Monday, July 24, 2017

Madison Wisconsin

Recently I spent a few days in Madison Wisconsin photographing sites around Madison.  I spent a lot of time in Madison in my life.  When I was a kid the Capitol was like our playground.  A note would be pinned to my back with my Fathers office room number if I got lost and I would run around the Capitol.  This time home base was the awesome Hotel Red. Seriously check this place out. Super Comfy. Great bar and restaurant downstairs and right next to Mickies Dairy Bar. Getting to explore Madison again was super fun. Here are a few photos.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blue Ox Music Festival

Another great thing I got to do this summer was attend the Blue Ox Music Festival with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades.  This is a three day festival outside Eau Claire and had a stacked lineup this year.  While I was there to shoot photos and help with HHG I did snap some photos of other acts as well.

The whole festival is set up and run so well.  The campgrounds meander through hilly forests around the actual concert "bowl".  They have the Main stage and a smaller side stage that would flip flop with acts during the day. At night they had a cool late night stage out in the middle of the woods where different acts would play.

 There was family camping. Quiet camping and all out party camping.

First day we arrived we parked backstage set up tents and whatever else and music.  Them Coulee Boys kicked off the whole festival and rocked followed by the Jeff Austin Band on the main stage.  Fruition, The Traveling Mccourys, The Grateful Ball all followed capped off by a great set by Sam Bush Band.  That night we took in the late night stage with Charlie Parr and Feed the Dog and it was awesome.

Day two was kicked off by the fabulous group from Eau Claire called LASKA.  Check them out seriously.  I heard Colter Wall for the first time as well and he was amazing.  Dead Horses followed as well as Dead Man Winter with a great set into Son Volt.  HHG was up after and killed it as per usual.:)  the rest of the lineup that night on the main stage was The Infamous String Dusters, Pert Near Sandstone and closed out by a great set and light show from Green Sky Bluegrass.  That night we hung out at the campsite and backstage jams and cold Bells beer flowed until the early hours of the morning.

Day three awoke to a guest in our backstage campsite.  Punch Brothers tour bus had joined us.  Adam and friends had a jam early in the morning at a stage put on by the Boats and Bluegrass folks...another fine festival coming up at the end of the summer.  After the jam Joseph Huber kicked off the days music on the Saloon stage and was great. He has a new album out go buy it.  Billy Strings wowed as did Willie Watson. Keller and the Keels played before The Punch Brothers took the stage and completely blew me away. I have seen Chris Thile with Nickel Creek and with Bela Fleck but this was out of this world good.  They took a field of sweaty hot bluegrass fans looking to dance and silenced them all. They listened and loved it.  After that Pert Near played another set and then Drive By Truckers did some in your face rock and roll.  Railroad Earth jammed the night away to close out the main stage. After the main stage closed out we took a short golfcart ride to the late night stage in the woods. It was a epic jam of members of Pert Near, Henhouse Prowlers, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Feed the Dog and Railroad Earth . I am sure I am forgetting someone but there were about 100 people on stage it seemed.  The woods were rocking till late and so was the jamming backstage afterwords.  When we left the next morning the main stage was already torn down and there were still folks pickin backstage from the night before.  Thanks again to Horseshoes & Hand Grenades for taking me along and providing me with another great experience.  Here are some photos.  As always I have an album on my Ty Helbach Photography facebook page that has more.

I did not hit on every band that played but gosh darn if the whole lineup was amazing.  A well done festival for sure.


Dead Man Winter

Late Night Stage

The Infamous String Dusters backstage warmup.

Late night pickin

Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers warming up backstage

Dead Horses backstage

Punch Brothers

Late night mega super jam. 

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Late Night Stage

Drive By Truckers

The Infamous String Dusters

The crowd during Horseshoes and Hand Grenades

Russ of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades backstage.

Billy Strings

Joseph Huber

Adam Greuel and the Moderately Well behaved

Adam and Davey

backstage serenading 

Dead Horses

Colter Wall

Them Coulee Boys backstage

Grateful Ball

The Travelin Mccourys

Jeff Austin
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Late night mega super jam.

Late night mega super jam.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Memorial Day Weekend

Been awhile since I posted anything on here. It has been a crazy busy summer so far! So many festivals and concerts. Lots of travels as well. Lets hit the first one.  I spent a weekend on the road with Horseshoes & Hand Grenades over Memorial Day Weekend going to two festivals. Dark Star Jubilee in Ohio and Summercamp Music Festival in Illinois.  It was about 1400 miles in 3 days in the ole blue bus.  Got to see some great music besides HHG like Dark Star Orchestra, Railroad Earth and Infamous String Dusters. As per the trip with these guys many laughs as well.

Dark Star Jubilee was a great time and so well run by great people.  HHG kicked off the weekend festival.  Afterwords we all hung out wandered the grounds and took in some Railroad Earth before catching some of Dark Star Orchestra before we had to depart for Illinois.

We arrived the next day at Summercamp Music Festival and were greeted by mud. Lots of mud.   A large storm we had driven through had hit the festival grounds the night before.  We had to leave the bus out by artists check in and get taken back with equipment by Gators. Before load in time on the stage Adam and Myself went and caught The Infamous String Dusters set at the VIP tent.  HHG sound check was against the pulsing sounds of the EDM tent on the opposite end of the field where the stage was.  Awesome.  When showtime hit there had to have been three thousand people in a space where 45 minutes earlier there was not one person.  I think that says something about what these guys in Horseshoes & Hand Grenades are doing and what they provide for music and fun.  We took off shortly after that to get back to Wisconsin and our own beds but it was a great trip and I hope for many more!

Here are some photos from that trip.  There are many more on my Ty Helbach Photography Facebook page!

Dark Star Jubilee

Summercamp Music Festival

Friday, April 28, 2017

Ramblings on photography, learning, laughing and friendships.

Well I sit in my hotel room in Texas after an amazing and sleepless week at Texas School Of Professional Photography. All is quiet as i strolled the halls compared to this morning where it was filled with photographers from all around the world. Its an extremely weird sad feeling.

In the last few months I have gone on the road with a band and sat backstage at legendary venues. Shot amazing photos in crazy cool venues. Listened to amazing music and laughed with friends.

I took a road trip and explored the back roads of America. Attended South by South West. Saw historic places and sat on the beach a bit.  Before the trip I was scared and filled with anxiety of what was going to happen next. I took the time on the trip to practice calming myself and going with the flow.  I worked on not getting worked up over things I could not control.  I grew a beard ...I am still working on not getting worked up and on the beard.

I came to the conclusion that we only get one shot at this thing and we better experience it all.  Do our best to be good and most of all have some adventures.  I was inspired before the trip by seeing Jason Lees photos he had been doing around Texas to get off the four lane highway and see side roads and shoot some photos and take a look around (more on that in a bit).  And I did just that. Explored.  Shot photos. Got lost. It was great. 

After all the craziness that has been the last few months of my life I landed here in Texas for Texas School.  This came about from the recommendation from John Hartman, My old neighbor growing up, that i come here and learn from Russ Harrington.  Russ is a music photographer who has shot some amazing artists you all probably know.  Look him up seriously. I was scared and excited when I got here. I don't do lighting with my photos. I don't know the first thing about setting up lights to shoot someone.  I figure I am going to be in a class of people who know WAY more then me learning from a guy who kicks ass at what he does. I figured I would be found out to be the fraud I sometimes feel I am with my art.  But I was here to learn. And learn I did. 

Not only did I learn about lighting etc. I met some amazing people. Kind caring super talented people from all over.  People who share a passion I do for capturing images.  We may not shoot the same things but that passion is there.  And now a friendship is there as well.  I could tell you all about things we learned but that would take to long.  Just take Russ's class and find out for yourself. :) We learned and we laughed and I think we had a few drinks. Russ was kind and so enthusiastic about what he does.  It showed huge in class and it was inspiring.  I hope to take what i learned in his class and use it for shooting bands and things from here on out. Most of all make it weird. Use what you have to create and make some lemonade.  

To cap the week off I went with a classmate and friend today to Jason Lees photography office.   It's not open to the public. I was lucky. Extremely lucky and very thankful to my new friend who helps Jason out with photography things for taking me to meet Jason. We got to look at prints for his new photography show and his new book out soon.  We got to look at old slides of Beck performing that he shot a few years back.  We got to chat a bit about finding cool stuff on side roads of America.  There was a passion in him for what he does that was upfront and beautiful. Follow him on instagram and go buy his book when it comes out. Sure he is a pretty famous actor but to me he was a guy that loved capturing great stuff.  At the end of the visit I asked if he had a print to buy. He gifted me a test print of his.  Signed it on back. Pretty damn cool. Went to Deep Ellum as well and wandered a bit. Had a great dinner.  If you read this, thanks Steve. Meant a lot. 

Photography does not have to be perfect. It does not have to follow some formula put together.  Just make it look weird and cool. Experiment. Try. Fail. Try again and create new things. Don't follow the same old trail. Get off the beaten path.  

I will forever be grateful for the friends I have made this week. I hope to see them again. shoot photos with them again. Laugh and have a few drinks. I hope to take some road trips around and get lost and explore.  I hope to keep learning and make myself better.  I thank John Hartman for suggesting I be here. I thank Russ for his patience and sharing his talent. I thank my Mom and my Aunt because without them I would not even have come here. I thank my new friends and fellow photographers for being awesome. I guess I don't hope for those things. I will make them happen. For the first time in the last few months I am not terrified of the future. I am excited. 

I fly out back to Wisconsin tomorrow. Land in Milwaukee and then drive to Chicago where I will then proceed to drive with friends to New Orleans for a wedding.  The road goes on forever and the party never ends.  Make it weird my friends. 

 Best picture i had of our class class photo ever.
 My print from Jason Lee