Category Archives: dRiFFt.kail

G(irl)photographer: 5 Shoots / 5 days

I open my inbox to an intriguing message. 

And that’s how it started. Well twist my arm, then… I thought. My team has a special way of being a little ridiculous on the story pitches, but I was sold. What I didn’t realize? It would also entail an intricate schedule of work, travel, shooting, editing, maybe a little sleep (and I mean little, less than little) and getting up and doing it all over again, day after day. I was exhausted just thinking about it.

👆 actually me after the week…

So it was an ambitious five-day quest to shoot five different concerts, test out some video and photo gear, and write a story about it. Cool. What I wanted to cover was almost entirely up to me. First up, Monday evening would be a local Austin band at a favorite local venue (Come And Take It Live), no less. Following that, my friend Danny (also known as New York rocker Des Rocs) just so happened to be touring through Texas for three consecutive days with The Glorious Sons. A quick text, fingers crossed, and he graciously agreed to let me follow him around with a camera. Four out of my five nights booked, I had just Friday to fill. I looked around and realized I’d been sent a media invite for an intriguing up-and-coming indie band called Brother Moses. Email sent, invite accepted, interview, shoot and review arranged; the week was booked. Mission Accomplished.

Days running up to my 5S/5D (that’s “5 Shoots / 5 Days”), I packed, planned, wrote and reviewed shot lists, met with my assistant photog, scheduled interviews, social and BTS content and tried to rest and prepare myself. One of the biggest challenges of shooting concerts is the extreme physicality of it all. You don’t realize how taxing it is to lug around all that gear for hours on end, and then contort and ‘gimbal’ yourself to manage the perfect shot. Over and over. Five days of that without a break would be interesting. I doubled down on my Pilates the week prior.

Early in the week I headed up to Precision Camera to pick up my gear from the rentals department: a gorgeous new Sony Alpha a9 camera body, an extra-beautiful G-Series f2.8 28-70mm lens (can you tell I have a thing for Sony gear?), a DJI Ronin-S gimbal and all the fixin’s. Because Precision never leaves you high and dry, they literally handed me everything plus the kitchen sink, a UV filter, camera bags, straps, clips, cords and an extra battery grip.

Now I have quite a storied past with camera rentals and I’m known to grab a few extra items when the shoot merits. I’ve had some downright terrible experience with rental gear that is shipped, or ordered online and picked up, only to discover that it’s not what you were hoping for (won’t name names). What I really love about Precision rentals is that they’re A) reliable, super reasonable, and they literally make sure you’ve got more than you need, but also; B) it’s really easy to just cruise up to Anderson Lane and grab what you need, rather than dealing with shipping costs, delivery times and all that junk. Plus they greet you with a smile and a hug. Or maybe it’s secretly an; “Oh, HER again? What crazy sh*t is she asking for this time??”

Read: Why would you rent online when all of this is available right in your very own city?? Also, they’re really very nice and just laugh when I propose the crazy sh*t. Anyways, I grabbed my gear early in the week, thanked my lucky stars that PCV had my back, and headed to Monday’s shoot, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I was totally ‘ballin with all that gear. I won’t bore you with the play-by-play on every single shoot, so here’s a highlight reel.

Monday: Gimble video fun at my local Austin haunt, Come And Take It Live. My priority act had to cancel due to the Death Flu going around (OK with me, keep your germs away!), so I had to make do with shooting less familiar bands. You win some, you lose some. 

Tuesday: Already sore and tired. Met up with Des Rocs and team, Warehouse Live Houston. Great crowd, lovely venue, high-energy set and a nice crew. Started getting creative with the gimbal, proceeded to wow, awe and inspire said crew with my gimbaling prowess (is that even a word?). I don’t know. It was fun. My arms were toast after two days of gimbaling. And yes, it’s now a word. 

Wednesday: Could barely lift my arms. Bruises appearing in weird places from unknown sources. Another favorite venue: Mohawk Austin, where I learned the true value of this a9 facial recognition technology in a packed crowd with no photo pit during both Des Rocs and The Glorious Sons’ sets. I nailed some crazy shots in ridiculously low light while getting jostled around, elbowed in the head and my toes stomped on somewhere in the rowdy crowd. Thanks to that a9 and my hefty f2.8 70-200mm telephoto lens, which a crew member later dubbed “The Bazooka,” I got some amazing content. Also, Bazooka? That’s gonna stick.

Thursday: Overslept my alarm. More bruises, but at least I know where they came from. Canton Hall Dallas with the Des Rocs crew once again. A new venue for me, but surprisingly nice and with excellent lighting. Due to the (larger) size of the venue, I managed some pretty awesome shots while hopping between a tightly-packed backstage area, the far-off upper back balcony, and a spacious, sizeable photo pit. It’s times like this that I am grateful for two different camera bodies set up and ready to go – allowing me to alternate seamlessly between my Sony a7iii with the 28-70mm lens and the a9 with aforementioned Bazooka, taking my photographic flexibility to new heights. If you’ve never tried shooting with two camera bodies, I highly recommend it (go visit Precision Camera rentals and they’ll help you with that). Bonus? Only once did I *almost* faceplant on stage. Unfortunately, Precision Camera cannot help me on the klutz factor. 

(Not pictured: Bazooka.) And yes, I found a ‘rat’ in the green room.

Friday: My fifth and final evening, spent at Stubbs Austin with indie rock band Brother Moses. Somehow I catch a second wind, super stoked to meet this last band. We started our evening with a video interview backstage, and followed with a classic show shoot-and-review setup. This time, I was thankful for my wide angle (f2.8 16-35mm G-series) lens, helping me to grab a few close-to-the-stage shots in low light. Anyone who’s ever shot at Stubbs indoors knows just how challenging it is. Only great gear, too-high ISO and creativity can get you through it.

What a beautiful week. While I did sacrifice sleep for adventure, it was worth it. I’d trade a week of no sleep, constant shooting, way too many bruises/sore feet/pulled muscles, and never having a second to catch up on much of anything for this thing called ‘real life’ in a heartbeat. So much fun. From testing out my abilities with new/novel camera gear, to having an opportunity to get to know the crew of one of my favorite touring bands. It was a nonstop, jam-packed week of incredible photo opportunities, a lot of travel, crazy crowds and insanely good music. I walked out of there more appreciative of these artists – and what goes into making a tour happen – than when I’d started. 

A special thank you to the Des Rocs crew – you are all incredible, kind, talented and passionate professionals. I appreciate you generously welcoming me into your space. You kept it fun, but you also taught me a lot about what it means to be a hard-working travelling professional. I’ve never met a more dedicated and talented crew. And if you are reading this and have never listened to Des Rocs before, stop immediately and GO LISTEN.  I mean it. If we cross paths in the future and you haven’t listened to his music yet, I will hereby wrestle you to the floor, throw a pair of headphones on you and press play. It’s your choice.

A final thank you must go to Precision Camera for the gear. I do hope you stop over there when you next need some extra items. And do try out running with a second camera body – it will save you a lot of time and lens changes. Tell ‘em Kail sent you… because that’ll make for an interesting conversation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go catch up on some sleep. Stay tuned next week for my second blog and feature on the video/photo content I captured during my 5S/5D.

Brother Moses in Austin: Show Review + interview

Story: Kail Rose, Photography: Christopher De La Rosa & K Rose

On Friday we had the privilege of catching NYC indie rock band Brother Moses live at Stubbs Austin, the first stop on their headlining tour for the month of February. 

We show up early in the evening, cruising through the still-empty Stubbs downstairs venue. Out back, there’s a crew playing football in the vast expanse of the Stubbs amphitheater yard, which I’m used to seeing jam-packed full of people. I quickly realize it’s the band themselves and their opener Feeves. They see us and head straight over to introduce themselves; James, John-Lewis, Moses and Corey, who comes with his own tagline: “the Best Drummer in the World.” 

We take over the spacious back garden’s notorious Airstream trailer for a quick informal video interview. We chat about humble beginnings, dance-fueled performances and how they are addressing real-world experiences with music that is fun and lighthearted. I later realize it’s the type of music that brings us together in a celebration of being humble, human, flawed and flawless. 

We skip upstairs to grab a quick bite of legendary Stubbs Barbecue before Feeves warms up the crowd with a fresh indie set. The evening crowd fills in quickly. It’s a predominantly younger group; college kids and those in their later 20s. A few hip couples in denim, slouchy beanies and vintage boots, sipping a craft beer. We spot many a girl gang, locked elbows, giggling and ready to dance. 

As Brother Moses takes the stage, the hype is very real. The venue and the crowd are literally buzzing. These people are here to boogie. As they kick off the set, it’s apparent that there will be no rockstar power poses, no slamming back a beer with a side of ego; no, none of that. Their humble and relatable demeanor makes this an inclusive performance. We’re not just here to see this band, but to become a part of their performance. With palpable energy, we unwittingly find ourselves committed – committed to celebrating our quirks and crazies, and to dance like nobody’s watching. 

After more than one occasion of a show-stopping technical issue, frontman James exclaims; “this is just like that time you have that nightmare where you go on stage and you’re in your underwear and all your stuff starts breaking… except this is real life.” Turning misfortune into humor, it’s an opportunity to connect with the audience, make them part of the show. I almost wonder if this was rehearsed. But the audience is game; hooting & hollering when finally Feeves brings us a backup guitar and saves the show. 

They progress through old hits and new material, somehow amplifying the energy as they go. Two blonde college girls slam back their White Claws, sling their tiny purses over their shoulder and barrel through the crowd in an impressively dainty fashion for What Does It Take. Blonde locks are flying as they dance and spin each other. The crowd parts to circle around this informal dance-off. Guitarists John-Lewis and Moses jump down into the crowd, in between twirling girls, for the song finale. Carefree is the word of the night.

And somehow Brother Moses manages a very full sound – a set of surprisingly intricate, groovy, quirky songs. John-Lewis and James trade off on the keyboard and guitar. With signature floppy hair and wireframe glasses doing nothing to conceal a cheeky sparkle of confidence (likely from his most excellent dance moves, if I must be honest…), James leads the vocals with quirk, kitsch and utter coolness. I see why this crowd had arrived with soaring expectations and impressive energy. And despite all expectations, this is a band that sounds even better live than recorded. 

I highly recommend you catch their live show, and grab their music here. Check out their remaining February tour stops and keep an eye out on March 6 to catch the release of Desperation Pop.

Show Review: Dirty Honey, Parish Austin

Photography & Show Review: Kail Rose

I was first introduced to Dirty Honey while sitting backstage with fellow rockers, Blacktop Mojo. As I customarily do, I asked my artist friends for new music recommendations – who had they seen on their tours that was new, upcoming and totally worth checking out? Unanimously, they answered “Dirty Honey.”

On my way home, I found a couple of their songs on Spotify and clicked play. They were right to recommend them – energetic rock reminiscent of Zeppelin and Aerosmith, with incredible vocals and catchy lyrics. This was everything a hit was made of. I followed, kept them on my playlist (I highly recommend adding When I’m Gone to your workout playlist) and looked forward to seeing them live as soon as possible.

I lucked out at Exit 111 Festival, just a few months later; a Tennessee rock festival I was already scheduled to photograph. Commanding a massive mid-afternoon crowd, their high-energy set and explosive vocals bought them a great number of new fans. Word on the street; Dirty Honey was the hot new band on the 111 lineup. Crowds packed early on, and the front row was buzzing with die-hard fans, homemade signs and more than a few DH shirts and hats. I later caught the band in the media lounge for a quick chat. It was apparent that despite being new to the scene, they were seasoned professionals and wholly committed to their music.

“The tracks on Dirty Honey bang with the kind of organic grit that could bring hard rock back to the mainstream, which would be an amazingly good thing. The New Classic Rock movement is building up steam and Dirty Honey is in an excellent position to help shape its leading edge.” – Mike O’Cull, Rock and Blues Muse

Hailing from Los Angeles, the band consists of singer Marc Labelle, guitarist John Notto, bassist Justin Smolian, and drummer Corey Coverstone. The band formed only very recently, in 2017, but has very quickly gained notoriety and a sizeable, enthusiastic fanbase in the rock genre. They self-released a self-titled EP in March of 2019. Their single When I’m Gone quickly topped the Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart, making them the very first unsigned band to achieve such accolades. 

“For years, the term ‘saviors of rock and roll’ has been handed out too easily, with very few in recent years, barring Rival Sons, getting anywhere close. But, with the backing Dirty Honey have from established stars and iconic producers, a major label is sure to come calling soon. If that happens, the potential of this band is infinite.” – Adam Keys, Rush on Rock

I recently caught their January show at The Parish Austin, just one of their multi-city US tour dates. They’d enticed a formidable crowd. I quickly learned that Dirty Honey has quickly amassed a group of hardcore fans – many of which had been travelling along, city-to-city, to catch more than one show. All were clad in DH merch, and could barely contain their excitement. Their Friday evening show kicked off with Scars, a bluesy, groovy tune, and quickly accelerated through Break You to hit Fire Away. The ten-song set was over before we knew it, but not before a flawless rendition of Aerosmith’s Last Child (Marc sure can hit those delicious notes), wrapping with When I’m Gone and Rolling 7’s.

As we left the venue, I overheard several parties commenting on how excited they were to hit their Dallas show the very next day. Others commented that they were prepared to travel up to Pryor, OK for their Rocklahoma festival set May 22-24. We predict big things for these guys – and rightfully so. The talent is humbling, and their energy and prowess on stage is unmatched. If you haven’t taken a quick listen, we highly recommend you do. Check out their upcoming tour schedule here.

Cobracast Birthday bash 2020

This weekend saw yet another successful CobraCast Birthday Bash Slamboree at Come and Take It Live… starring School of Rock99 CrimesRoc HolidayBlack Heart SaintsMadam RadarThree33, Vallejo, Dirty Wormz and Dangerous Toys it was a nonstop high-octane birthday blowout for Bobby Sharron and the CobraCast.

Bobby has been a pivotal figure in the music industry here in Austin for many years – from his successful multi-genre music podcast, to his tireless support of Austin bands. Our music community would be amiss if it weren’t for Bobby’s contributions. To thank him for his hard work and the send a slightly-belated HBD, here’s a recap of Saturday’s celebrations.

Video by Kail Rose / dRiFFt. Song credits (used with permission): Black Heart Saints “Gasoline.” Thank you to Bobby and CATIL. You guys rock! 🤘Celebrating Bobby Sharron and Cobracast’s birthday, presented by Come and Take It Live.

G(irl)photographer: Nikon Music Video Bootcamp

Precision Camera hosted the three-day Nikon Music Video Bootcamp class last weekend at their north location. It was a jam-packed weekend of inspiration, information and hands-on learning, led by Chicago-based filmmaker, photographer and Nikon Ambassador Chris Hershman

Having worked with bands like Switchfoot and Company of Thieves, Chris has swiftly amassed a portfolio of big names and exceptional work. His work in film is visually engaging, terrifically creative, and stunningly beautiful – an artist and a storyteller who does not need to rely on expensive technology or high-dollar effects. I was stoked and slightly intimidated to be learning from a standout entrepreneur in the industry. But Chris is as approachable as he is brilliant, pairing inspiration and real-life anecdotes with practical, useful material that is valuable for students of all levels. It is clear that he desires to see his students grow and find success in their respective niches.

My interest in the class was a no-brainer, given my personal background in concert photography. I’ve dabbled in film, but I’ll be the first to admit that I am nowhere close to an ‘expert.’ I was suitably excited to expand my filmmaking horizons, particularly with an instructor of such caliber. 

I stepped into our first Friday evening class to discover I was surrounded by an exceptional group of peers, all equally as enthusiastic. Friday’s evening session set the stage for the full-day classes ahead. We learned a little about Chris’ background, discussed some basic principles of film and music video creation, examined production timelines and workflows, and took a behind-the-scenes look into some of Chris’ bigger film projects with Shure, Nikon, and artists Emily Blue and Company of Thieves. His down-to-earth narrative of first-hand experiences made the learning curve surmountable and our class time thoroughly enjoyable.

Saturday’s class began with an immersive discussion about camera gear, followed by a walk-through of camera settings appropriate for filming live music videos. Once we’d squared away basics like shutter speed, audio, ISO and aperture, Chris walked us through his own camera rig, patiently explaining how and why he’d built it that way. This segment was particularly valuable in demystifying the technology barrier many of us encountered stepping into this class. Conversation continued; stabilization tools, tripods, gimbals, and techniques for filming with multiple cameras. 

Finally we brought in our guest musician, Houston-based Steven Wells of Birthday Club. Chris walked us through the setup of 3-point lighting on set, as well as how to pair your camera to various color temperatures. This was immeasurably valuable to me, as I’d entirely ‘winged it’ where most previous video lighting was concerned. Good to know I wasn’t completely off-track! Finally, we were set to start filming. A highlight for me was the chance to command Chris’s camera. Sitting behind a ‘real’ camera rig was an opportunity to see myself in a place I’d only ever daydreamed about.

I was effervescently sold on the deal by the time I relinquished that camera to the next student. It was the first time I’d really thought of filmmaking as something truly possible for me, and not just a far-off pipe dream. After numerous takes, several of Steven’s best acoustic renditions of his current hits (the guy is insanely talented – check him out), a handful fails and a few more successes, we wrapped for the day and I headed home with a memory card full of my very own music video content.

I later chatted with Chris, eager to learn a bit more about his background, inspirations and motivation; and, well, figure out how to be exactly like him when I grow up. He chatted enthusiastically through some of his own experiences filmmaking; creating unprecedented concepts, following and documenting the one and only Joe McNally, running high-dollar/high-stress productions, and sharing the joy and successes he’d seen in teaching other aspiring filmmakers. 

I asked him what he hoped to impart on his students, particularly those that felt a little out of their league in taking his class. Without skipping a beat; “I’d tell them that everything is figure-out-able. It’s all possible.” He went on to give examples of his own sources of doubt, stating; “if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.” His unwavering faith in his students’ abilities is a rare trait. I predict that Chris will also see unprecedented success in further educational endeavors – as if he needed to add that to a mountain of accelerating film accolades. 

Sunday was our ‘Post-Production’ day, where we walked through the intricacies and workflow of taking raw video content and transposing it into a work of art with Adobe Premiere. We discussed both hardware and software, efficient workflows and the actual process of piecing together a video. This was the area of filmmaking that I had the most experience, so it was immeasurably useful to tack on Chris’ workflow tips, shortcuts, and expertise to my previous experience. As a self-taught nerd, it also made me feel a little more confident in my own working knowledge, like I was on the right path.

To be entirely honest, the class was over far too soon. I learned so much and could have sat in that classroom a full week. Which probably means that I need to immerse myself in similar classes — which I fully plan on doing. I am incredibly grateful to Precision Camera for bringing us yet another incredible learning opportunity – one that also happened to coincide so relevantly to my own passions in the music world.

As a self-taught and incredibly over-enthusiastic photographer, I generally suffer from impostor syndrome of the worst variety. I know that my passion for photo and video work far outweighs my actual life experience and sometimes I wonder if I deserve to be where I am today. Handling a ‘real’ camera rig and subsequently walking through everything necessary to create a finished product made me feel like this was something I could really, actually do. 

And having the opportunity to sit among others who come from a similar background makes me realize that we’re all on a learning curve, and that it’s okay to know what you don’t know. It’s a good thing. When I can walk out of a classroom and feel more at home in my chosen passion, and more driven to continue learning and growing as a Creative, I can thank only the folk that put together the opportunity in the first place. Classes like this are such a tremendously valuable resource for our creative community. Once again, I am absolutely floored that I can just walk into Precision Camera and take part any time I choose.  

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go harass all of my music industry friends to find someone who might tolerate me following them around with a camera for a few hours…

A Good Rogering: My favorite band you’ve never heard of

Photography: Josh Wolfer, Story: Kail Rose

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of their 2010 EP, Long Overdue, January 11th saw an absurdly excellent evening of music, rainbow penguins, and rock & roll debauchery with Austin’s own A Good Rogering. One of the few Austin bands I’ve seen more than a handful of times, I’ve yet to witness them perform a less-than-stellar show. 

No AGR set is the same. Expect eclectic acts of disobedience, an abundance of flying hair, and likely a few f-bombs. But excellence is the standard in everything they touch – be it 2017’s This is Death Metal, or something decidedly ‘funkier,’ a-la the more recent Mr. Peanut (seriously, check this one out).

Frontman Skunk Manhattan reeks brilliance on a myriad of instruments, but on lead vocals he brings an unpredictably grizzled, pitch-perfect showman-esque stature to the whole production. Clad this time in suit and tie (as is the entire band), you never quite know what he’ll do next. From “snailing” along the pit rail (you kinda had to be there…), gnawing on a cymbal or licking the plushie penguin before throwing himself into the crowd; it’s epic, it’s rock n’ roll, it’s a certain je-ne-sais-quois. All the while, lead guitarist Tim Driscoll takes us through a veritable wonderland of perfect riffs and slick solos. He’s flawless. Bassist Sammiard Alvarado trades holding down the low end with showing off some of the most beautiful hand-made basses I’ve seen. This multi-talented human also moonlights as a luthier, creating incredible works of art that happen to also sound amazing. This evening, the lineup includes John Takanikos on keys and another favorite local, Marc Coronado of The Crowned on drums. Through the evening we see cameos -including Blaine Matte of Eyetooth, who was once AGR’s bassist- and unexpected twists and turns; none of which overshadow the musical brilliance that is AGR live. 

This is one of those bands that leads you to consistently ask; “why the hell aren’t these guys touring internationally?” With a smorgasbord of music available on popular streaming platforms, they’re certainly not new to the scene. Some of their music is deliciously reminiscent of 80s rock, while other songs slip toward gritty heavy metal. Their many EP’s are dotted with deliciously frivolous sounds from pretty much every genre. When asked what their primary genre is, they’ll reply; “We call ourselves ‘eclectic rock’ because not much else really fits.” And that’s part of why we love them: there’s nothing they can’t do.

While almost all of the current band lineup moonlights in other musical projects (fully worth checking out), we can only sate our appetite by looking forward to their next rare appearance. What’s next for these eclectic rock geniuses? Will it be a brand new love song? A tribute show? Or a brand new EP, featuring songs of who-knows-what genre? Will it be their enormously popular summer rock festival, Skunkfest? The latter is guaranteed, and if 2019 was any indication, Skunkfest 2020 will be bigger, better, louder and crazier than ever before. Save the date: June 19 & 20 at Come and Take It Live in Austin, Texas. 

Spring 2020 Festivals: Must-Sees & Mehs

Innings Festival Temp AZ full lineup 2020

Innings Festival – Must See

This will be our first fest of the decade, and it’s a no-brainer. Held in Tempe AZ (Phoenix area, for those not familiar) from Feb 29-Mar 1 – because where else would you want to be on Leap Year day? With headliners Dave Matthews Band and Weezer, we’re stoked already. But the lineup goes beyond that to include so many great artists. It’s probably the only baseball-themed festival in existence, and promises batting cages, a chance to make an epic game-saving catch, and you can even watch Ryan Dempster interview some of your favorite MLB legends. This one is so cool and so unique – and we’re pretty excited. 

Okeechobee Music Festival full 2020 lineup Sunshine Grove Florida

Okeechobee Music Fest – Must See. 

Held in Sunshine Grove, Okeechobee FL from March 5 -8, OMF goes beyond your average music festival. Their mantra is more than just words—it’s a way of life. Each year, this community comes together to live, laugh, listen, sing, dance, learn, create, meditate, downward-dog, eat & drink, explore, give back, and “Be Here Now.” If you want a festival that combines a killer lineup, laid-back environment, out-of-this-world-art and the beach… look no further.

Coachella Music Festival 2020 lineup Indio California

Coachella – Meh. 

I can’t believe we’re saying this for the second year in a row, but Meh. Major meh. Not much in the lineup really stands out when you consider that most of the big names are playing elsewhere at more accessible festivals where you can actually get within a mile of the stage. It’s kind of that old “too big for its’ britches” phenomena… I just don’t really have a reason to want to go. I don’t even have enough FOMO here to pretend I’d be interested In Coachella this year. For one, their crowds inspire a sense of general dread, since I’m not a lover of standing in a giant dusty field full of teenagers who just can’t take enough selfies, while I crane to see a stage in the far distance and gobble down a $25 slice of pizza. Which is now coated in dust. And with that thought… I’m glad I’m not scheduled to attend this year. 

SXSW South by Southwest festival Austin logo

SXSW – Must See. 

This is our yearly pilgrimage to the center of the Live Music Capital of the world… where better to see an astonishing array of incredible musicians handpicked by industry leaders? If you want to find your new favorite act, this is the place to do it. Yes, it’s a big festival, but the venues are many; and they’re small, intimate and full of character. There will be no standing in a dusty field at this one, guaranteed. Running March 13 through 22nd, you’ll have many chances to explore the city, soak up all that Austin has to offer, see (many) great bands and eat all the tacos your heart desires. Because I probably will be doing that myself. So book that AirBnB, indulge in the beautiful spring weather at Zilker Park, grab dinner on 2nd or Congress, and come get weird with us. 

Sand Jam Music Festival 2020 Panama City Beach Florida Lineup

Sand Jam – Must See. 

Because Shinedown, 311 and Weezer on the beach in Panama City, FL is one opportunity we just can’t pass up. April 24-26 is when the 2nd annual alt rock fest goes down, which means you’ve got just over 100 days to grab a ticket and pick out your best beach gear. There’s practically nobody on this lineup we don’t want to see, so come join us in the front row for a weekend of sunshine and killer music.

Welcome to Rockville Daytona Beach Florida 2020 Lineup

Welcome to Rockville – Meh. 

Once upon a time, Rockville really had something to offer… but it seems to have grown out of it’s “Unique little FL rock fest” and into something almost completely unrecognizable. Piggybacking off just about the exact same lineup as every other DWP festival this year, we just can’t really justify this one. The recycled lineup, inflated ticket prices and poor organization of year’s past just have us saying “thanks, but no thanks.” (P.S. If you want a better rock option, stay tuned for Rockfest later in the year). 

Hangout Fest Gulf Shores Alabama Full lineup festival 2020

Hangout Fest – Must See. 

Their lineup this year is HUGE! I mean… are we for real here? Even some of the small-print bands are going to be out of this world and since it’s another beach fest, this time held on the expansive sunny beaches of Gulf Shores, AL from May 15-17, we just can’t really find a reason to say no. What a perfect start to summer.

Shaky Knees Music Festival 2020 Atlanta Georgia lineup

Shaky Knees – Definite Must-See

If those headliners aren’t enough to convince you, does the rest of the lineup do it? No? How about perfect springtime weather taking place May 1-3 in Atlanta’s Central Park, situated between their bubbling downtown and the Fourth Ward District? I mean… The Smashing Pumpkins, The Strokes and The Black Keys do it for me. But what do I know about great music?

Bottle rock Napa Valley Music and Wine Festival 2020 full lineup

Bottlerock vs Boston Calling – how can we even choose?

These are both on our must-see list but sadly, they happen on the exact same weekend so we’re gonna have to make some tough choices. The full BC lineup isn’t released yet, but we’ll share when it‘s released. Miraculously, they will both feature Red Hot Chili Peppers, and BC also promises Foo Fighters. Either way, you can’t go wrong – whether you want the old-school historic charm of Boston, or the laid-back wine country kitsch of Napa, it’s your pick for the weekend of May 22-24.

Which will it be? or ?

Want to join our team at some of these festivals? We need writers and photographers! Send us an email.

G(irl)photographer: New Year’s Resolution

Like most of us, I sat down around New Year and attempted to write out my list of New Year’s Resolutions. They varied from the usual “go running at least three days a week,” “eat healthy” and “drink less wine” (ha… we’ll see how that one goes) to the exceptionally over-ambitious “start an independent media revolution.” But somewhere in-between, sparked partially by my time spent at the Sony Alpha photography classes in late fall, was one simple resolution: 


It’s no secret that I’m a total dweeb for educational things. But somehow adulting led me to seriously neglect these things in recent times. That needs to change. So I set out to research some easily accessible, not-too-time-consuming opportunities to get this brain working again. 

  1. Nikon Music Video Bootcamp

As a photographer deeply entrenched in the music world, learning more about music video production is another pursuit I have sorely neglected. And a really fun one. In searching Precision Camera’s database of upcoming classes, I stumbled across the Nikon Music Video Bootcamp and signed up on the spot. It’s a three-day series of classes held at Precision’s North location (did you hear they opened a second store on William Cannon and Manchaca?). It’s hosted by filmmaker and Nikon Ambassador Chris Hershman and covers planning, filming, editing and post-production for music videos. It runs the evening of Jan 17th, and then all day Saturday January 18 and Sunday January 19th. While I’m really not a video guru (though I hope to be one day…), this class sounds rock-solid and I can’t wait to jump in. 

  1. Nerd Nite #122: New Year, Nerd You!

All puns aside, Nerd Nite is amazing. And I kind of think their dad jokes are, too. I’ve loved NN since I first discovered this motley crew of avid learners and self-professed geeks back in, oh, 2017 or so? It’s been a while since my schedule allowed me to attend one of their coveted evenings, but there’s one coming up on Wednesday, January 8th and you can bet I’ll be there. 

Here’s the deets: Head to the North Door for 7:30ish (talks start at 8pm). It’s free, so don’t even worry about breaking the bank. Grab a drink and/or tacos from Pueblo Viejo (you won’t regret it, I promise) and make some new friends. There’s even an Ambassador program, where you can sign up for a friend-making meet & greet prior to the show (NOT speed dating, Full Disclosure). There will be three talks: “The Joy of Eating” by Drew Castillo, “Calming Down Like a Child” by Eley Escandell and “The (Mostly) Painless Way to Improve Your Life And Make it Stick” by Angela Arnold. Read more about all of these here. And since I’ll be there, make sure to say hello if you see me and let’s all have an amazingly nerdy time!

  1. Photo Tour on AirBnB

I’ll be the first to admit I got a little wildly aspirational on this search…. Finding a Photo Tour through the Vatican City in Italy and The Northern Lights Pro Photographer tour will do that to you. But then I also found lots of local (US-based options). Since I love to travel and shoot, why not find a pro who has devoted their business to guiding people unfamiliar with their town to the most photogenic spots available? I say yes. Most of these tours cost between $50-$100, usually depending on the time involved. Since I’ll be in the area later this year, I think I might start with the Miami Design District Photowalk.

As usual, I have a million additional ideas to add to my list. But mom always says “make your goals attainable and you will succeed.” Dangit, you’re right mom… so here we are. This is my to-do list of learning opportunities for the near future. Hope you might consider joining me for some of them.

G(irl)photographer: My Top Shows of 2019

By: Kail Rose, Published 12/31/19 on G(irl)

It’s been a wild, jam-packed year. So many amazing opportunities and incredible shows – I’m beyond blessed to have found myself sitting in the pit at each of them, shooting to my heart’s content. As I do every year, here’s a recap of my favorite shows (and festivals) of 2019.

All images on this page available for hi-res download – click through to Patreon.

#1 – Camp Anarchy

For the unexpected, last-minute punk rock awesomeness. Also I got invited backstage for The Offspring (by Lee Ving of FEAR himself), but I’m getting ahead of myself. I literally found out I’d be shooting this one four days prior. Yeah, another one of those

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G(irl)photographer: 001 What's this all about, then?

Musings from my photographic journey; learnings, inspiration, adventures, chance meetings and useful resources. Also probably some overly enthusiastic ramblings about cool things I happen across…

In case it wasn’t already obvious, one of my biggest passions is photography. Captain Obvious has entered the building. To be honest, it’s become a monumentous learning curve that uncovers just how many things I don’t know as I (attempt to) master new skills, dive into new opportunities, projects and classes. I’m also super passionate about networking with other photographers, learning from them, finding new resources and sharing cool and useful sh*t. So I decided to add a new feature to my existing blogs – one that might stray a little more into the personal realm and away from the music, festivals and travel. Welcome to G(irl)photographer. And yes, that (irl) really does stand for “in real life,” because I want to share my real-life experiences with you, first-hand. 

So I’m now going to completely irrelevantly skip to the holiday weekend and Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which I despise in all its’ consumerist glory. But there’s a reason. I wanted to talk about local resources for photographers – specifically one I’ve recently become quite a bit attached to. Austin has this giant photographer’s Mecca off Anderson Lane called Precision Camera, and it’s kind of the holy grail of all things photogeek. And before you proceed, this is not a sponsored post and they are in no way paying me to say any of the following. Nice or otherwise. So if I get my facts wrong or screw up and convince you to buy a brand new camera/lens/anything that you don’t really need, that’s entirely my fault and not theirs. But I do like them, and they probably won’t mind if you do actually buy that camera/lens/anything… so read on, friends. 

It all started about a year and a half ago when I made the decision to switch from Canon to Sony (yikes, ouch, goodbye $$$…). I’d shopped around online and was a little hesitant to drop several thousand dollars online at a gigantic faceless photo megastore and even less enthusiastic about buying from Amazon. So I did some digging and found myself ordering from Precision instead. Best decision ever – they actually helped me set up the camera, snag a few good lenses and learn the new camera menus. Not kidding, that was like learning to ride a bike all over again. But you’re dyslexic, the menu is tiny and complicated and you also lost your glasses. It was SO not anything like any camera I knew and I just glazed over trying to figure it out. Also that was a really shitty bike-riding metaphor. 

Anyway. They made me feel a little less freaked out about the transition, helped me learn and also gave me that glowing little sensation in my tummy for having put my money where my mouth was, supporting a local business. Win-win. From there, I took off all year merrily photographing lots of things with my new Sony Alpha a7iii all over the country. 

More recently, as I was returning home from said crazy year of travel, festivals, concerts and photography, I saw an Instagram post for their Sony Alpha Experience – a full day of classes taught by three Sony masters. For the grand whopping fee of $19. I signed up on the spot. 

It was like they’d created these three classes just for me; a perfect mix of expert advice, some technical leveling up, breathtakingly incredible images to boost the Inspo Meter, and just enough networking to sell me on this class thing. I met the new owner, Mr Phil Livingston, who is a super cool guy with a very big passion for creating a valuable local photography resource in our humble town. Our first class was Shooting Action with Patrick Murphy-Racey, acclaimed sports photographer, ex-Sports Illustrated photographer and an incredible photojournalist. So much of his content was incredibly relevant to me in concert photography, as very seldom do I find myself snapping a stoic, slow-moving artist (see below, for many nimble, fast-moving creatures I’ve captured). Next up, we heard about the crazy travels and adventures in less-than hospitable locales in a seminar titled The Art of Storytelling with Taylor Rees. The day wrapped with the incomparable energy and enthusiasm of Scott Robert Lim, along with invaluable technical know-how in his class Going Prime Time. I walked out of the store incredibly inspired, with a bunch of new techniques and tools in my nifty little photographer’s toolkit. And bonus? I didn’t actually murder my bank account buying any of those amazing new prime lenses. Yet. 

(HINT: Friends and family – buy me prime lenses for Christmas. You know where to go.)

Ok. No more sharing.

I later sat down with Mr. Phil Livingston and said “How can I help you guys share what you are doing? How can I help local photographers know about the resources available to them? And how can I support Precision as a super-duper awesome local business that really deserves not only recognition for their contributions to the photography community, but a little more recogition for the mere fact that they are not some giant faceless big-box website?” I actually did ask him all of those things, in one very big drawn-out enthusiastic question, and he kind of looked like a deer in the headlights of the Kail Enthusiasm Train. Sorry, Phil. 

But we decided that I could use my supreme Powers of Blogging (AKA the stuff I ramble about, and sometimes people actually read…) to share my experiences and start encouraging you, my readers, to try stuff out as well.

Side note: still not getting paid anything for this… that’s not what this is about.

Also a side note that was probably already pretty apparent: I am a massive supporter of the Shop Local movement and will always put my money where my mouth is. Or my blog, perhaps…

So… aside from sharing this fun experience with you, and begging you to consider grabbing your new camera gear from a local spot, I also wanted to preview what’s next. If you’ve made it this far through the above (slightly irrelevant and possibly nonsensical) post, I want to invite you to the next set of nifty educational opportunities at Precision. Which happen precisely one week from now and will cost you all of zero dollars to attend. 

Yep. Precision Camera is hosting their annual Winter Expo on December 6 and 7th, and it includes two full days of absolutely free classes – everything from nighttime photography, portrait lighting and nature photography to video technique. I will most definitely be catching The Wonders of the Night Sky (this is my newest foray), The Art of Travel and Storytelling (doesn’t that just have my name written all over it??) and By Path or Paddle – Photographing the Natural World. But here’s the full schedule:

I can honestly say that rocking up for the Sony Alpha Experience was one of the best decisions I have made in a long time. It gave me an opportunity to learn from some incredible teachers and find inspiration and mojo in tackling grand new photographic adventures. Like so many of you, I’m pretty much just a random newbie who grabbed her camera one day and decided to see what she could do. I still have so many things to learn… and that’s a really good thing. But if there’s anything I can impart upon the photographers reading this, it’s to know your resources, network and learn like a crazy person, and continually challenge yourself to GET BETTER at what you do. Get outside of your comfort zone. The sky is the limit. 

Now get out of here before I start throwing around more cheesy inspirational one-liners. I’ll see you next weekend at the Precision Camera Winter Expo.