At the end of the year, it's a pretty enjoyable task to review my photographic work for the last 12 months. It reminds me of how lucky I've been to be able to be at all these awesome shows, and to be able to attempt to capture a little bit of the magic of live performance to share with you. It's never an easy task, especially as the physicality of the work gets more demanding for me. More than once this year I've had to stop shooting to shove emergency candy in my mouth to counteract low blood sugar. I cannot imagine what some of the bands might have thought seeing this photographer down front in the middle of their show suddenly take a box of Sugar Babies and frantically chew them like some desperate confectionery junkie, although I also find that image very funny.

I am always convinced at the end of the night that I've got nothing in the camera and will be dejected, but that's never true. I'm working on having a slightly more realistic expectation after 38 years of experience. Ah, but maybe the worry of not getting shots is what helps me get them. Given the opportunity, I will work until the last note is played and I've done everything I can to do my best without impacting the experience between the audience and the performers, because that's what it's all about, Charlie Brown.

The criteria I use each year to pick the photos are but two: one, do I love it and two, is it beautiful? Do very much now please to enjoy my favorites from this year, click on the photos to enlarge, and please visit my Flickr any ol' time you like, because it's really just there for you. Thank you.

Ty Segall & the Muggers, Neptune Theater, Seattle, WA. January 12, 2016

I've photographed Ty Segall many times and am always rewarded with dynamic pictures and FUN. Similarly to Thee Oh Sees, unless there's a photo pit, it's nearly impossible to get any pictures if you are up front and center and short like me, because it is always a swirling mass of humanity that tends to knock you and your gear around pretty constantly. For this show at the Neptune, I found a prime spot on the side and stuck there (not like I could move anyway), and got the rare Ty jump shot and a very pretty "reach out and touch somebody's haaaand." The lighting at the Neptune is always excellent, and that makes my job infinitely easier.

Hands down, I find pro-wrestling-themed Stallion to be most entertaining band around. After performing in a mid-June rainstorm, here we see "Luscious Luke" Beetham enthralling the crowd with a display of bullwhip prowess. I've seen grown men recoil at the deafening crack, and grown women, too -- namely me. This is as close as I'm gettin' to that business, I tell you whut.

I love this one because that's Dreamsalon's Craig Chambers onstage, celebrating his 40th birthday, and his spouse Adria Garcia in front, wildly writhing and whipping her hair in a beautiful dance for her man and his music. Sex-zaaaayy!

Oh, Pizza Fest, you always so crazy. So, OK, you might not find this meets the whole "beautiful" standard for this post, BUT I DO, for I find it beautiful that anyone would go to the trouble of wearing frozen pizzas onstage in support of a pizza-themed punk music festival.

Maniac, Pizza Fest 7, El Corazon, Seattle, WA. August 5, 2016

See that pole covered with stickers? That pole is every Seattle music photographer's nemesis. Whenever I shoot at the El Corazon, that damn pole steals half the shots I want, bisecting my subjects with immovable, frustrating certainty. To get a sweet jumper there is YAY.

SSDD is one of my favorite bands to photograph, because lead vocalist Kennedy Carda is so animated. You can really feel the power of the band through the images, thanks to that. Three of my faves came from their Pizza Fest show this year: a giant double-exposure pizza slice coming for guitarist Jermaine Blair, an in-action shot of Carda and guitarist Ricky Claudon, and Carda slinking behind steely-eyed bassist Erika Mayfield.

See pizza. See beer. See people quickly eating pizza with beer. See results. SNAP.

I hope someone shows this to their grandchildren someday with a "Back in MY day, we knew how to have fun! You kids spending all your time in virtual reality pods, feh!"

Because "Old Gary" Goddard there has a delicious sense of humor.

Gazebos, Macefield Music Festival, Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA., October 1, 2016

Lead vocalist Shannon Perry, also an internationally-known tattoo artist, is always an outstanding subject to photograph: so stylish and unusual and gorgeous. This black-and-white conversion worked well to highlight the lace details of her dress, tattoos, and eyes.

Sometimes the shot you want to get isn't obvious at first. When I am working, I am always scanning for interesting things that give you a different perspective of the performance.

The lighting for this performance was very challenging, as it was strongly backlit with hardly any front lighting at all. In some cases, I would go ahead and pull out my flash, but that didn't seem to be the right choice here, as I thought it would be intrusive and jarring. All I could do was max out my manual camera settings and then work with the results in post-processing. I think the results were striking.

Jacuzzi Boys, Chop Suey, Seattle, WA., October 20, 2016

It was joyful to have the Boys back in Seattle after a 3-year absence! But again, lighting challenges! Hot strobes, little front lighting, and the dreaded fog machine combined for a lot of work for even the smartest camera. It's hard to find focus when all of these conspire. I shot half the show with flash and half without. This double-expsore shot of vocalist/guitarist Gabriel Alcala, sans flash, gives you a feeling of his wild, hair-whipping moves.

My last shoot of the year was such a happy one, with four of my favorite local bands playing a holiday-themed concert at the (relatively) big Showbox Market, with a photo pit and no restrictions -- woo! Check out a smitten fan giving vocalist Michael McKinney some sweet eyes, and the moody lighting and movement on the close up of McKinney and bassist Shawn Randles.

Tacocat is another band that is always a joy to shoot -- so colorful and sparking, they are. In the first shot, I waited for bassist Bree Mckenna to come into shot between two tiny metallic Christmas tree decorations to grab a framing with that lovely bokeh. 

The second shot of drummer Lelah Maupin is NOT post-processing magic! As I was framing this shot, the fog machine started up and and enveloped Lelah in a floating pink cloud as it combined with the fog. Whoa!, I thought, and SNAP. 

Finally, I just love this one of vocalist Emily Nokes as she is walking offstage after Tacocat's set with friend Victoria Liss. It shows the joy of the night and all the love in the room. Those shots are always the ones I treasure the most.