Vienna Teng – Freight and Salvage: The Return Episode 1 (12/29/11)

Last night’s Vienna Teng show was pretty amazing for a lot of reasons. 1) We got to spend the evening among our friends and fellow fans. 2) Vienna did a solo performance that felt both new and harkening back to the earlier part of her career when the majority of her shows were at coffee shops and book stores. That is something special that can really only be captured in the most perfect of circumstances. 3) We got to spend a little bit of time with two of Eric Cheng’s gadgets: A pre-production Lytro camera of the “Red Hot” variety and Sony’s NEX-5N.

We got to see so many people we knew that it was hard to interact with all of them. It reminded me a lot of a private Vienna Teng related event we hosted in the summer at our home. There were people there that barely got waves from me and that event ended up lasting over 13 hours. The few hours we all had together at the Freight and Salvage felt like home though and that’s all I could really ask for.

The show itself made me reminisce on our journey as Vienna Teng fans. It was both a joyous celebration to me and brought back things that made me sad. I’m not sure why the sad, but it was there. She played old songs, cover songs, new songs and half-songs throughout the night’s two sets, with just her voice, piano, vocal looper and at a couple of points on guitar. The show demonstrated her interests in learning something new and her familiarity with technology and her comfort with the piano as her original instrument of choice.

At one point at our extremely late night dinner, my wife turned to me and said “playing with the Lytro was probably the coolest part of the night”. She was mostly joking, but it is always cool to try out new technology. Sadly, the light conditions in the venue made my one shot that I took with the Lytro pretty boring. I took a photo of the microphones mounted on the soundboard table with a chair behind them. Pretty basic and boring shot probably, but the Lytro made me think differently when shooting it. Very similar to how taking photos with a cell phone, no matter how crappy they turn out, made me rethink and take what I consider “better” pictures of subjects close-up. The Lytro had me looking to add “depth” to the image I was going to take. The rectangular kaliedoscope-like design made the camera feel like it needed more depth than a standard point and shoot would at least when I was holding it.

I’m not a great photographer by any means, but I like things that are fun to use and make me think differently. A Lytro camera sadly isn’t something I could use on a regular basis. Being a light field camera, it needs light. Almost every situation I try to capture is in a low-light environment.

The Sony NEX-5N on the other hand… was pretty amazing in low light. I realize that has a lot to do with Eric being the great photographer that he is. He knows exactly the right settings and lens combinations to shoot in pretty much any situation. However, the photos from the NEX-5N had a brightness and color clarity that I haven’t seen from many cameras and this one is incredibly small.

It also looks like the particular combination of NEX-5N body and lens that Eric was shooting with is less expensive than our Nikon SLR cost when we bought it. Crazy.

Oh wait, we also acquired and traded a bunch of cookies. That has to be on this highlights post too. Cookies are great, but as I’m trying to consciously eat more healthy, I’ve only sampled one so far and fear my wife may finish all of them before I get a chance to taste the others!

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