Leica M6 "Panda" and Kodak Tri-x
5 frames with...

5 Frames of ‘… And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead’ with a Leica M6 and Kodak Tri-X – by Neil Milton

November 30, 2022

Though I’ve largely ploughed my creative furrow in street photography, I got my all-important start in being paid to photograph by shooting gigs on the Glasgow and Edinburgh music scenes. Having come to photography from running an underachieving little indie label, it was a natural shift to slide across to shooting the gigs I was no longer performing or promoting. It didn’t hurt that I had a wee black book lousy with contacts to smooth the obstacle-strewn way to photo-passes.

More than a decade on from photographing my last gig, with years of solid street photography behind me, now living in Warsaw in Poland, and with a shift from digital to film, I felt it was time to come back to it. Feeling a little rusty, I took my M6 loaded with Tri-x along to a couple of local shows and it seemed they went fairly well.

Though still feeling that there was some way to go before getting back to full ‘match fitness’, I didn’t dare pass up a last minute chance to photograph the Texan band ‘…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead‘ who were coming through Warsaw on their recent European tour, just a few weeks ago. I first saw the band in 2000 at Mogwai’s All tomorrow’s Parties warm-up show in Edinburgh and have been a firm fan ever since.

...and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

…and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

The first choice to be made was whether to use a high-speed, or push a high-latitude, film. With a fridge full of Tri-x it wasn’t a tough decision. I am still learning to work with Tri-x in the dark but have enough experience to feel comfortable at 1600. In the future I’m going to experiment with 3200, in turn negotiating a little more shutter-speed.

...and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

…and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

Not entirely unexpectedly, the band took to the stage in low, red and blue light. I had come prepared with an f1.4 50mm lens but with no photo-pit in a small club I was almost on top of the band when they began, and thus far too close, so I switched to my f2 28mm. Given the circumstance I was left with not a lot of choice in my shutter-speeds, so I moved between 1/15 and 1/60 with the occasional dalliance to 1/125 if I was lucky, and just waited for a moment or two of decent light.

...and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

…and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

...and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

…and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

These frames are from 2 rolls of Tri-x 400 shot at 1600 and developed at home in Kodak D-76 1:1 pushed to 1600. Scanned with Plustek OpticFilm 8200i.

...and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

…and you will know us by the trail of dead at Hydrozagadka, Warsaw. 11/10/22.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the photos.

I have recently launched a photography newsletter on Substack. You can read my first issue and subscribe, if you’d like, here.

You can also find me on my website, or on Mastodon.

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Ted Ayre
    November 30, 2022 at 10:20 am

    Yeah cool pictures Neil! Love this look on film, it gives such a good sense of the energy in the room. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Neil Milton
      November 30, 2022 at 11:15 am

      Thanks Ted… it’s been such a blast getting back to shooting gigs, but a bit of a learning curve on film. My last show on Saturday night (a Polish post-rock band in a bigger venue) was the first where I felt I was starting to nail it. Appreciate the comment. 🙂

      • Reply
        Ted Ayre
        November 30, 2022 at 11:36 am

        Mate it looks really cool! Yeah I’m thinking of shooting some gigs on film myself, really good inspiration – thanks!

        • Reply
          Neil Milton
          November 30, 2022 at 12:02 pm

          Man, if I’ve given you any inspiration then that makes the article worth it, in itself 🙂 Get some earplugs. 🙂

    • Reply
      Alasdair Mackintosh
      December 1, 2022 at 7:03 pm

      Shadow details: minimal
      Grain: prominent
      Atmosphere: fantastic.

      Great shots!

  • Reply
    Arne Heeringa
    November 30, 2022 at 12:00 pm

    Cool! I start in concert photography through my neighbour, a professional musician. You can find them on my Instagram.

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