Photographing Tool

In Music Photography


Shooting Tool perform live is a photographic challenge i was aware of before i had a chance to do it myself last night at the Big Day Out. You only get one song to shoot, rather than the standard 3, and of course no flash is allowed. For the duration of that song Maynard (the singer) stands at the back of the stage, with no light on him at all and with his back to the audience most of the time. It seems purposefully set up to hinder photographers getting a decent photo.

Of course i didn’t get anything brilliant, but did manage the one above i’m kind of happy with. It’s shot at 3200 ISO, 1/80th second shutterspeed, 200mm at f2.8. It probably won’t work in print because of all the noise.

Matt Booy being the Tool nut he is, is photographing Tool four times on this tour in three different cities. He’s a master at low light shooting, so i look forward to seeing his results.

More Big Day Out shots of mine coming soon.




  1. Ahh, I heard this once in a comment from Flickr. She did Gold Coast BDO and also told me that she couldn’t get into The Killers pit.
    Looks like I’m going to try to be prepared when they’re in Perth.

  2. That’s pretty lame that they are so restrictive. I guess they’re trying to make shots of them really exclusive or something… Nice effort anyway, Daniel 🙂 Did you have image stabilisation for that shot?
    Looking forward to seeing your BDO shots!

  3. When will you post the shoots taken at the fbi boobytrap night? I’m sure you were there

  4. I feel your pain. I’ve seen tool a bunch of times and the only shot I could ever see that was possible was getting maynard silhouetted against the video screen that is usually on directly behind him. Of course everyone else sees this and gets the same thing!

  5. Considering the circumstances this is an awesome shot. I think it captures the unique energy of the band.

  6. How did this pic look when you lightened the background? increase contrast? remove color?

  7. Nice shot considering the elements involved..
    I watched Tool from the stadium in Sydney, and while I must admit I was a little envious of you and Matt shooting the BDO, I really really wasn’t envying anyone trying to shoot Tool’s set..
    Enjoy the editing, hopefully you can batch a lot of it.. 😉

  8. One Tool song usually equals 2-3 ‘normal’ songs in length anyways haha. Stinkfist, the opening song, was one of their shorter ones too.
    I guess they’re always a bit restrictive. I heard Channel V got denied to film them as well, which is a shame.
    Good shot under the circumstances. Can’t wait to see the rest.

  9. Nice shot.
    The only way you could get more light in would be to buy Canon’s 200mm f1.8 (only about US$4000 second hand).
    Hanging for the BDO shots…c’mon Dan its been 2 days. Help me out, I’ve lost my flag!

  10. I really like this shot Daniel, though that may partially be because I am a Bill Henson fan. Well done on making a virtue of necessity in my opinion.

  11. Wouldn’t it be preferential to have a professional photog take 10 great pictures rather then 300 grainy mobile phone pictures plastered on the web? This seems silly to me.

  12. I agree with Lee – I don’t get why they can’t light themselves properly for one song (I’m sure they could do it in a way that would retain the mood or whatever) so the photos that do get taken are good. I’m guessing they played at night too?
    Still, the shot you’ve posted captures Tool pretty well 🙂

  13. Its all about the mystique with Tool though. How much fun would it be to see clear, sharp photos of them in perfect light?
    Would kinda ruin that element of the unknown if they were so forthcoming!
    Still though, I was intending on getting you to blow these up and print em out for me Dan. Sigh… It’s a really beautiful shot though and I’m forever jealous that you got to shoot em!

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