Maidment Theatre

It is with deep sadness I have to announce this very bad news. It appears as our wonderful Maidment Theatre in Auckland has been closed.

This is nothing short of a disaster and all I can say it I am so glad we were able to have the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz group play there on November 20th 2015. It appears the theatre is an earthquake risk and at this stage we are not certain if it will reopen. There is no doubt this was one of the very best artistic theaters in this country and we are devastated about this news.

Below is a letter send out by Lester MaCrath general Manager.


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I had never come across Dave Alley until Tuesday 9th June 2015. That is seriously to my detriment.
Dave is one sensational guitarists and yes he has done more than his ten thousand hours. Dave was performing at “Corellis” a very good restaurant in Devonport New Zealand.
Dave was appearing with Cat Tunks and they claim the music is New Zealand blues noir and soul.

Unfortunately i had not taken my camera gear and had to suffice with my trusty iPhone 6 plus.
Corellis has a musical event every second Tuesday and they have no problem filling the place on a winters evening during the week. Not only is the food bargain prices but the quality is also terrific.
How they find these superb musicians is well beyond me and I am astounded at the talent we are able to witness for ridiculously low prices.
Dave Alley blew me away, he hardly looked at his fretboard, yet sung and backed Cat Tunks with fluid licks that even would make Tommy Emanuel sit up and take notice.
My goal now is to seek Dave Alley out at his next gig and make certain I take my Sony A7s to capture some good still shots together with an example of his ability on video.
Anyone in New Zealand who are reading this and can get down to Devonport to “Corellis” and witness great musical performances along with value for money in the culinary department will not regret it. Dave Alley is a performer to watch out for, if you see he is performing at a place near you get out and support this extraordinary talent.

Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz

Hank Marvin and his Gypsy Jazz Quartet from Perth Western Australia, made a surprise visit to the Christchurch Jazz Festival in April 2015.
They performed at the Charles Luney Auditorium, St Margaret’s College, 12 Winchester Street.
The group consisted of Hank Marvin (ex Shadows) on guitar, Gary Taylor (ex Herd) on Guitar, Nunzio Mondia on Accordion and Robbie Pisano on double bass.
They also made a visit nationwide in 2013 and their last visit was in November of 2015.
The cities visited in the last tour was Nelson, Wellington, Tauranga. and Auckland. Prior to the last visit they performed at the Fly By Night Club in Perth their home town.

David Hasselhoff

Mandrill Recording Studios and David Hasselhoff

I just came across photo from the 80’s with The Hoff.
This was a spoof shot taken in 1986, soon after The Hoff arrived in Auckland to record the album, “Lovin’ Feelings”.
Bruce Lynch was the producer and David H was taken to Bruce’s home for pre-production session with a handful of musicians.
David knew from earlier communications that we would be making the record at Mandrill Recording Studios, but Bruce and his muso friends set him up to believe that The Boatshed at the back of Bruce’s home was it! (A few years later “The Boatshed” became Bruce’s seriously good recording studio, but at that time was… just a boat shed.)
L to R, Bruce Lynch, Dave McRae, David Hasselhoff, Frank Gibson Jnr, and Glyn Tucker Jnr.
(see the story of the making of “Lovin’ Feelings” on our Blog of March 2015)
Glyn Tucker

Ellington Club Perth

Another lucky break for me, the opportunity to attend the rehearsals and concerts in April 2015 for Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz Ensemble. The chance to take photos and video as well as enjoy the company with a bunch of great people.

I will post photos in the gallery.







Hayden Wood

Many people seem to think there is very little skill in Concert photography. However it is one of the most challenging fields you can endure with a camera, with concert photography you have almost no control with your planned shots. In other words we cannot control the performers being photographed, there is no way we have control over the lighting, as lighting is constantly changing and then above everything else we cannot control the angles.
The main point that I have also reiterated on before, we cannot forget that the audience have paid good money to see their favourite artist, we cannot get in their line of view and spoil their show. Sometimes there are limitations placed on photographers by the promoter, there can also be limitations placed on photographers by the venue itself. All of these things must be taken into account when preparing a concert shoot.

I hear you, you want the answer to how it can be done as you are ready to start right? Well the first thing to think about is how you can lower the aspects that I have mentioned above.

A good place to start is at the smaller shows, something relatively easy to access, somewhere you can easily move around without interrupting anyone. It could be a thought to start with maybe a promoter you know personally or a band or artist you know. I was lucky way back when I was invited to a Cliff Richard show at Wembley and was able to get behind stage as well as the green room where I could get some shots without worrying and this was in the days of film, way before the digital camera era. My camera then was a Nikon FE and I still own it today.


It’s not the camera that is important but the person behind it.
There is no doubt skill is the answer to any type of photography but with concert photography the camera equipment being used is vital. Many of the problems are associated with shooting in low light, ideally we need a camera capable of shooting at a higher ISO rating without noise and ideally a lens capable of opening up to at least 2.8. My preferred unit for this is my trust Sony A7s with a Sony 70-200.

Another consideration is shooting rock bands, normally a higher shutter speed is required due to the fast and dynamic actions of the performers, singers who are all over the place, jumping in the air, the drummer with his sticks in the air etc.
Luckily my Sony A7s is capable of extremely high ISO, making it perfect for low light conditions, it is very usable to 12500 ISO but can go to the crazy value of 105,000.

High ISO and Noise

In my opinion a slightly noisy picture can still look great and there are tools such as Adobe Lightroom available to reduce the noise at a later stage. That is one amazing benefit of digital photography. If you use a low ISO rating to avoid the noise you are far more likely to end up with a blurry photo that is unusable. Another point worth consideration is to use black and white as noise is not as pronounced.

Correct exposure

How do we know how to measure light? This the first difficulty we are faced with in any photography let alone concert photography. The measurement of the light that allows us to select the correct exposure. In live concerts we’ll usually measure light from a point which we want to expose by using the point metering in our camera. However with modern cameras like the Sony A7s there are other options available as well.
In many live performances there can be a variety of sets of different and repeating light, so you should keep in mind the appropriate parameters for the different light and then for example as soon as spot will be on the singer we will know what the appropriate parameters for our frame.
You can check your histogram and in addition check in the monitor for overexposed points, to ensure that the important objects in the frame are exposed properly. One of the most frustrating things is to get back home with a picture that looks good on the camera and then we find out in our computer screen that it’s overexposed or underexposed. Never the less always make certain you shoot in RAW as the flexibility this gives you in post production means most under or over exposures can be overcome once again with the likes of Adobe Lightroom.

Flash or no flash?

You are in a big concert, a long way from the stage, all around you are hundreds of flashes from cameras from people who are trying to take pictures of the show. Well sadly your flash will have zero effect on the group or a singer. In many situations like this the stage will turn out dark.
So when you are far from the stage – turn off the flash. In my opinion you should never use flash at a concert, it is inconsiderate and with a camera like the Sony A7s there is no need for it.
I can write about all aspects of using flash, yes it has its place but please not in a concert.

Waiting for the right moment

If it is too dark and we are distance from the stage, the idea is to wait until a spot light or other lights are turned on, the narrow, focused and strong light, will light the artist. You must remember: photographing a concert is not like most other types of photography where it is important to see everything. We are looking for atmosphere, usually extremely difficult to come by.

Camera constraints

Old cameras, compact cameras, together with lenses above F4 Aperture can cause problems when trying to capture a subject with the correct lighting. You can easily land up with a silhouette due to lighting behind the subject similar shooting into sunlight. This is because lights are always changing and that is why I believe it is most important to choose the right gear. The Sony A7s is a spectacular low light unit and very hard to beat. It is remarkable what that camera can do in such tricky situations.

Hank Marvin
Hank Marvin

Hank Marvin

I was introduced to Hank Marvin (The Shadows) back in 2013 by my friend of 48 years Gray Bartlett. What happened since that meeting is nothing short of amazing and I intend writing the full story in detail. This will start from back in the early 1960’s because the events leading up to the current situation have a bearing on it and quite remarkable. I hope to produce a book about it both in digital format and as a hard copy with high quality pictures. Parts of the events can be read in my life story on this site but not in real detail. Since that time I have become extremely passionate about the art of Concert Photography which happens to be very challenging to say the least.

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2013 was the very first tour of New Zealand by the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz Ensemble. Before the tour took place Neil Collins from Radio Dunedin had the opportunity to interview Hank on the telephone before the tour.


  • Click on the audio file above to listen.
  • Hear Hank with his typical dry sense of humour.
  • Once again a piece of history we are privileged to listen to;
  • The tour was presented and organized by Gray Bartlett

If it was not for Gray Bartlett and his generosity I would have never met hank Marvin and I would have not had the opportinty to take great photos and video of the concerts. The day Gray phoned me at the beginning of 2013 and informed me of his intention to promote the tour just floored me. What has gone on since has been a dream come true.

  • I met Hank Marvin for the first time in 2013.
  • My involvement during that tour was another dream that came true.
  • 2015 was a fantastic year as I got personally involved with touring both Australia and New Zealand with hank and the boys;
  • It continues to happen. We make our own luck do we not?




Most people believe “It can’t be done” How many times do you hear someone say that? Almost daily if you listen. No wonder many people are doomed to fail. Many of us give up and settle for a lot less in life than we could have, on the other side of the coin many of us just work too hard believing we need a lot more than we really do. After a very rough start in life; living in a small coal mining village in New Zealand, receiving a very poor education, I was able to carve out a spectacular career. Despite failing all the exams at Huntly College, New Zealand, despite the wasted three miserable years there I was able to retire at 50 years old. Yes I had the help of many good people along the way plus self determination and I escaped working in a coal mine and made some interesting experiences happen.

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