The Scott Pemberton Band played a show in photographer Larry Sabo’s temporary studio on Saturday.
Actually, the venue was The Saint, Reno’s cool new spot in midtown. The concert was a packed to see the quartet from Portland, Oregon. The rock band has played numerous time in the Reno-Tahoe area in recent years and has built quite a following.
Sabo had photographed the Scott Pemberton Band seven previous times. On Saturday, he set up flash units at The Saint’s bandstand for the first time. Audience members never knew, and Pemberton said he didn’t even notice the lights.
“I had one flash stage left and one flash stage right pointing straight up with reflectors protecting the crowd from the flash and softening the flash on the artists,” Sabo explained. “I had another flash behind the drummer with a diffuser, and you can see this effect on the drummer shots. I had another small flash on camera, along with the flash trigger, so no matter where I moved around I always had a flash pointing at the subject I was shooting, along with the others going off in sync.
“I used gaffers tape to hold them down onstage and was able to turn them by hand at whatever subject I was shooting at the time. … I dialed them down between -2 to -3 F Stops using Aperture Priority on my camera so they we basically used as fill light. Scott and (percussionist) Rudy Slizewski said they didn’t even notice the flashes were being used.”
Sabo lives in South Lake Tahoe and on Saturday he drove through a blizzard to get home. But going the extra mile is standard for Sabo, who has photographed more the 450 shows since joining Tahoe Onstage in 2014.
“Music and photography have been lifetime passions so this is perfect for me because it allows me to indulge to my two loves,” said Sabo, who is a Realtor by day. He uses three Cannon bodies, seven zoom and 12 prime lenses.
Not only does he take impeccable onstage images of artists, he has a penchant for capturing the flavor of the shows with photos of the concertgoers.
“I’ve been to so many shows that all the regulars know me now and I am always friendly,” he said. “I always ask permission before stepping in front of somebody. I do it with a nod because it’s loud. Twenty nine out of 30 people will let me through. When they don’t, I’ll just walk the other way. I take 300 shots in a show. If I miss a shot, it’s insignificant to me.”
The first-ever concert Sabo attended was Grand Funk Railroad in 1974 at the Portland Memorial Coliseum. Last October, he photographed a Grand Funk Railroad show at MontBleu in Stateline.