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A Cast-off Camera and a Joe Show

I have a lot--A LOT!--of pictures of my favorite blues rocker, Joe Bonamassa. I've been to over 100 Joe shows--small, medium, and large in 9 states--over the past 18 years and photographed him at all but the very first one; those photos are scattered among an old dusty desktop computer, two external hard drives, three laptops, Google drive, and several Facebook photo folders (some people lack organizational skills and I'm one of them). I was digging around a little today for a smattering of pics to add to the new Feeling the Blues photo gallery (which I hope you enjoy) and there is indeed an excessive amount of Joe show pics. So that got me thinking about my third Joe show, which was the one at which I took the pic that served as the bridge to music photography.

In September of 2003, Joe played at a now-defunct funky cool venue called The Cellar, just three miles from home. I brought a very rudimentary cast-off digital camera, one that someone got for free with a new computer, had no need for, and offered to me. A few photos that I took with it came out ok so I sent them to the promoter. He liked them and asked me if I would photograph the national act that was coming to town the following month: Three Doors Down, a bigger band, show, and venue. Although I thought it was a moderately bad idea on his part, "Hell yes!" was my answer. With little idea as to what I was actually doing and gear that fell pretty far short of the category of pro or even serious amateur, I had some intensive on-the-job training that night (or baptism by fire, as it were), got some decent shots, and felt right at home in the pit. Many years, many shows, and a few of cameras later, I remain grateful for that Joe Bonamassa show, that cast-off digital camera, and to the local promoter who kept me on staff for the next several years; it was good practice and great fun. Being on board with Joe was pretty interesting, too, but that's a blog or three all it's own...

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