the other thing is learning a new lighting crew.
This year things have changed in a big way, my usual buddies from Acustic Barna aren't going to be on the road for a lot of the shows with Autoput, as different paths, different territories and things like that, so different folk behind the desk.
I don't know what the year will bring, but it will be a lot of new challenges, and as usual a whole lot of interesting scenarios to work through!